Pepper Johnson is no longer a candidate for the New York Giants vacant defensive coordinator position, per published reports.
Giants have informed Pepper Johnson they are going in a different direction as far as their defensive coordinator hire, according to source.— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) January 15, 2015
That means that Steve Spagnuolo and Dennis Allen are the remaining candidates. Spagnuolo interviewed Wednesday and Allen, former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, interviewed on Tuesday.
Spagnuolo, Giants' defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008, has been considered the front-runner. Allen, though, is an intriguing candidate. The 42-year-old was defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 2011, and reportedly is also under consideration for that job with the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints.
Considering that head coach Tom Coughlin is in an obvious "win or else" situation in 2015 and that Giants' ownership has not guaranteed him a contract extension beyond the upcoming season it can be no surprise that Johnson, who has never been a coordinator, will not get the job. Both Spagnuolo and Allen have coordinating and head-coaching experience.
Albert Breer of NFL Network tweeted earlier Thursday that candidates are expecting an answer this week. With the NFL's desire not to distract attention from this weekend's AFC and NFC Championship games it would be surprising if a decision is not announced this afternoon.