The fallout for the Giants' freefall in the final 11 games has started with the firing of Bill Sheridan as the team's defensive coordinator. The move is both expected and warranted after a Giants defense that was feared under former coordinator Steve Spagnuolo morphed into a feckless unit under Sheridan's tutelage this season. They gave up 427 points, second-most in team history, and barely showed up in five of the team's losses.
It will be interesting to see where the Giants go to replace Sheridan. Former Bills coach Dick Jauron has been rumored as a candidate for the job based on his experience working with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville, but his style is a lot closer to Sheridan's than it is to Spagnuolo's.
Spagnuolo, a disciple of late Eagles assistant Jim Johnson, believed in rushing the passer aggressively and using man coverage on nearly every down. Sheridan was happy to call zones and rely on the front four to provide pressure, something that has also been a hallmark of Jauron's defenses. It's hard to say exactly what the roster will look like next season, but this year's edition was sorely in need of a play caller who believed in turning up the heat.
More than styles, the pedigree of the new guy will be interesting in light of owner John Mara's comments on Monday about being unhappy with both Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese. Although their jobs are safe, Mara said that the status quo was not acceptable which may signal that Jauron or another Coughlin crony is not an acceptable alternative to a bright mind from outside the organization.
That's what Spagnuolo was when the Giants brought him on to replace Tim Lewis, another conservative coordinator and Coughlin acolyte. If the team moves outside the organization, it will be another reason to believe that Coughlin's seat will be more than room temperature entering the 2010 season.