Coughlin Firmly In Charge
Head Coach—Tom Coughlin
Offensive Coordinator—Kevin Gilbride
Defensive Coordinator—Bill Sheridan
Offensive Assistants: Jerald Ingram (running backs), Chris Palmer (quarterbacks), Pat Flaherty (offensive line), Jack Bicknell, Jr. (asst. offensive line), Mike Pope (tight ends), Mike Sullivan (wide receivers), and Sean Ryan (quality control)
Defensive Assistants: Mike Waufle (defensive line), Jim Herrmann (linebackers), Pete Giunta (cornerbacks), David Merritt (safeties), and Al Holcomb (quality control)
Special Teams: Tom Quinn and Thomas McGaughey
Strength and Conditioning: Jerry Palmieri and Markus Paul
Tom Coughlin—Head Coach (Sixth Year)
Down-to-Earth and genuine, Coughlin almost lost his job after the 2006 season. He had always been known as a disciplinarian and his rigid tactics and unbending rules caused a rift in the locker room. His style was a 180-degree turn from his predecessor, the flexible and lenient Jim Fassel.
Players felt he was taking the regimentation a tad too far.
With his contract due to expire at the end of the coming season, ownership extended Coughlin for a year in January of 2007, so he would not be a "lame-duck" coach. With that extension came requests that he loosen up on the players.
The rest is history.
As a coach, Coughlin was treading water after three seasons. He was 25-23 with two playoff losses and the team was stuck in neutral. Then Jerry Reese took over as GM and began bringing the young talent that would help turn his team into a serious contender.
This season, Coach Coughlin has another crop of young studs to deal with. They will get the full treatment, and he will turn them into professionals.
Analysis: Coughlin tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, but since the Giants won a championship, that's now seen as a positive. He's outlasted the stubborn veterans who staged a mini-mutiny a few years back and currently has more security and control than ever.
Coughlin has built a solid staff of veteran coaches that adds to the success of the team. He rarely hires coaches with little or no experience. The Giants are pleased they stuck with Coughlin because he has become an excellent game coach—his strategy is usually right on and his ability to adjust in-game is up there with the best.
Coach Coughlin's stamp is all over this group.
He likes to surround himself with familiar faces. OC Kevin Gilbride held the same job under Coughlin in Jacksonville, and so did RB coach Jerald Ingram. WR coach Mike Sullivan and QB coach Chris Palmer were also on Coughlin's staff with the Jaguars.
Jack Bicknell, Jr. was a player at BC when Coughlin was the QB coach there under Bicknell's father. TE coach Mike Pope coached with Coughlin in both New England and under Bill Parcells with the Giants.
Only OL coach Pat Flaherty and Quality Control coach Sean Ryan did not have prior working experience either next to or under Tom Coughlin.
That hasn't put them at a disadvantage, though.
This group understands what it needs to do to win ballgames. The major challenge has been having to go from a veteran team to a young team without losing any productivity.
Analysis: This year, that challenge gets even greater.
The Giants will be asking their rookie receivers to step up and attempt to help reestablish the passing game.
That will not be easy to do.
The running game and the offensive line are staples on this team and both are amongst the leagues' best. QB Eli Manning still remains an enigma—one game on, one game off. He needs to become more consistent. If he does, the Giants will be at the top of the standings again.
The Giants like to choose defensive coaches that have a history of sticking to basics and regimentation. DC Bill Sheridan coached at Army, Michigan, and Notre Dame before joining the Giants in 2005.
LB coach Jim Herrmann actually had Sheridan on his staff at Michigan in the early part of the decade. Herrmann played and coached at Michigan for a quarter-century and began his career under the great Bo Schembechler.
CB coach Pete Giunta coached at Penn State and was the Rams' DC when they won Super Bowl XXXIV. Safeties coach David Merritt is a former NFL linebacker who once coached defense at VMI.
Al Holcomb is a former phys ed teacher that toiled in the NCAA Division II coaching ranks before being hired by Coughlin last year to become the defensive quality control coach. Finally, DL coach Mike Waufle has been coaching defensive lines in both the collegiate and professional ranks for nearly 30 years.
Analysis: When the DL rotation gets cooking under Waufle...it's practically unstoppable.
Last year, the rotation took a hit when Michael Strahan retired and Osi Umenyiora missed the entire year with a knee injury. This year, they are stacked again with bodies. They will bring the pressure big time, which will alleviate the stress on the back seven.
The linebackers are going to shock people.
Herrmann loves the possibilities of having Michael Boley and Clint Sintim flanking captain Anotnio Pierce.
The secondary has benefited from three top draft choices—Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Kenny Phillips. Giunta and Merritt work well together and this group has the potential to become great, not just good.
Tom Quinn and Thomas McGaughey are back running the show. Last year, the Giants sent three special teamers to the Pro Bowl: punter Jeff Feagles, kicker John Carney, and long snapper Zak DeOssie.
This year, Carney is out and Lawrence Tynes is back in.
The Giants will see how much Ahmad Bradshaw and Domenik Hixon are needed on the offense before deciding on whether to switch them out of their returner roles. The Giants are one club that actually makes out on the new wedge rule. They normally don't run many kicks back for big yardage, and they usually defend the kickoff fairly well.
Analysis: The Tynes for Carney switch makes everyone uneasy, but Tynes has a long-term deal with four years left, so live with it.
The coaches would prefer that Hixon continue his returner role. That would happen only if the rookie wideouts unseat him in the starting lineup.
Strength and Conditioning
Jerry Palmieri is another guy who has been following Coughlin around. From BC to Jacksonville to the Giants, Palmieri has been keeping players in top physical form.
He was awarded the NFL's S&C Coach of the Year in 2007.
His assistant, Markus Paul, is a former DB for the Chicago Bears and has worked in an S&C capacity for the Jets, Patriots, and Saints before joining the Giants in 2007.
Analysis: The Giants just recently moved into a brand new training complex just west of Giants Stadium. The 199,000 square-foot complex contains all of the modern amenities for proper training, including a 7500 square-foot weight room and four full practice fields: three grass and one FieldTurf.
Quick Question: What is the job of an NFL quality control coach?
A quality control coach helps break down tape of the opponents, monitors his team's tendencies so that measures can be taken to make his team less predictable, and helps keep the players on script during practices.
He is available to the head coach for whatever else needs to be done during practice or in preparation for the upcoming opponent.
Thanks to Steve Corkran of the Contra-Costa Times.