Perry Fewell has been the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants since he was fired by the Buffalo Bills following the 2009 season. It's been a bumpy road since then for both Fewell and the Giants, but the team has managed a pair of top-10 finishes in yards allowed during the coordinator's four-year tenure.
Now, with the Giants missing the playoffs for the second season in a row, they have to decide who on the staff is going to stay and who is going to be sent packing. It's already clear that Tom Coughlin is going to be the head coach for at least one more season, and Kevin Gilbride has made the team's decision easy by stepping down as offensive coordinator. Should the Giants encourage Fewell to do the same, or should they stick with him for a while longer?
It's not an easy decision, even if you just go by recent results. In 2013, the Giants' defense got off to a poor start with breakdowns against Kansas City and Carolina, but the unit eventually found its footing. A four-game stretch starting in Week 7 versus Minnesota saw the Giants win four games in a row while limiting opponents to less than 12 points per game.
While those results come with the caveat that the opponents were playing with subpar quarterbacks, Fewell's unit did play reasonably well towards the end of the season when dealing with higher octane offenses. The defense held Dallas to 311 total yards in a 24-21 loss before allowing just 327 total yards to Seattle and 355 yards to Detroit. If you believe that the way the Giants played in the final 10 games of the season is a good indication of Fewell's skill as a coach, you'd probably prefer the Giants keep him.
Hopefully that is the case, because despite the Giants posting better overall records in 2012 and 2011, the defense didn't play as well under Fewell in those seasons. The team finished No. 31 in the NFL in total yards allowed in 2012 and No. 27 in 2011. Of course, the way the Giants played defense in the 2011 playoffs and Super Bowl is almost enough to forget the entire rest of the season, but it was still only four games. Just look at how Steve Spagnuolo's career has gone since his Giants' defense looked incredible during the 2007 playoffs.
The NFL, though, is not so concerned about the past. What matters most is how you are playing or coaching lately, and that's why the Giants should try to hold onto Fewell in 2014. The defense may need to be reinforced at defensive end and at cornerback, but right now, Fewell has the unit playing well, and that's all you can ask for as a Giants fan.