Lynn nabs defensive coordinator post

The Giants hired Johnnie Lynn, the team's secondary coach the last five seasons, as their new defensive coordinator on Thursday. New York's former defensive coordinator, John Fox, was named head coach of the Carolina Panthers on Jan. 25.

"I created the best competition that I could and I came back to Johnnie," Jim Fassel said. "I felt in the beginning that that would be the case. But I was going to be diligent and research everybody I possibly could."

Lynn was one of seven men interviewed for the post by the Giants, including Wade Phillips, Vince Tobin, John Pease and New York's three defensive assistants - Denny Marcin, Tom Olivadotti and Dave Brazil.

"I have a lot of confidence in Johnnie," Fassel said. "He's done a tremendous job since he's been here and he's ready to take the next step. I've watched Johnnie work hard for five years. He's a bright coach; he's very energetic, very loyal and hard-working."

Lynn was part of Fassel's original Giants staff in 1997. "I've been a secondary coach for a little while now and now I'm ready for a little more responsibility," said Lynn, who signed a two-year deal. "I'm excited about the challenge and I'm excited about this defense. I know we can play better than we did last year. I want to get this defense back to where we were two years ago. "

The (defensive) system is going to stay the same. I think there's a difference in philosophy between John (Fox) and myself because we're different people. Our philosophies are close, but the way we carry ourselves is different. John is John and he did a tremendous job. Johnnie is Johnnie. I'm a different person the way I relate to people. I think that's going to be the change. But the defense will stay intact and we're going to do things better."

Lynn said that the defensive packages will remain the same, but will be streamlined to maximize preparation time. He also added that Jason Sehorn would remain a cornerback unless, "Jim Fassel says to switch him to safety." Lynn's former boss, Fox, is confident in his successor. "I think that Johnnie will do an outstanding job," Fox said. "He's been involved in that system with those players for five years and I think that his promotion will bring great continuity. He's familiar with those players and they are familiar with him. He's got good leadership ability and he'll do real well."

Before joining the Giants, Lynn spent the 1996 season coaching the San Francisco 49ers defensive backs. He served in the same capacity for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994 and 1995. Lynn spent seven seasons coaching in the collegiate ranks at the University of Arizona, beginning as a graduate assistant in 1987 before coaching the outside linebackers (1988-91) and defensive backs (1992-93). During his playing days, Lynn was a standout defensive back as a cornerback and safety in the NFL for eight seasons with the New York Jets (1979-86) following his fourth-round selection out of UCLA. Lynn, 45, and his wife, Laurie, are the parents of three children: Ashley, Chazz and Cameron. The Giants are expected to hire Lynn's replacement as DBs coach on Friday.

* On Thursday, the Giants also announced the eight players that they will allocate to NFL Europe this spring. They are: LB Jody Littleton, LB Josh Stamer, DE Matt Layow, OT Andy Stensrud, QB Darnell Dinkins, S DeJuan Gossett, P Gabe Lindstrom and K Matt Bryant.

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