Thursday, January 7, 2010

Giants: coaching and management changes

No surprise that DC Bill Sheridan is gone, it was completely expected and did not take a lot of deliberation from Coughlin and the management team. But Thursday the Giants also announced that DL coach Mike Waufle was fired and I am a little surprised at that. There's no doubt that the defense played well below preseason expectations. There's also no doubt that the DL was thought to be an enormous strength on this team and was a surprising weakness. I hope there's more to the dismissals of Sheridan and Waufle than that; I hope the analysis runs a little deeper. Put another way, I can understand Sheridan being dismissed. He had never been a DC before and it is possible to analyze his performance, how he used his tools, diminished though they were by injuries, and make a determination. It is possible that Coughlin made the judgement that Sheridan did not do well and that he did not have the goods to improve in the future. However, in Mike Waufle's case, while it is true that the DL did poorly this year, it is also true that he is doing the same job that he has done for the last several years. He has a track record of success and capable coaching at this exact position. He was popular with his players, was a good leader and I am a little surprised that he was dismissed. If any unit can rationalize weaker performance because of injuries, it is the DL. Tuck was playing with one shoulder, Cantry was playing on one leg and both are having surgery to repair their injuries. In addition, budding star Alford was lost for the season. Other players underperformed either because they are slowing down or because they had not sufficiently recovered from previous injuries (Robbins, Osi, Cofield). I know the old hackneyed saying that you can't use injuries as an excuse, but you also can't judge a coach if he's not playing with a full toolbox. Furthermore, the uncreative schemes that the Giants used on defense were dictated by the DC, not the DL coach, and those predictable sets had more to do with the DL and the defense weakening than did the coaching by Waufle. Maybe a shakeup at every level will inspire (i.e. frighten) the players to not be casual about their preparation and will get them to play faster and more emotionally. But it is still a little surprising to me that Waufle is gone. Frankly, there were far more breakdowns in the DB-field than there were in the DL in the way of missed assignments, poor tackling and poor technique. I would think that Merritt and Giunta might be on the hot seat also.

Marc Ross, the genius whiz kid that is the Giants director of college scouting and talent evaluation is being interviewed for the GM job in Seattle. If he is offered the job and leaves, that will be a huge loss for the Giants. The drafts the last several years, since he ascended to that position have been great and he is largely credited with it.

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