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Sam Madison: Spagnuolo has unmatched preparation

Check out photos of CB Sam Madison from when he was a New York Giant

Preparation only takes teams so far. Adjustments put them over the top.


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The Giants recently hired one of the best in the business at doing both as their new defensive coordinator, says former cornerback and Super Bowl XLII champion Sam Madison.

After coach Tom Coughlin chose not to retain Perry Fewell for next season, he reached into the past and brought Steve Spagnuolo onboard to lead the defense, a position the 34-year coaching veteran held with the Giants for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. During that stretch, the Giants ranked seventh and then fifth in the NFL in total defense.

Madison, who was part of Spagnuolo's defense that ended the New England Patriots' shot at perfection in 2007, joined "Big Blue Kickoff Live" on to discuss the new-old coordinator.

"We always talk about defensive coordinators staying on the field versus being up in the box," said Madison, who played from 2006-2008 with the Giants after spending nine seasons with the Miami Dolphins. "This was the first time for me having a defensive coordinator on the football field. He understands his defense more than anybody else, and for him to be on the sideline and be able to show those pictures and make those in-game adjustments, that is one of, I would say, the best things that Steve Spagnuolo can do. Make those adjustments but having the personnel, having the insight and the foresight to do it in practice ahead of time and anticipating what an offense would try to do to you and have those guys prepared, ready to go."

While Spagnuolo's first year as defensive coordinator ultimately ended with raising the Lombardi Trophy, it didn't start that way. It required time and will no doubt require an adjustment period in his second stint with Big Blue.

Madison recalled the Giants' 0-2 beginning in 2007, which turned around during a last-minute goal-line stand against the Washington Redskins on the road in Week 3.

"We had been talking about things that occurred to us and happened to us in those first couple games where if you would have just did the technique that coach Spags gave us and the coaches gave us, we would have been victorious in some of those games," Madison recalled. "But it just so happened Kawika Mitchell, a guy that normally plays middle linebacker coming from Kansas City, we moved him to outside linebacker. He came and he made those plays that we were looking for early on in the season. And it kind of took off from there and the rest is history when you talk about winning the Super Bowl and winning 11 straight on the road."

The Giants held the Redskins to 83 yards in the second half of that game in Landover, Md.

But that is in the past.

Spagnuolo will now try to improve a defense that allowed a league-worst 230 points in the second half of games in 2014 and went 3-5 on the road.

"There are a lot of good players on that roster that I feel that he's going to be able to touch home with," said Madison, who is currently doing radio and TV work with the Dolphins in addition to coaching youth football and training NFL prospects for the combine. "And those guys will seize the opportunity where they can make plays in the defense. Because that's only really what it took for us was to finally see, 'Wow, if I just run through like we've been talking about all in practices, I'll make that play.' So it's going to all boil down to these players making the play when he makes those calls."

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