No one was taking potshots after former defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn was relieved of his duties. Most of his players had problems with and criticisms of Lynn all season long.
Giants defenders believed that New York's defense was successful in 2002 because Lynn just continued running the schemes already in place courtesy of former coordinator John Fox. However, once Lynn starting tinkering, as he did before last season, things went downhill from there.
"He really just didn't have any idea what he was doing," one player said.
"He was clueless," another added. "He really never knew what he was doing."
Players complained that on countless occasions they didn't even get their defensive calls in time. Lynn would run the calls by one of his assistants before having him signal them to the field, costing the Giants precious seconds.
"He should have just signaled them in to us, but he wasn't sure if they would work or not," a third defender stated. "He had to check with someone else because sometimes he would call for certain defenses that wouldn't coordinate with the personnel on the field. Stuff that just wouldn't work."
The Giants defense suffered because, as one player said, "Jim (Fassel) didn't find out what a mess the defense was until it was much too late."
Lynn's defining moment came late in the season when he was going over defensive responsibilities with the entire defense before the season finale. After spending a decent amount of time thinking he was using the game-plan for Carolina, Lynn was told by one of his veterans that he was actually going over the game-plan for Dallas, the team New York had played the previous week.
"That was it," one player said. "We wasted all that time on the wrong plan, then had to go into that last game pretty much having no idea what we were doing."
As the offseason began, New York made a few minor roster moves. First, Big Blue terminated the contracts of practice squad players WR Ryan Hoag, G Sean O'Connor and DE Radell Lockhart. The only practice squad player to be retained was OL Dion Meredith.
Additionally the Giants signed the following players:
DE Sean Guthrie (Boston College) and QB Ryan Van Dyke (Michigan State), who were both in camp with Big Blue last summer; RB Antwoine Womack, a Virginia product who was last with the Patriots; DT Mario Monds, who played for the Bengals in 2001-02 after attending the University of Cincinnati; and G Travis Scott, who was a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2002 after playing at Arizona State. Scott spent the '02 season on Injured Reserve, then was released in training camp last summer.
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