Did The New York Giants Waste Steve Spagnuolo’s Second Stint?

The Super Bowl is coming soon and obviously, the New York Giants weren’t one of the teams that came into the playoffs with a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy. However, one of their former coordinators is going to the Super Bowl, and that’s Steve Spagnuolo, who reached the game with the Chiefs. This comes surprisingly soon after the Giants fired Spagnuolo after a poor season which saw him replaced by James Bettcher…

However, obviously, Bettcher’s defense didn’t do much better and Bettcher himself was fired from the Giants along with Pat Shurmur and many of the other staff members that were in charge for the 2019 season. That’s not to say that Spagnuolo’s defense was good in his last season with the Giants, but could the team have made a better decision than replacing him with a risky choice who was immediately revealed to not pan out?

The Giants defense had a number of holes in it and Dave Gettleman’s first couple years have been rebuilding ones, not winning ones. The secondary isn’t good now but it also wasn’t great when Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator, and it didn’t help that run stopping defensive tackle Damon Harrison was traded mid season, taking away much of the production at that position for the Giants.

Long story short, there’s not a lot of defensive coordinators that could have won with the defense that Spagnuolo had in New York and the coordinator that the Giants replaced Spagnuolo with immediately tanked and had less of a track record behind him entirely than Spagnuolo did.

Now, a couple of seasons after being fired from the Giants, Spagnuolo has coached a Chiefs defense that will play in the Super Bowl. Sure, the Chiefs are known primarily for their offense, but it’s still impossible to make the Super Bowl without good defensive performances. Spagnuolo still deserves some credit for the success the Chiefs have had in making the Super Bowl, and his defense may just play a big role in winning the whole thing.

It shows that his firing wasn’t just a matter of lacking talent, which was the cause of the last two head coach firings.

Hindsight is 20/20 though and the Giants had to make changes to try to get out of the spot they were in – but perhaps the firing of Spagnuolo should have been thought out a bit more. Firing the experienced defensive coordinator is one thing, but firing one without having a replacement who is just as good lined up and taking a risk on someone like James Bettcher is another story.

That’s the move the Giants made, though, and so soon enough, they’ll watch their former defensive coordinator coach in the Super Bowl while last season’s coordinator looks for work after an unceremonious final season and firing.

New York Giants: Should The Giants Trade For Chiefs’ Pass Rusher Dee Ford?

Beginning on February 19, NFL teams were officially allowed to apply the franchise and transition tags to impending free agents. The New York Giants have yet to place a tag on safety Landon Collins, but a few other teams have used their tags. The deadline to use the franchise tag is Tuesday, March 5th.

The Kansas City Chiefs officially placed the franchise tag on edge defender Dee Ford on Saturday, March 2nd. However, the Chiefs will be listening to trade offers for Ford. The Chiefs recently made a change in their defensive scheme, which is why they are willing to trade Ford.

Highlights From Dee Ford’s 2018 Season

Dee Ford is a 3-4 edge defender. He is a stand-up outside linebacker that is great at rushing the passer. In 2018, Ford had 13 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 55 tackles. He was Pro Football Focus’s 11th ranked edge defender with an overall grade of 87.7. He even earned PFF’s number 1 ranked pass-rush grade in 2018 with a grade of 91.0.

Why The Giants Might Want To Trade For Dee Ford

With the Giants having the 2nd least total sacks in the league in 2018, Ford could be a big upgrade off the edge. The Giants are reportedly shopping Pro Bowl edge rusher Olivier Vernon. If the Giants do not find a trade partner, they could cut Vernon to free up a large amount of cap space.

Regardless of wether the Giants trade or cut Vernon, they will still have a massive hole to fill at the edge position. Dee Ford could fill that hole.

Olivier Vernon was good in 2018, but has been inconsistent during his entire career with the Giants. In 3 seasons with the Giants, Vernon never reached 10 sacks in a single season. He has only done this once in his career. He had 11.5 sacks with the Dolphins in 2013. Ford has reached 10 sacks twice in his career. He had 13 in 2018 and 10 in 2016.

Former Giants general manager Jerry Reese signed Olivier Vernon to a massive contract back in 2016. Current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman inherited Vernon and his gargantuan contract last offseason. With Vernon not playing up to his contract, it makes sense Gettleman is considering moving on from the veteran.

An interesting scenario that could take place is a Vernon for Ford trade. Olivier Vernon played under the Chiefs’ current defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo when he was with the Giants. Spags helped Vernon have a career-year in 2016. This might lead the Chiefs to have a lot of interest in Vernon.

Vernon could go back to being a 4-3 defensive end for the Chiefs, while Dee Ford could continue his career as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Giants. It would be a high-risk, high-reward trade for both teams. But if Spagnuolo can get the best out of Vernon in Kansas City, and Dee Ford can continue to progress his talents in New York, both teams could walk away from this trade very happy.

Why Dee Ford Is A Risky Player To Trade For

Dee Ford did have PFF’s highest pass-rush grade in 2018, but that grade came out of no where. In Ford’s first four seasons in the NFL, he was nowhere near as good as he was in his fifth season. Dee has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career.

In 2017, Ford dealt with a back injury. This forced him to play in only 6 games and total a measly 2 sacks. It took Ford 5 years to finally hit a real stride, then, once he did, his defensive coordinator was gone. Maybe a change of scenery will bode well for Dee. Or maybe he will regress back to his previous playing talent.

If the Giants trade for Ford, they will be hoping to progress his talents. The Giants have lacked a serious pass-rushing threat for years now. If Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher can figure out a way to elevate Dee Ford’s talents, trading for him could be a brilliant move.

New York Giants: Steve Spagnuolo Finds New Job With Chiefs

One part of the offseason is staff members changing teams, and former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is one of the coaches who will start working with a new organization for the 2019 season. That organization will be the Kansas City Chiefs, which interestingly, has been better than the Giants in recent years and is coming off of a trip to the AFC Championship Game and nearly a run to the Super Bowl.

One would think that a defensive coordinator who was fired from his last job would have a hard time finding work with one of the AFC finalists, but peculiarly enough, Spanuolo is being hired to the same role that he had with the Giants. Spagnuolo replaces Bob Sutton, who spent six seasons with the Chiefs but coached the defense to an AFC Championship Game where they allowed the Patriots to score 37 points and eventually lost.

It wasn’t the first time that the Chiefs allowed a large number of points. The Patriots dropped 40 on them earlier in the season and the Rams managed to score 54, in a matchup that was almost a preview of the Super Bowl, as well as allowing 38 points to the Seahawks around the end of the regular season. With a better defense, the Chiefs could have made it all the way through the AFC playoffs, so it will be interesting to see whether Spagnuolo improves or worsens their play.

Before this job, Spagnuolo served as the interim head coach of the Giants after the firing of Ben McAdoo. The team, however, had already mostly given up at that point and Spagnuolo only achieved one win in that span, something that you can hardly blame on him. Earlier in the season, however, Spagnuolo seemed to do a mediocre job as the defensive coordinator of the Giants, a far cry from the 2016 season where a good defense was one of the things that helped the team into the playoffs.

Even though few disagreed with the decision for the Giants to move on, most Giants fans will wish Spagnuolo luck in the new role. After all, Spagnuolo is one of the remaining key members from a better time, when the Giants were winning the Super Bowl rather than sitting out at playoff time.