The team also fired cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta (BBB, Jan. 7).
“These are two outstanding men and outstanding football coaches,” head coach Tom 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.”
It was earlier reported that Fewell would return to the team in 2015 (Newsday, Jan. 5).
"The decision here gives us the ability to revive our defensive people, to introduce, if you will, a new, different system, perhaps not that big a change, but nevertheless there will be some change involved and create an opportunity," Coughlin said. "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. Those people will bring a new system, a new focus and a new area of concentration.”
Giants co-owner John Mara said that the organization would continue to have discussions about Tom Coughlin’s coaching staff and who will return in 2015. Mara confirmed Coughlin has been asked to return next season — and possibly beyond — and that staffing decisions would be up to the head coach.
“The defense did not play well,” Mara said later in his press conference.
Fewell was hired as the Giants' defensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin in January 2010.
"I'd ride or die with Perry Fewell any day. We had a special bond," safety Antrel Rolle said (Rock, Jan. 7).
Rolle, a free agent, said there's a chance the firing will affect his decision to re-sign with the Giants (Rock, Jan. 7).
“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. You are going to stimulate. It is with great deliberation over a lengthy period of time throughout a thorough investigation and evaluation of what went on that I came to the conclusion that change was necessary.
“There are no hard feelings on my part about anything that anybody has done. The hard feelings are the six wins. That is the reality. It is unfortunate, but it is true.”
What changed from the reports earlier this week that had Fewell coming back? Certainly, makes me wonder whether this was a Tom Coughlin decision or if this was forced upon him either by Jerry Reese or John Mara. Remember, Coughlin had given a very vocal defense of Fewell at the end of the season, whereas Mara was critical of the unit as a whole. So, clearly, this is sending the message Tom Coughlin is indeed not here for much longer. Also, reassures me ownership thinks Jerry Reese is doing a great job as they are saying the defense had the talent to do better but didn’t.
Now the question is who’s next? Do the Giants go back to their glorious recent past and choose Steve Spagnuolo or would a Coughlin friend like Mike Smith (just fired in Atlanta) get the job. That will be another sign when it comes to who’s really calling the shots here.
Finally, the Giants changed the offensive coordinator a year ago and now the defensive coordinator. We all have to think the head coach’s time, as glorious as it’s been with those two great Super Bowl runs, is quickly coming to an end.
A bit of a surprise considering the team appeared to be heading into 2015 with all their coaches intact.
But, when you go 7-9 and 6-10 the past two seasons and give up 400 points and nearly five yards per carry on the ground, changes are warranted.
Fewell's defensive strategy was of a "bend-but-don't-break" nature and was easily picked apart by the NFL's top QBs. Case in point, only one of the Giants' six wins this season came against a top QB. That was the Week 5 win over Atlanta and Matt Ryan, who were missing four of their five starting offensive linemen.
Last season, the Giants' only win vs. a starting QB was in Week 16 against Matt Stafford in Detroit, who basically blew the game by throwing a pick-six to safety Will Hill in the fourth quarter. Their other six wins came against he likes of Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Terrelle Pryor, RGIII and Kirk Cousins.
As for who the Giants will bring in to replace Fewell, the candidates being bandied about are few. Former DC Steve Spagnuolo is one, but he's had little success since leaving the Giants in 2008. He's kind of recouped his mojo in Baltimore the past year or so. He's the top candidate right now.