The barefoot Giants are in need of shoes.
Sure, they can find a different style for each of their feet and continue to limp along with an awkward gait, as they have for most of the past decade. A sneaker on the left, a boot on the right. Technically, that would cover their soles and solve their problem.
But for the first time in a while, they now have an opportunity to slip into a matching pair and find an easy, comfortable stride with them.
So while co-owner John Mara emphatically stated this week that there will be "no package deals" to bring in a general manager and head coach as part of a conglomerate to pull the team out of its dysfunction, it’s hard to believe that whomever the Giants hire for the front office job won’t be arriving with a ready-made relationship to the on-field arm of the duo.
"We want to get the general manager ideally done first and, obviously, we’ll talk about the candidates for head coach [during the interviews]," Mara said on Wednesday.
So which potential general managers can be connected to which head coach?
There are a lot of dots to connect for each of them, but a few stand out as the most practical, expected and perhaps ideal for the Giants.
Each of the men who met with the Giants on Thursday — Cardinals vice president of personnel Quentin Harris and Kansas City executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles — did so with a strong head coach possibly attached to him.
For Poles, that would be offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has been running one of the league’s most innovative and productive offenses for one of the winningest teams the past four seasons.
Harris, like Arizona vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson, who interviewed on Wednesday, could come with Vance Joseph, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator.
The Giants most likely will be looking for an offensive-minded head coach, given their struggles in that area in recent years. The team of Bills assistant vice president Joe Schoen and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll certainly would fill that need.
They also might consider a head coach with a defensive background as long as he has an exciting offensive coordinator in mind. That might be the selling point if the Baltimore duo of director of college scouting Joe Hortiz and defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale intrigues the Giants.
When they had a head-coaching vacancy that ultimately went to Joe Judge, they interviewed Martindale two years ago and were impressed by him. Hortiz will interview for the GM job this weekend and likely will have Martindale at the top of his co-pilot options to present to the Giants.
The candidates with the largest pool of potential partners seem to be Monti Ossenfort, the Titans’ director of player personnel, and Adam Peters, the 49ers’ vice president of player personnel.
They could come with someone from their current teams — Ossenfort with offensive coordinator Todd Downing and Peters with defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans or assistant head coach Jon Embree — and they also have spent time in New England.
It was that Patriots background that made them intriguing candidates when Judge still was part of the picture for the Giants. Now that history could tie them to any number of possible head coaches, including Daboll, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and even current Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham (who could remain in his current role or be considered for the bigger title).
It’s not imperative that the new GM and head coach have worked together. But whomever the Giants pick for these two roles should share a common philosophy and vision and be able to speak the same language. They need to be in sync.
If not, it will be almost impossible for the Giants to walk unencumbered from the despair that currently surrounds them.