Following a disappointing 2015 season, the New York Giants are looking forward to a 2016 campaign fueled by an aggressive off-season. Pulling in defensive talent amounting to over $200 million, Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is licking his lips in response.
“It was like Christmas,” Spagnuolo said. “Jerry (Reese) and his staff, Ken Sternfeld, they did a great job of identifying the guys, then being real aggressive and getting what we think are some pretty good football players. It’s exciting.”
The problem with bringing in new faces is how they can adapt to a new defensive scheme, especially when it is a scheme run by a defensive coordinator that has been in the league for 17 years. To further complicate the problem, to which having new star talent can be considered a problem, these men will be taking over starting positions at key spots.
“It’s a challenge (having new members on a defensive staff),” Spagnuolo said. “Here’s the way I always look at it, though: I think there’s a positive spin on that. I’ve always felt this way, when you bring in new ideas and opinions, I think it’s two-fold: You can gather new ideas about what other people have been doing, and I think we’ve got some great guys here.”
Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, and Damon Harrison will be taking over the starting roles for their respective positions. Now this shakes the cage of the Giants’ defense, which has operated given the personnel they have had during the course of last season. But the arrival of new faces also brings the loss of others.
“We lost some guys, too, so it’s the give and take,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ve kind of been formulating that right now. You go back before free agency and you’re still doing your scheme and you’re evaluating where you’re going to go from here. It’s kind of hard to fully dive into what you’re going to be and what you’re going to install until you know what you have, so that’s starting to take shape now.”
There is no scenario where Spagnuolo would be caught saying he has no faith in a defense that he is in charge of, but his comments are encouraging while still typical. No coordinator would trash his own personnel before the season even starts, but it is encouraging when a coordinator compares his team’s free agency acquisitions to Christmas gifts.
“I’m excited about the guys we got. I’m hoping, certainly, that we can put a better product of the field than we did a year ago. I think that we will. All the pieces coming together—whether it’s players or coaches—is something that we’re excited about.”