The Rumor Mill: Who Will Serve as the Next Giants Defensive Coordinator

Kyle McMorrowCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 22:  Head Coach Perry Fewell of the Buffalo Bills watches his team  against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida.  Jacksonville defeated Buffalo 18-15. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo left behind some pretty big shoes to fill, just ask the now unemployed Bill Sheridan, who was fired from the defensive coordinator's position earlier this week.

There's no denying the Giants have the personnel to be one of the NFL's elite defensive teams once again, but the problem doesn't lie with the players, it falls squarely on whoever will take over as defensive coordinator.

As with all coaching vacancies in the NFL, candidates names will appear and disappear as fast as the seconds go by on a clock. Here are some names that have been appearing around the rumor mill lately.

Kicking off this year's search for defensive coordinator will be Buffalo Bills interim head coach Perry Fewell. Fewell, who served as a former defensive backs coach under Tom Coughlin from 1998-2002 in Jacksonville, took over for Dick Jauron in Buffalo earlier this year and is expected to be interviewed as early as tomorrow.

One of the more interesting candidates is Romeo Crennel.  The former Cleveland Browns coach was a former defensive line coach with the Giants, Patriots, and Jets before he landed his own head coaching gig.

There is a major issue with Crennel, as he runs a 3-4 defense, and the Giants use a 4-3. While some players such as Clint Sintim and Chris Canty would prosper in the changeover, it would be a major rebuilding move and perhaps the end of some players' tenure in a Giants uniform.

Another high-profile possible candidate is Jauron. Jauron served as the defensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin during their years in Jacksonville.

The former Bills and Bears head coach may have an inside track on the rest of the competition, but he would not be alone in that regard.

Former defensive coordinator Dom Capers also served under Coughlin, and could be considered as another strong candidate. Capers, however, is a less likely choice due to the fact that he is currently the defensive coordinator for the playoff-bound Green Bay Packers.

There are however some less high-profile coaches who have been linked to the Giants' defensive vacancy.

According to the New York Daily News, former Giants linebacker and current Patriots line coach Pepper Johnson is "very interested" in the position. Johnson is a five-time Super Bowl champion—two as a player and three as a coach—and would demand "instant respect" according to Carl Banks.

While all these coordinators and former head coaches have an impressive track record, there is one assistant who has not been named yet that could be the sleeper pick.

New York Jets linebacker coach Bob Sutton has been reportedly targeted by the Giants, according to multiple media outlets.

Sutton, who was the Jets' defensive coordinator from 2006-08, has survived four different head coaches since joining the Jets back in 2000.

A former head coach at Army, Sutton also worked with Coughlin back in 1974 with Syracuse.

While the rumor mill continues to turn on this story one thing is certain, there will be no shortage of candidates for this coveted position.