Defense is The Biggest Change For The New York Giants in 2009

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst IMay 27, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:  DeShawn Wynn #42 of the Green Bay Packers is tackled by five New York Giants defenders at Giants Stadium September 16, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

In Super Bowl XLII, there are many theories on what won the game for the New York Giants. Big Blue was up against the heavily favored New England Patriots, and went on to upset them, 17-14.


But what won them the game?


Many will say it was Eli Manning’s heroic ability to evade the Pats’ defensive linemen on third and five to hook up with wide receiver David Tyree. “The catch” enabled Manning to connect with Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown.


But what oftentimes gets overshadowed is the Giants’ defense.


No other team in the National Football League was able to contain New England quarterback Tom Brady in the 2007 season, but the Giants were able to.


The defensive line in 2007 established themselves as a juggernaut, led by men like Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. They were only two players out of many who led the Giants team to 53 sacks on the year.


In 2008 the Giants came back with 42 sacks on the year, and Tuck once again led the way with 12 on his own.


The past two years there was one man calling all of the defensive plays, and his name was Steve Spagnuolo.


In 2009 the G-Men will be without their Super Bowl defensive coordinator, and this will come as a huge change in the team’s look for this upcoming season.


At the end of the 2008 season, Spagnuolo received offers to be the head of coach of various teams, including the Denver Broncos, the Detroit Lions, and New York Jets among others.


Ultimately he sided with St. Louis, and on Jan. 17 was named head coach of the Rams.


His play-calling will be greatly missed on the sidelines of Giants Stadium, and expect it to show when the G-Men are on defense.


Spagnuolo was tutored by Coach Jim Johnson of the Eagles, and has a mind to instruct the D-line to blitz frequently. While with the Giants, he used smaller defensive packages in efforts to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback.


Now the Giants have chosen Bill Sheridan as the 2009 defensive coordinator, who had previously been the linebackers coach since 2005.


“Steve did a great job,” Sheridan said to


“I don’t think the average fan will see much of a difference in the defense, but the players will see it. There will be some subtle difference in the defense, we have excellent pass rushers, and we’re going to make sure we turn those guys loose and put pressure on the quarterbacks.”


Sheridanis planning on taking a positive approach to his new job, and is planning on calling his plays from the booth, a major difference from Spagnuolo put in his plays from the sidelines.


“The biggest job is to call the game as you’ve planned it during the week,” he said.


“The booth is the best vantage point, and you’re seeing the game unfold, and have the opportunity to review the plays we made during the week. It’s the same way we view film from the press box, and it’s a much better view with an office-like atmosphere.”


During the games, Sheridan will meet the coaches at halftime and go over game plans with the players.


Sheridan is looking forward to a winning campaign in ’09, but the biggest change is the move in coaching.  


Spagnuolo led the Giants to a Super Bowl win. Now it's Sheridan's turn to try and follow suit. 


“I feel really good about the players, I always have,” he stated.


“We have some fantastic players, and we have basically the same coaching staff with the addition of Jim Herrmann (Who filled Sheridan’s position as the linebackers coach). We have a good coaching staff, and we’re just hoping to build on that.”