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Steve Spagnuolo interviews for Head Coach position


The Giants have interviewed Steve Spagnuolo for the team's head coach position:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The first candidate to interview for the Giants' head coaching position was the last man to hold the job.

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Steve Spagnuolo, who just completed his third season as defensive coordinator and a one-month stint as the team's interim head coach, met this afternoon with team president John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams, the threesome conducting the initial interviews. Giants chairman Steve Tisch will meet with the candidates later in the process.

A season-ending 18-10 victory against Washington gave Spagnuolo a 1-3 record as the Giants' interim coach. He was named to the position on Dec. 4, when Ben McAdoo was dismissed.

Spagnuolo is in his second tenure as the Giants' defensive coordinator. He previously held the position in 2007-08.

In 2016, the Giants fielded the NFL's most-improved defense, one that was a catalyst behind the team's 11-5 record and first postseason berth in five years. That season, the Giants' defense achieved top 10 rankings in 12 statistical categories recognized by the NFL, including a top five ranking in eight critical columns on the stat sheet: touchdowns allowed (first), red zone efficiency (first), points allowed per game (second), opposing quarterback rating (second), yards allowed per rush (second), third-down efficiency (third), completion percentage (third) and first downs allowed per game (fifth).

The Giants allowed 17.8 points per game, the lowest average by their opponents since 2002, when they gave up 17.4 points a game. They were second in the NFL with 284 points allowed, one season after they were ranked 30th in giving up 442 points. The 158-point decrease in points allowed was by far the NFL's highest. The Giants were the first NFL team to allow at least 158 fewer points than the previous season since the 2002 Indianapolis Colts (173 points).

During Spagnuolo's first tenure with the team, the Giants won Super Bowl XLII and ranked seventh and then fifth in the NFL in total defense. In 37 regular season and postseason games, the Giants' defense allowed 17 points or fewer 19 times. The Giants were 19-0 in those games.

A 36-year coaching veteran, including 19 in the NFL, Spagnuolo has coached for teams that have made nine playoff appearances, won six division titles, played in five conference championship games, earned two conference titles and won a Super Bowl.

Spagnuolo, 58, was first hired by the Giants on Jan. 22, 2007, after an eight-year stint on the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff. With Spagnuolo as the architect of the defense, the Giants that season ranked in the NFL's top 10 in eight statistical categories, including a league-high 53 sacks. Spagnuolo's defense did its best work in the four-game postseason, allowing an average of 16.3 points per game. In the Super Bowl, his schemes and adjustments held the 18-0 New England Patriots – who had league-high averages of 411.3 yards and 36.8 points a game in the regular season – to 274 yards and 14 points.

In 2008, the Giants' defense continued to improve, finishing fifth in yards allowed (292.0 per game), helping the Giants to a 12-4 record and an NFC East title. Despite losing standout defensive ends Michael Strahan (retirement) and Osi Umenyiora (preseason injury), the defense finished ninth in rush defense (95.8 yards-per-game) and eighth in pass defense (196.2), and the Giants' 18.4 points allowed per game placed them fifth in the NFL.

Spagnuolo left the Giants in 2009 to become the head coach in St. Louis, where he inherited a 2-14 team and within two seasons had the Rams within one game of a playoff berth, losing in the final game of the 2010 season to finish 7-9. In 2012, he was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans. Spagnuolo led a unit that finished with 15 interceptions, including four that were returned for touchdowns, and forced 11 fumbles to help the Saints finish with a plus-two turnover differential. In Week 15, the Saints defeated Tampa Bay, 41-0, earning their first shutout victory since 1995.

After leaving New Orleans, Spagnuolo spent two seasons on the coaching staff of the Baltimore Ravens, in 2013 as a senior defensive assistant and the following year as assistant head coach and secondary coach. Baltimore finished the 2014 season ranked eighth in the NFL in yards allowed (336.9 per game) and sixth in points allowed (16.9).

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