When talking about the 2009 New York Giants coaching staff, you have to start at the top with the head coach Tom Coughlin. When Coughlin was hired he was chosen over Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel in part because he was deemed more of a disciplinarian than the other candidates.
Coughlin did not waste time shaking things up from the Jim Fassel era by mandating players show up at least five minutes prior to every meeting and fining them for a variety of infractions. He meant business from the first day.
The team, however, was not winning and it became obvious that a change was needed or else Coughlin would no longer have a job. Even after doing things exactly his way for the better part of the past 30 years, Coughlin allowed the players to see his softer side. He got to know them and they got to know him. The result of that change was the dominating team we all enjoy today.
Coughlin is entering the second year of a four year contract extension and seems to have a tenured position. For as long as Coughlin feels up to the challenge of coaching, the job will be his. This will be his 13th year as a head coach in the NFL and has compiled a very respectable career record of 115-93. In a league littered with failures of head coaches, Tom Coughlin is a luxury that Giants fans will enjoy until the day he retires.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kevin Gilbride is the man running the show. Gilbride had previously worked with Coughlin when they were both coaching with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Coughlin was impressed enough to bring him aboard when the Giants hired him.
Under his guidance the team fielded the number five ranked offense in the league last season. Though there are still some doubts among the fans as to his overall skills for in game play calling, the results of his efforts cannot be denied. The Giants were the best rushing team in the league and the passing game has improved every season.
Eli Manning has grown considerably under the coaching of both Gibride and QB's coach Chris Palmer. Gilbride himself has some head coaching experience, though he was never as successful as Coughlin in that role. It appears as though his talents are best served in the offensive coordinator position.
Palmer has worked closely with Gilbride for a very long time stemming back from when he was the WR's coach under Gilbride for the Houston Oilers from 1990-92. Palmer then moved on to Jacksonville to take Gilbride's place as the offensive coordinator under Coughlin.
Following that he became the head coach of the Cleveland Browns but was not there for very long as the team struggled to consistently win games. He bounced around the league a bit until Coughlin brought him back to his staff in 2007. Just in time to take Manning to the highest level of play he has ever seen.
The rest of the offensive staff includes: TE's coach Mike Pope who is the only coach that was on the team for all four Super Bowl appearances.
OL's coach Pat Flaherty who has compiled and taught what it considered to be the very best offensive line in the NFL over the past six years.
RB's coach Jerald Ingram who coached a unit that boasted two separate 1,000 yard rushers in the same season for only the 3rd time in NFL history.
WR's coach Mike Sullivan who will be asked to take a young and unproven though talented group of receivers and make up for the loss of the teams two leading receivers from the past three seasons.
With a staff as decorated as this group its easy to see why they have been so successful the past three seasons.
On the defensive side, Bill Sheridan is entering his first season as a defensive coordinator in the NFL though this is his fourth season with the Giants. He had spent the previous three years as the LB's coach.
The LB's suffered some devastating injuries during the first couple years with the Giants but he was able to patchwork a group every season that allowed the Giants defense to play well enough to get them into the playoffs.
Although he has never been a coordinator before, he has learned a lot from Steve Spagnuolo and hopes to continue the recent trend of dominance from the New York Giants defense.
Assisting Sheridan will be Peter Guinta. Guinta coaches the secondary, specifically the corner backs. When the team was searching for their new defensive coordinator there were only two names who were seriously considered: Sheridan and Guinta. Guinta is entering his 3rd season as the Giants coach and has already established himself as one of the best at his position.
He can be credited with the stellar play of Aaron Ross in his rookie season, the comeback of Corey Webter in the face of his early struggles, and steady improvement of Terrell Thomas last season during his rookie year.
Perhaps the highlight of his career was against the Dallas Cowboys in the 2007 playoffs when his unit was reduced to just three players (Geoffrey Pope, RW MCQuarters, and Webster) and they still held Tony Romo and the vaunted Cowboys offense to just three second half points. That only happens with great coaching.
Mike Waufle is in charge of the deepest and most talented unit of the team and possible the league, the New York Giants defensive line. Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora could never stop gushing about Waufle and his coaching technique.
He has been able to find playing time for all of his guys and cater each player's skills to the time of the game he was on the field. Waufle's reputation grows annually around the league as every player under his guidance seems to exceed expectations every single year.
Rounding out the defensive coaches there is: Safeties coach Dave Merritt and LB's coach Jim Hermann.
Merritt is entering his 5th season with the Giants and has had to coach numerous different players at his position during his time with them. Every year it seems as though there is at least one new starting safety and his versatility as a coach has been vital to keeping the team running smoothly.
This will be Herrmann's first season as the LBs coach, replacing the promoted Sheridan. He has spent nine seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Michigan Wolverines before a two year stint with the Jets as LB coach. He will resume those duties for a Giants team that has potentially added two starters to the unit in rookie Clint Sintim and free agent Michael Boley.
The Giants have one of the most talented in the league from top to bottom but none of that talent would be of any use without proper coaching. These coaches have all shown a propensity for getting the absolute best out of their players every year. Staring with Coughlin and going all the way down the list, there is not one coach who is not widely respected by both his players and the league around them. They will be the men leading team as they work towards their ultimate goal of a second Super Bowl in three seasons.
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