The New York Giants defense was not very good in 2014. That is why Perry Fewell is longer the team's defensive coordinator and Steve Spagnuolo, back for a second stint in the job, is. Spagnuolo met reporters for the first time following Saturday's rookie mini-camp practice, and said the defense isn't going to be fixed just because he showed up.
"This isn't an on-and-off switch, boom, we're back to 2007 and we pick up where we left off," Spagnuolo said. "It doesn't work that way. It's a different challenge, it's a different year, it's different personnel.
"I'm not a magician. No coach is a magician. Things aren't going to happen like they may have happened in a different time."
Spagnuolo helped the Giants win a Super Bowl with an aggressive, attacking defense in 2007, earning himself the head-coaching job with the St. Louis Rams after two terrific years in New York. After three years in St. Louis he was fired. He spent one unsuccessful year as defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, and two years working with the Baltimore Ravens.
Spagnuolo was asked to address his year in New Orleans, where one anonymous player called him a "control freak" and the Saints' defense was the worst in the league."I firmly believe you learn more from adverse situations. There was a tremendous amount of wisdom and knowledge gained from my year in New Orleans. It was a tough year. for a lot of different reasons," Spagnuolo said.
"That was a growth experience. Life is like that, it's not just the NFL."
Spagnuolo said returning to the Giants "was just comfortable."
"I certainly knew exactly the type of people and type of organization I was going to. That's why I ran here," he said. "There's a lot of reasons to come back here. There's a lot of reasons for anybody to come here. The tradition of Giants football, the ownership, Mara's, Tisch's, coach Coughlin, Jerry Reese. You do the checklist, which I'm not saying I did, it would be fully loaded on one side. Kinda be a no-brainer."
"When you understand the defensive tradition of football here with the Giants you embrace it. When you embrace something you have a little pride in it. If you've got a little pride in something, like your family, you tend to protect it. The only other thing I added to them was ‘let's grow our own tradition and history here."
Head coach Tom Coughlin indicated Friday that Spagnuolo has spent a lot of time teaching Giants' players, many of whom were unaware of it, about the tradition of great Giants' defenses of the past.
"When you understand the defensive tradition of football here with the Giants you embrace it. When you embrace something you have a little pride in it. If you've got a little pride in something, like your family, you tend to protect it," Spagnuolo said. "The only other thing I added to them was let's grow our own tradition and history here."
So, what is Spagnuolo's vision of Giants' defense."I can just remember watching Giants football in Giants Stadium. Everybody gets infatuated with offense, but I just remember the linebackers and the d-linemen and the Spider Lockharts. .... It's relentless, it's attacking," he said.
"Michael Strahan said when he first got here they took pride in living up to the New York Giants defensive tradition. I thought that spoke volumes. That's a lot to live up to. If we can shoot for that and get close I think it will be pretty good."