At the Helm: Sizing Up the New York Giants Coaching Staff

Jeff O'ConnorContributor IMay 29, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 20:  Head coach Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants celebrate as the winning field goal is kicked in overtime of the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers on January 20, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Giants defeated the Packers 23-20 in overtime to advance to the Superbowl XLII.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

One of the reasons the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 was Coach Tom Coughlin's change in attitude.  A stern taskmaster in years past, Coughling became a more laid back, family oriented guy.  It made his players feel loose and it made for a more positive and friendly environment. 

Coughlin still knows his Xs and Os, but this change in style helped lead the Giants to the Super Bowl.  The Giants have now been in the playoffs the last 4 seasons and Coach Coughlin will once again expect a strong campaign from his G-Men.

Kevin Gilbride returns for his third season as the Giants offensive coordinator.  While Gilbride was masterful throughout '07 and '08, his playcalling in the 2008 Divisional Round vs. the Eagles, puts him back under the microscope.  In a windy environment at Giants Stadium, Gilbride elected to throw way too often whe

n Brandon Jacobs and the ground attack were chewing up solid yardage.  In a game that ended 23-11, many swings of the game go back to the playcalling.  Gilbride is certainly trusted by Coughlin but there will be a pair of eyes staring over his shoulders all year long.

With the departure of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants promoted linebackers coach Bill Sheridan to the position for the 2009 season.  Sheridan, who has been with New York since 2005, has done a solid job with the linebackers he has been given. 

He's turned Antonio Pierce into one of the best defensive leaders in the game and on the '07 team turned Kawika Mitchell into a key blitzer in passing situations. 

Sheridan, DL Coach Mike Wauffle, and DB Coach Pete Giunta all made great candidates for the defensive coordinator job but the linebacker coach seems to be the wise choice here as the middle linebacker is the "quarterback" on the field; same goes for the coaching staff. 

Sheridan will likely keep in place the scheme left by Spagnuolo and tweak it to the adjustments the Giants made in player personnel in the offseason. 

Mike Wauffle has done a tremendous job with the defensive line, turning them into one of the best units in the league.  They were great last year, even after moving Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive line after losing Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora for the 2008 season. 

In years past, the secondary has been much maligned by the media and rightfully so.  However, Pete Giunta has turned it around and done an exceptional job with the young talent. 

Corey Webster has developed into a stud, while Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross are up and coming dependable guys.  His biggest test will come with developing young safeties Kenny Phillips and Michael Johnson. 

The Giants coaching staff is a solid one and most of the pieces are there from the 2007 squad.  The Giants were able to stay in house with the job of defensive coordinator and promoted Sheridan. 

We will likely see minimal system changes to what Steve Spagnuolo brought in from Philadelphia.  The Giants coaching staff is one of the best in the league and while there may be a few minor questions on the offensive side, the defensive side of the coaching staff will have plenty of new toys to play with in Michael Boley and Chris Canty. 

It should be a fun and exciting year in New York for the coaching staff, but it does come with expectations.