Giants should take run at Bengals’ Lou Anarumo if Wink Martindale leaves – The Denver Post


No one wants to lose Wink.

Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale was a central figure to the franchise’s resurgence this season, and he’s a perfect fit for New York.

“When I came here as a Giant, it wasn’t a stepping stone for me; it was a destination,” Martindale said on Jan. 18. “I love it here in New York.”

So it’s conceivable the Giants could head off Martindale’s second scheduled head coaching interview with the Indianapolis Colts this weekend and retain him with a raise — and maybe an “assistant head coach” title — that creates head coach-like financial security for the football lifer.

It’s also possible that Colts owner Jim Irsay aborts the search and hires confidant Jeff Saturday.

If the Colts tab Martindale for his first-ever head coaching gig, though — and he is certainly deserving of that opportunity — then Brian Daboll and the Giants have to be ready to fill his post with a candidate who won’t let the standard slip.

And there is a defensive coordinator who is coaching on the NFL’s Championship Weekend who would be a home run: the Cincinnati Bengals’ Lou Anarumo.

There is one problem, of course: the Bengals would have the right to block an interview request of Anarumo for any lateral move, by the letter of the law, even if the Giants threw an assistant head coach title on top of his DC duties.

Anarumo, 56, should be receiving head coaching interviews and offers anyway based on his work the past four seasons in Cincy, especially the last two.

The Bengals have beaten Kansas City head to head in all three of their meetings the last two seasons entering Sunday’s AFC title game. And Anarumo’s defense has held Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs to 20 total second half points in those three games, including six total points in the three fourth quarters combined.

Beyond his strong second-half adjustments and proven results, though, Anarumo grew up a Giants fan in Staten Island. He coached the Giants’ defensive backs in 2018 under Pat Shurmur.

Anarumo and Giants GM Joe Schoen worked together in the Miami Dolphins’ organization for five years from 2012-16. The Giants interviewed Anarumo a year ago for their head coaching vacancy before hiring Daboll.

Anarumo’s son, Louis, is a scouting assistant in Schoen’s front office. And Anarumo is on the doorstep of a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with the Bengals.

Cincy tied for the NFL’s fifth-best scoring defense (20.1 ppg allowed) and ranked seventh in rush defense (106.6 ypg allowed).

Sometimes, even when a team has the ability to block an interview, it allows a candidate to explore opportunities in good faith anyway — especially if an outside team like the Giants were offering a major raise.

Maybe the Bengals would oblige; maybe not.

The Giants would have to canvas all qualified candidates, too, obviously.

Daboll could circle back to Steve Wilks, who just got passed over by the Carolina Panthers for head coach after doing an incredible job as their interim boss.

The Giants interviewed Wilks in 2018 for the head coaching job that went to Shurmur and for last year’s defensive coordinator vacancy that went to Martindale.

Daboll also could revisit Sean Desai, the Seattle Seahawks’ associate head coach for defense who interviewed for the Giants’ DC job last year.

Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson would be a strong internal option.

And here’s assuming the Giants and the Steelers’ Brian Flores aren’t making or taking any calls at the moment with litigation pending — although Wilks is a part of that lawsuit against the NFL and owners, too.

Maybe Martindale will stay or not get offered the Colts job, and this conversation will be moot. The Giants must be prepared to swing for the fences if they lose him, though, because he would not be an easy coach to replace.


This weekend will feature the youngest group of four quarterbacks ever to start the NFC and AFC Championship Games at an average age of 25 years and 98 days, according to NFL Research.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, 27, is the oldest remaining starting QB, ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow, 26, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts, 24, and the San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy, 23.

Conference championship play began in 1970 with the AFL-NFL merger, and previously the youngest quartet was in 1996 at an average age of 25 years and 231 days.

The four back then? The Green Bay Packers’ Brett Favre, the Carolina Panthers’ Kerry Collins, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Mark Brunell and the New England Patriots’ Drew Bledsoe.

This year’s four head coaches average just 46 years of age, as well, and it would be way younger if not for the Chiefs’ Andy Reid, 64. Otherwise it’s the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan, 43, the Eagles’ Nick Sirianni, 41, and the Bengals’ Zac Taylor, 39.


The Panthers’ passing over their interim coach Wilks, a Black man, to hire Frank Reich, a white man, drew immediate comment from the lawyers who are already suing the NFL and owners for discrimination in hiring practices. “We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, he was passed over for the head coach position by [owner] David Tepper,” attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and John Elefterakis said in a statement. “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.” Four openings remained as of Friday evening: the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and Colts. …

League sources believed Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was the favorite to land the Broncos job until he decided to stay in Dallas for a second straight year. 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans, a Black man, was thought to be a possible Broncos choice, too, but also is a candidate in Houston where he played as a linebacker. This week will bring more clarity: Ryans, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and Giants OC Mike Kafka are all candidates in Houston. And Ryans and the Philly coaches will be able to interview further after their championship games. …

It’s no surprise Denver is having a tough time finding a candidate to take on this version of Russell Wilson and an unpalatable project in the Mile High City. …

‘Retired’ Saints coach Sean Payton, meanwhile, continues to make the rounds. It’s possible he will pass on this year’s options and wait one more cycle, when more attractive jobs could open. …

Former Giants head coach Joe Judge caught significant shrapnel this week in a Boston Herald story that described internal frustrations with the Patriots’ offensive staff, including that QB Mac Jones didn’t care for his position coach. Curiously, the story did not mention how New England scored 60 combined offensive points in rookie QB Bailey Zappe’s two starts (both wins) against the Lions and Browns led by a young developing player in Judge’s room. Zappe went 41-of-55 (74.5% completion) for 497 yards, three TDs and two turnovers in those two starts when the team averaged 33.5 points per game (67 total including a defensive TD). The Patriots only averaged 21.4 points per game on the season. Former Lions coach Matt Patricia called the offensive plays, a duty that will be assumed by former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, New England’s new OC hired this week.


“See you all at Burrowhead Stadium.” — Chiefs pass rusher Chris Jones, mocking the Bengals’ trash talk of Joe Burrow owning Arrowhead Stadium ahead of the AFC title game.



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