After serving as interim head coach for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 — the predecessor to the now-fired Chan Gailey — Perry Fewell became one of the most highly sought after defensive coordinators in the NFL during the 2010 offseason.
Choosing to coach for Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants, Fewell did install a system that revitalized New York’s pass rush. And more improvement was seen when the Giants’ defense ranked 7th and 17th in yards and points allowed, respectively — an improvement over the Bill Sheridan-coached defense that ranked 13th in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed.
Moreover, quarterbacks facing the Giants defense passed for 63 percent completion in 2009 under Sheridan. In contrast, Fewell’s first season saw the Giants allowing a mere 57 percent of passes to be completed. The Giants’ percentage of offensive drives ending with a turnover increased from around 15 percent to 20 percent in Fewell’s first season.
Two years later — plus one Super Bowl title between Fewell’s debut season with New York and the NFL‘s most recent set of sixteen games — and the previously stated Giants defensive coordinator may be entering the 2013 NFL Season on the dreaded hot seat.
Individual defensive performances aside — such as Jason Pierre-Paul’s sharply declined sack total — the Giants enter 2013 with many questions on defense. And if they aren’t answered in the early days of the upcoming NFL season, then Fewell may be let go after the season’s conclusion.
In 2012, the Giants ranked 31st in yards allowed on defense and they ranked 12th in points allowed. Granted, these numbers aren’t as collectively bad as the defensive rankings posted in 2011 — a season where the Giants posted a 25th overall defensive ranking in points allowed and 27th overall ranking in yards allowed. But, the Giants also won the Super Bowl in 2011, which is something that can save a coach’s job — the 2007 incarnation of Coughlin can testify to such a claim.
Moreover, the Giants ended a mere 12 percent of drives with a turnover. This is an oddity considering that New York’s safety, Stevie Brown, ranked second in the league with a total of eight interceptions.
With the 2012 Giants offense ranking in the top half of the league in both yards gained and points scored, it is clear that a large portion of the Giants disappointing season lies on the defense’s inability to stop opponent offenses — quarterbacks playing against the 2012 Big Blue defense had a collective season of: 63 completion percentage, 4,068 yards and 26 touchdowns against 21 interceptions.
Essentially, opposing quarterbacks outpassed Eli Manning and threw for a better completion percentage as a result of an under performing defense. This is something that, in the offensive golden age of the NFL, will lead to 9-7 records and watching the playoffs at home.
In digression, Fewell needs to figure out what has gone wrong during the past two years on his defense. If he doesn’t, then his career in New York could go the way of Steve Spagnulo’s tenure with the St. Louis Rams.
(All statistics credited to pro-football-reference.com)