Feeling good about Fewell

I know by now you guys might be all 'Fewell-ed' out. I hope, though, that you are up for just a little more discussion about new Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who now has the job of re-constructing the once-mighty New York defense.

Let me say up front, I like this hire. Based on our current poll results, most of you (about 80 percent) seem to agree.

I am not going to say I know for a fact that Fewell is the right guy to return the Giants defense to dominance. I don't know that for sure. No one does. Not even Tom Coughlin.

First and foremost, I like this hire because this is the guy Coughlin wanted. Desperately, it seems. Fewell, as we know, was the only candidate Coughlin interviewed.

We know the guy had options, like Chicago or waiting to see if Buffalo would offer him the head-coaching job. So, we know that Coughlin and the Giants organization had the juice to target a guy they wanted and go out and make that happen.

Remember that before hiring Bill Sheridan last off-season the Giants flirted with Dom Capers, who ended up in Green Bay. So, you could make the argument that the Giants ended up 'settling' for a coordinator in 2009. That is not the case for 2010.

The other reason I like this hire is the way anyone familiar with Fewell reacts when asked about the guy. Players want to play for the guy, and he can teach.

Brian Galliford of SBN's Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings, summed up the reaction to Fewell this way:

"One thing is certain. Your guys will love playing for him."

Former Giants linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who played for two seasons in Buffalo under Fewell, tweeted this about Fewell Thursday night.

"On the rise. Creative. Listens to his players. Great experience, especially when you add in his time as interim head coach. I have a lot of respect for Perry Fewell."

Here is one more assessment worth noting, from Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

"The reputation Fewell brings to the Giants is that he develops a close emotional relationship with his players -- something one-and-done coordinator Bill Sheridan failed to do this season. Fewell is considered to be a straight shooter unafraid to call a player out and has a natural enthusiasm that helps him motivate those around him."

Some of you have expressed concerns about the mediocre rankings of the Bills defenses during Fewell's tenure, and about his preference for a defense that uses the Tampa 2 as its base.

Personally, I would urge you not to get hung up on those things. Remember that the Bills have been a terrible team during Fewell's time there, mostly devoid of talent. The most games they won during Fewell's four seasons was seven, and they never sniffed the playoffs. So, Fewell was not working with a whole lot on defense. And the Bills never had much of an offense to take the heat off Fewell's defenses. That is not the case with the Giants.

As for the Tampa 2, in my chat with Galliford he made it clear that Fewell is a zone coverage coordinator though not married to strict use of the Tampa 2.

Getting used to that will be adjustment for the players -- and for the fans. We have grown accustomed to lots of press-coverage and man-to-man based schemes. After the disastrous play of the 2009 defense, though, I don't think players -- or fans -- have any right to complain about changing the coverage style. Right now, it's broken. Let's see if Fewell can fix it.

Finally, if you are concerned about Fewell's ability to adjust or dial up something aggressive when it is needed, perhaps this article from the Chicago Tribune will make you feel better. It was written when it looked Fewell was headed to the Bears.

Will this work out for the Giants? We won't know for sure until the season plays itself out. Today, though, I think it is a hire Giants fans should feel pretty good about.

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