EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today initiated a restructuring of their defensive coaching staff when they announced the departure of coordinator Perry Fewell and secondary/cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta.
Fewell had been the team's defensive coordinator since 2010, while Giunta joined the staff in 2006. Giunta was on the staff for both of the Giants' Super Bowl victories under Tom Coughlin, while Fewell coordinated the defense when the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.
"These are two outstanding men and outstanding football coaches," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "It is very hard in this business to find people that are not only good football coaches but outstanding human beings who are trustworthy, loyal and honest. Perry and Peter are all that."
Despite his strong personal feelings for Fewell and Giunta, Coughlin said the changes were necessary in the wake of the Giants' 6-10 season in 2014, their third in row without a postseason berth.
"No one person is responsible for what happened in this year," Coughlin said. "That has to be loud and clear. If there is any one person responsible, it is me. It is not Perry Fewell. It is not Peter Giunta. Both of them are outstanding football coaches in their own way. The simple fact of the matter is in the circumstance that we find ourselves, change is necessary. That may not be the most eloquent way of saying it, but that is what I am confronted with. The hope always is invigoration. You are going to stimulate. It is with great deliberation over a lengthy period of time throughout a thorough investigation and evaluation of what went on that I came to the conclusion that change was necessary.
"There are no hard feelings on my part about anything that anybody has done. The hard feelings are the six wins. That is the reality. It is unfortunate, but it is true."
Fewell – who was Coughlin's secondary coach in Jacksonville from 1998-2002 - joined the Giants in 2010, following a four-year stint as the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills (he was also the team's interim head coach for the final seven games of the 2009 season).
In Fewell's first season, the Giants' defense ranked seventh in the NFL, allowing 310.8 yards a game. The following year, the ranking dropped to 27th (376.4 yards), but the defense played well in the four-game postseason run that culminated with the Giants' Super Bowl victory over New England.
In 2012, the defense was ranked 31st in the NFL. It improved to eighth (332.3 yards a game) in 2013. But in the just-concluded 2014 season, the defense ranked 29th (375.8 yards game), and the Giants allowed at least 400 points for just the fifth time in franchise history.
Giunta came to the Giants in 2006, after serving for five seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs' defensive backs coach. He was previously with the St. Louis Rams, for whom he was the defensive coordinator on the 1999 team that won Super Bowl XXXIV.
This is the second year in a row the Giants are changing one of their coordinators. On Jan. 2, 2014, longtime offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride announced his retirement. Coughlin hired Ben McAdoo, who had been the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, as the new coordinator. In McAdoo's first season, the offense averaged 60 more yards a game and improved from 28th to 10th in the league rankings. In addition, quarterback Eli Manning had one of his finest seasons.
Coughlin now hopes for a similar improvement in the defense.
"I did it last year for different reasons," Coughlin said. "The opportunity was there. Kevin was retiring. I took advantage of the opportunity to do what I, first and foremost, wanted to do, which was revive the quarterback. The decision here gives us the ability to revive our defensive people, to introduce, if you will, a new, different system, perhaps not that big a change, but nevertheless there will be some change involved and create an opportunity. I just think it is an opportunity for us, to a certain extent, to stimulate our defensive team due to the fact that you will end up with a new coordinator. Those people will bring a new system, a new focus and a new area of concentration."