The intrigue thrusting Louis Riddick into the mix as a general manager candidate for the Giants is as real as it is unknown. He is an outsider and the Giants have not gone outside the family for this job in 39 years. The old way of doing things could be a thing of the past, if Riddick is hired.
Yet there was a window cracked open to reveal his thinking, based on conversations with The Post, that brings some clarity to what he might offer as a newcomer to the organization.
Riddick interviewed Thursday with co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch and Ernie Accorsi, the former Giants’ general manager who is serving as a consultant in the GM search. Riddick followed Marc Ross, the Giants’ vice president of player evaluation, and Dave Gettleman, the former Panthers general manager who worked for 15 years in personnel with the Giants, in the interview process. Kevin Abrams, elevated to interim general manager after Jerry Reese was fired Dec. 4, will also get an interview.
Picking Riddick would be in line with Mara’s stated desire for “wholesale changes’’ for a team that is 2-12 and well within sight of establishing a franchise record for losses in a season. Riddick played six years in the NFL as a safety and worked in the pro personnel departments of the Redskins and Eagles before landing at ESPN in 2013. He is highly visible and media-savvy, something Reese undeniably was not. Riddick previously interviewed for the 49ers general manager opening and, at 48 years old, would bring a fresh perspective to the entire Giants operation.
As an ESPN analyst, Riddick’s responsibilities include attending the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, so he is well-versed in the top college prospects and the infusion of NFL talent from year to year. His role at ESPN is ever-expanding and an industry source told The Post he was certain Riddick “would really be a ‘wow’ and definitely would impress people’’ in any interview for a GM role.
The first order of business for any incoming GM is hiring a head coach. Here is what Riddick told The Post two years ago when the Giants were searching for Tom Coughlin’s replacement and ended up with Ben McAdoo:
“You think of the Giants, you think of how stable they have been from the top down and how turnover has not been a part of their DNA,’’ Riddick said. “When you’re projecting what type of profile they would look for in the next head coach, you would think it would be someone who has experience, someone who may have had a crack at a head coaching job before, learned some things and now the second time around has had success, a la Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. They just don’t strike me as a team that would hire a first-time coach per se, but who knows?’’
Riddick played for Belichick with the Browns, with Nick Saban as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
“I tell you this, if I was a GM, I was a team president, I was an owner, I would definitely make the call,’’ Riddick said, referring to Saban, the Alabama head coach. “I would try. Because I’m not one of those people who believe he was a failure in the NFL. I would be making that call, and I would be saying what would it take to come get you to come talk to me and how much money will it take?
“I would have my plane gassed up and down in Tuscaloosa going ‘Will you talk to me?’ ’’
Clearly, Riddick values a coach learning from his mistakes and returning with something to prove. Mike Smith, the former Falcons head coach currently serving as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator, and Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator who spent 28 games as the Broncos head coach, qualify.
“Mike strikes me as the kind of guy who will be very, very successful if he gets another chance,’’ Riddick said. “An even-keel, very level personality, he would deal with the New York media very well, not get too flustered, not get too emotional, not have any kind of back and forth in any negative way with the media.’’
Two years ago, Riddick said he was “shocked’’ the Giants were not linked to McDaniels.
“He’s a guy, based on my research and knowing him a little bit, I think he’s gonna be fantastic,’’ Riddick said. “I think he’s gonna blow it out of the water and be dynamite in his second shot.’’