Tom Coughlin will remain as New York Giants head coach in 2015, and co-owner John Mara said that it is Coughlin who will determine the fate of embattled defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
"Tom is a Super Bowl winning potential Hall of Fame coach. He's more qualified to make that decision than I am," Mara said. "He knows better than we do."
The Giants finished the season 29th in total defense (375.8 yards per game) and 23rd in points allowed per game (25.0). Mara did bluntly say "our defense did not play well this year."
So, what is Coughlin going to do? The head coach said Tuesday that he was trying to remain "balanced" and will "evaluate everything," but he did point out that games the Giants lost in Jacksonville and against San Francisco had nothing to do with defensive problems. Coughlin said "we're going to be very critical of everything," but also pointed out that the defense finished in the top 10 in sacks, turnovers, third-down and red-zone defense.
"You've gotta balance things off. Don't throw it all into one bucket because it doesn't belong there," Coughlin said. "You've gotta take it all into consideration.
Fewell has been the Giants' defensive coordinator for five seasons, and Coughlin said Fewell "had his hands full" in 2014.
"Perry's a very good football coach," Coughlin said. "He's had his ups and downs ... We have some issues, no doubt. You'd like to be able to think we can solve them."
Coughlin said he wasn't trying to defend Fewell.
"I'm trying to introduce balance. If you're going to look at the bad, I see it, too," Coughlin said.
So, back to the question of what Coughlin will eventually do? Many will read Coughlin's remarks and take them to believe that the coach has already decided to keep Fewell for a sixth season. I don't think that is the case. I think that Coughlin wants to be as thorough as he can in studying what went wrong, why it went wrong, how much the defensive coordinator is to blame for it and whether or not he believes Fewell is the right man to fix it.
As of Monday night it had been said the chances were "50-50" that Fewell would stay. At this point, I honestly believe Coughlin is undecided. I do, however, also believe Fewell's chances of sticking around are better than I thought they were just a few days ago.