NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A year after changing their offense, the New York Giants are remolding their defense.
The Giants on Wednesday fired defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and defensive backs coach Pete Giunta after the unit finished among the worst in the league.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin announced the moves on Wednesday, a little more than a week after the Giants (6-10) missed the playoffs for the third straight season.
“These are two outstanding men and outstanding football coaches,” Coughlin said. “It is very hard in this business to find people that are not only good football coaches but outstanding human beings who are trustworthy, loyal and honest. Perry and Peter are all that.”
This will be the second straight season the Giants have changed a coordinator. Kevin Gilbride retired after the 2013 season and Ben McAdoo, a Packers’ assistant, was hired to replace him. The offense picked up this past season with Eli Manning cutting down on his interceptions and rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. providing a big-play element.
The unit finished 10th in the league. The defense was ranked 29th overall, struggling against the run and being burned too many times for big plays in the pass game.
Fewell had been the Giants’ defensive coordinator since 2010 and was at the helm when the Giants’ defense played a major role in their Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in February 2012.
Giunta had been with the Giants since 2006 and was a part of the Super Bowl wins in 2008 and ’12. His secondary was expected to be a strength of the team but it was hit by injuries.
“No one person is responsible for what happened in this year,” Coughlin said. “That has to be loud and clear. If there is any one person responsible, it is me. It is not Perry Fewell. It is not Peter Giunta. Both of them are outstanding football coaches in their own way. The simple fact of the matter is in the circumstance that we find ourselves, change is necessary. That may not be the most eloquent way of saying it, but that is what I am confronted with. The hope always is invigoration.”
The defense played most of the season without middle linebacker Jon Beason and the secondary was hit hard with cornerbacks Prince Amukamara going on injured reserve along with nickel backs Walter Thurmond III and Trumaine McBride. Starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played with nagging injuries most of the season.
Fewell, who was Coughlin’s secondary coach in Jacksonville from 1998-2002, joined the Giants after a four-year stint with Buffalo, including a span where he served as interim coach the final seven games of his last season.
The Giants have not had great ranking with Fewell in charge but the unit was outstanding in the Super Bowl run after the 2011 regular season.
Giunta worked with the Rams and Chiefs before coming to the Giants.
“I just think it is an opportunity for us, to a certain extent, to stimulate our defensive team due to the fact that you will end up with a new coordinator,” Coughlin said. “Those people will bring a new system, a new focus and a new area of concentration.”
Finding a coordinator might not be easy for the 68-year-old Coughlin because he also is on the spot, and whoever is hired has to know that another season out of the playoffs might end up with the entire staff being fired.
There are several interesting candidates to become the defensive coordinator, including Steve Spagnuolo, who was the Giants’ defensive coordinator when they won their first Super Bowl under Coughlin. He left to become the Rams’ coach and is currently with Baltimore as a secondary coach.
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