Friday, January 15, 2010

Giants: DC Fewell is signed

Just a few comments on Fewell - the defenses in Buffalo were good and aggressive despite having limited talent wen he was there as DC. When he was elevated to interim HC after Jauron was fired, the team went a respectable 3-4 and played with some fire. He played a lot of zone in Buffalo, often using a Tampa-2 defense, but the hope is that he will adjust and play whatever style works with the players he has in NY. In Buffalo, with really bad weather in the winter, even worse than the Meadowlands, it's hard to judge how well the defense really performed. Then again, with the awful Buffalo offense, there was probably a lot of pressure on the defense, with them staying on the field a lot and they did well. Fewell called the games from the coaches box upstairs when he was in Buffalo, it will be interesting to see if Coughlin relents and lets him do the same here.

I think it was very revealing to read what Coughlin said about Fewell in his press release.

“I expect Perry to bring the same qualities that I expect from myself. I want him to be firm, fair, honest and demanding. My expectation is that he will solidify and unify our defense and be an outstanding teacher.”

Nothing too dramatic, controversial or revealing in that statement. It is kind of normal coach-speak pablum. Although the comment about being an outstanding teacher was interesting - I am not sure Sheridan did much of that. But perhaps we got a hint to what Coughlin's issues with Sheridan were in the next part of the press release. Coughlin added:

“I want energy, enthusiasm, toughness, and to make the necessary corrections and game adjustments.”

Breaking this statement down into its parts: Coughlin did not get the energy and enthusiasm from Sheridan that he got from Spagnuolo. We all saw that the players did not play with great fire or passion. This didn't show itself at the start of the game, perhaps, but as soon as something went wrong, they got down on themselves and the effort suffered. Sheridan also was not tough and demanding with the players - you get the feeling that all he did was pick on their errors and criticize. That's not the same as being tough and demanding up front, teaching the players technique and telling the players what he wanted. Second guessing, after the fact criticism, without teaching makes a team unravel.

The second part of the sentence, when Coughlin said he wanted the "necessary corrections and game adjustments" is, IMO, most revealing. Why would Coughlin say this? Why include it in the press release? Just leave it as a general statement about pulling the defense together. I think Coughlin saw that game planning and strategy was not Sheridan's strength and mid-game adjustments and corrections were even worse. Just for reference, look back to the New Orleans Saints game, the first game where the Giants defense was exposed as being weak. Giants went into the game with a defensive game plan to stop the run. They analyzed the Saints as a strong running team that liked to establish the run and then throw after that. I disagreed with that analysis, as did most experts, who think primarily of Brees and his outside weapons when you consider the Saints offense. An analyst on TV before the game, predicted that the Giants would get gashed up the middle by deep passes from the Saints, attacking their weak safeties. Of course, that is exactly what happened and the Giants defense was woefully unprepared for the passing attack of the Saints. Even if the Giants defensive coaches correctly read that the Saints were a run-first team, and the Saints broke tendencies by passing, the poor coaching was in not making any adjustments during the game. The Giants defense was bunched at the line of scrimmage to stop the run all game and they got beat with the pass. They played very predictable zone defenses putting their safeties in the position of having to cover 1-on-1 often and exposed them to the Saints passing game. The Giants made no changes during the game and gave up 40+ points to the Saints.

I think this reveals several things about the Giants defensive game planning under Sheridan: 1. He was not good at judging the opposing offense's strengths and weaknesses. 2. He was not good at self-scouting, judging his own defense's strengths and weaknesses, nor was he able to come up with a game plan that covered up Giants weaknesses and compensated for their flaws. 3. He was not good at making in-game corrections and adjustments.

I think all of these things are referred to in the press statement by Coughlin.

It will be interesting to see which coaches Fewell keeps and which he lets go. It was logical to keep all the coaches, giving Fewell a chance to interview them and let him build his own staff. No doubt he will bring some new coaches in and he may keep some that are currently on staff. DL coach Waufle must have done something to tick someone off, to be the only coach who was fired before the new DC came in.

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