"I'm very happy for Steve," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He did a great job in his two years with the Giants. We've been very, very aggressive on defense and we've been able to have two very successful years back-to-back. Steve has made an outstanding contribution to our team and we wish Steve and Maria all the best."
Spagnuolo interviewed for four head coaching jobs since the conclusion of the regular season, so the players and coaches knew he would likely leave to run his own program.
"Obviously, it's a great opportunity for him," said All-Pro defensive end Justin Tuck. "We are happy for him. He has done a lot for this organization in his short time here. Winning a Super Bowl in your first year as defensive coordinator is pretty impressive. I really think he has the skills necessary to be a successful head coach. He's a hard worker and he quickly gained the respect of all his players. We wish him all the best."
This season, the Giants' defense ranked fifth in the NFL, allowing only 292.0 yards a game. It was the unit's highest ranking and the fewest yards allowed since 2000, when the opponents of the NFC champions gained 281.4 yards per game. The Giants were ninth in the league in rushing defense (95.8 yards) and eighth against the pass (196.2). They were fifth in scoring defense, allowing 18.4 points a game.
"I think Coach Spags is going to be very successful as a head coach," said cornerback Corey Webster, who blossomed in Spagnuolo's system. "You could see when=2 0he first came in here, early on, that he is a stand-up guy. We all had to earn his trust, but once we did, we began to play the aggressive style defense we all love to play. He is an aggressive coach by nature and that's what makes him fun to play for. Spags did a great job here, but we have great players and coaches who contributed to that and who will look to continue the success."
While Coughlin would not say how he planned to fill Spagnuolo's vacancy, TGI's somewhat educated guesses as candidates to replace Spagnuolo are former Browns coach Romeo Crennel and Giants LBs coach Bill Sheridan. Obviously Crennel has Giants roots, while Sheridan would be the strong favorite if Big Blue opts to promote from within.
For all the up-to-date news on who will serve as New York's new defensive coordinator, please continue to check out thegiantinsider.com.
Also, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride officially interviewed for the vacant Oakland post last week, and assistant offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has been hired by Miami to run the Dolphins offensive line.
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