The New York Giants ended any and all ambiguity regarding the future of their long time head coach, Tom Coughlin, when they informed the Super Bowl winning coach that he would be back for 2015.
It is the right move by Big Blue. While the 2014 season was not a success, and the team suffered it's third straight season out of the playoffs, Coughlin can't shoulder all of the blame for what happened this season. Injuries, poor personnel decisions, and a terrible defense spelled doom for the Giants in 2014. Now it is up to Coughlin and Jerry Reese to fix it once and for all.
While John Mara said that Coughlin and Reese deserve to return for another season, when asked if he thought 2015 was a win or else for many within the organization, Mara said that was a "fair statement."
It is always a gamble to have a coach work with 'lame duck' status, but the Giants are hoping that Coughlin, who will not get an extension, wins big in the final year of his contract and rides off into the sunset. The Giants do not want a repeat of the past two years, otherwise Mara and Steve Tish will have a very tough decision to make next winter.
There is reason to hope however, especially after the Giants offense took off down the stretch with Eli Manning having one of his best passing seasons, and Odell Beckham Jr. providing a spark at wide receiver. A second year under Ben McAdoo's offense might be the spark the Giants need to get back to the playoffs.
The most interesting tidbit from the Giants presser came when Mara said that Coughlin would have say in any and all coaching staff changes. In other words, embattled defensive coordinator Perry Fewell might be safe in 2015. Coughlin is very loyal to his assistants, sometimes to a fault. He's already stressed in the past he would like him back.
There had been a rumor that the Giants would pursue their former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo if Fewell were to be fired. Spagnuolo was very popular amongst the players and fanbase after guiding the Giants defense to a Super Bowl title in 2007. His defense was known for heavy blitzes that decimated the vaunted 18-0 Patriots in that year's Super Bowl.
A reunion with Spagnuolo would be looked upon much better than a return of Fewell. The Giants were ranked 29th in total defense and 30th against the pass this year. Big Blue also gave up 400 points this season. His defense has been called soft by many fans for years, who have been hoping the Giants would drop the ax on him.
While nobody said anything about who was returning or not, this is all just speculation. The fact is if Coughlin wants to get this team back to a competitive level, looking critically at the defense is going to be a big first step.