After a six year absence Giants' fans finally get their wish, Steve Spangnuolo has returned to Big Blue as defensive coordinator.
Popular amongst former players and the fans for the way he guided the Giants defense to one of the top units in the NFL in 2007 and 2008, which included a thrilling Super Bowl victory, bringing back Spagnuolo was a no-brainer.
Sure the Giants did their due-diligence by interviewing several candidates including Raheem Morris, Pepper Johnson and Dennis Allen for the post, but the writing has been on the wall for a very long time. The Giants wanted to get "their guy" back in the fold. In what could be Tom Coughlin's final year as Giants coach, having a trusted hand by his side is huge.
Under Spagnuolo the Giants were a top 10 defense, ranked 7th in the NFL in total D in 2007, and 5th in total D in 2008. The Giants haven't sniffed the top ten since he left.
Heck, they haven't even been in the top 15!
Maybe it's ironic in a way, while the Giants defense got progressively worse since his departure, Spagnuolo hasn't enjoyed a lot of success himself either.
He went 10-38 in three seasons as the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Granted a lot of it wasn't his fault, since the Rams were and still are a mess, especially at the quarterback position. Then in 2012, he managed the New Orleans Saints defense to the worst ranking in the league, 32nd, after allowing 440 yards per game, and 28.4 points per game. He has spent the last two years as a defensive assistant in Baltimore, focusing mostly on the secondary.
So, while both parties are familiar with one another, the Giants had to make sure that Spagnuolo learned for those missteps in St. Louis and New Orleans, especially, and are hopeful he can get the Giants defense on the right track.
To be honest, the bar has been set so low by ex-defensive coordinator Perry Fewell that even a small improvement would be huge. The Giants were 29th in the NFL in total defense, and gave up 25 points per game this season. While injuries contributed heavily to their failures, Fewell just didn't have the answers. Perhaps the turning point in Fewell's tenure was the Seattle game, in which Marshawn Lynch carved up the Giants on the ground, and Fewell was seen standing on the sideline with a smiling and confused look on his face.
This is the right move for the Giants, and the right move for Spags. He has a chance to rebuild not only this defense, but his own credentials. I won't go as far as to say he automatically becomes a candidate to succeed Coughlin, but if he is able to get the most out of this unit and the Giants make the playoffs because of it, he'll get strong consideration.
Congrats Giants' fans your prayers have been answered. Now let's see if it was worth it.