Friday, January 16, 2015

N.Y. Giants: Steve Spagnuolo is Back in the Saddle Again

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

The Architects of Super Bowl XLII

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: Steve Spagnuolo Returns For Second Stint As Minister of Defense.

For a change, the fan's minister of choice is coming back to reclaim his position as defensive coordinator of the Giants.

He returns like Winston Churchill.  When the blitzkrieg raged in Europe, and London's buildings burned, they went running back to Churchill for leadership and direction.

It's not like Steve Spagnuolo was fired after the 2008 season though.  He was merely following a coach's traditional career progression.  It's a natural then, that he should be welcomed back.

But, you know what they say - any executive who caters to the fans will surely become a former executive in a seat among them.

In this instance, it was Coach Coughlin's call; a loophole!

Coach knows he must produce a winning season in 2015, or risk having his own Big Blue career end. So, Coughlin is relying on the best man he was able to secure, but more importantly, someone he can trust.  That just so happens to be Spags.  If you think about it, the timing was perfect.  In any event, Coughlin's applied desperation heading into 2015 is a good condition for us Giants fans.  It means urgency has re-entered the building.

After six long seasons away from the organization he helped lead to victory in Super Bowl XLII, Steve Spagnuolo is back.  He's the guy I wanted.  I do not think many Giants fans are overly concerned with his lack of success with the Rams, and Saints.  All that matters is that he helped this team win a Lombardi trophy before departing.

What Steve Spagnuolo did better than any Giants defensive coordinator since John Fox was get the most out his linebackers.  Granted, Fox had Jesse Armstead, and in 2007 Spags had Antonio Pierce to work with.  However, Spags got the most out of guys like Kawika Mitchell, Chase Blackburn, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Danny Clark.  In fact, Kiwanuka was never the same since Spags left, and may not make the team this coming season.

Let's face it, for a team with such a rich linebacker tradition, the recent gaggle has been somewhat embarrassing.   At least this time around, it seems Spags will have a talented Devon Kennard leading his linebacker corp.

Speaking of linebackers, Pepper Johnson was an interesting candidate.  As one of the many feared linebackers in Giants history, he helped this organization win some hardware as well.  He's also paid his coaching dues.  Pepper not only played under Bill Belichick, but served for many seasons as a position coach on Belichick's staff.  I do not doubt there is a ton of knowledge packed into his head.

But, the choice has been made, and I'm pleased with the decision to hire Steve Spagnuolo.   What displeases me, however, is that linebackers coach Jim Herrmann gets to keep his job, and that to my knowledge, no audit has been conducted on defensive line coach Robert Nunn's recent work.

The Giants also hired former Rams defensive coordinator (2013) Tim Walton to replace Peter Giunta as corner backs coach.  I'm still a little curious to know why it is Peter Giunta should get fired, but David Merritt (safeties coach) should retain his position.

At face value, Tim Walton strikes me as a positive hire.  Of course, what the secondary needs above all else is health, but on an entirely other level, consider the unit already improved through a matter of subtraction; Perry Fewell and his perplexing, overly layered, ineffective system are gone.


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