Giants Should Set Up Steve Spagnuolo to Succeed Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin will not coach the Giants forever. With two Super Bowl rings and the complete confidence of team ownership, he will probably coach the team as long as he wants to, but not forever.
With Coughlin being 66 years of age—making him the oldest coach in the league—the franchise needs to begin considering life after Coughlin.
The New York Giants organization is not prone to rash decisions in regards to coaching, and they prefer stability in their team leadership. While not quite as steadfast as the Steelers have been—a team that has only had three different head coaches since 1969—Coughlin is only the Giant's fifth head coach in the last 30 years.
Assuming the ownership, under John Mara and Steve Tisch, will look to maintain that consistency, the Giants may want to look to a familiar face when building towards the future.
Former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was recently fired as the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, could be a viable option. Spagnuolo served under Coughlin as a the team's defensive coordinator from 2007-2008, where he enjoyed quite a bit of success. However, he has certainly had his difficulties throughout the past few years, after leaving the Giants in 2009 to become head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
To be fair, his tenure as a head coach in St. Louis came at a time where winning would have been difficult. Spagnuolo drafted Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, and after winning the Rookie of the Year that season, Bradford regressed drastically the following year and began to show his limitations as a quarterback. As a result, Spagnuolo, a defensive-minded head coach, leaned heavily on his offensive coaches, and coordinator Josh McDaniels provided him with an attack that averaged only 12.1 points per game. He was then fired after the 2011 season.
Would you like to see Spagnuolo back in the Giants organization?
Just a few weeks after being fired in St. Louis, Spagnuolo was hired as the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. Similarly, his short run as a defensive coordinator in New Orleans came during a difficult time. The punishments that came as a result of the Bountygate Scandal left the entire team in disarray last season, and this was especially true on the defensive side of the football. While Spagnuolo cannot escape all of the blame for perhaps the worst defensive effort in recent history this past season, it certainly should not fall on his shoulders alone.
Spagnuolo, was then fired last month, and he will certainly be looking to rebuild his career in the near future. New York, where he initially flourished and earned his great reputation, may be just the place to do it. Bringing Spagnuolo back would benefit the Giants as well.
Spagnuolo could be hired as a defensive line coach/assistant head coach. After the defensive line's poor showing in the 2012 season, Spagnuolo may be able to reignite the Giants pass rush that he worked so well with in the past. Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck would provide Spagnuolo with the tools to rehabilitate his image as a coach, and being groomed under Tom Coughlin would help to prepare him more for the head coaching position in the future.
Spagnuolo may not be interested in the arrangement, and he may be looking exclusively for a coordinator position. But if he could be convinced that this may be the better route and that this would be the best long-term career decision for him, then both parties would stand to benefit.
If he were to come back to New York, Spagnuolo would get a clear path at another shot at a head coaching opportunity with a quality organization, and the Giants could get improved play from their defensive line and a future head coach trained under Tom Coughlin.
File it under improbable, but the Giants would be remiss to not at least investigate this possibility.
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