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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Perry Fewell, Kevin Gilbride should be in the mix for NFL coaching jobs

Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell cheers an interception at

Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell cheers an interception at the second day of Giants rookie camp. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

It isn't even November, and already the list of NFL coaches on the hot seat keeps growing. From Norv Turner in San Diego to Romeo Crennel in Kansas City to Ron Rivera in Carolina, coaches failing to meet expectations soon could find themselves out of work.

But the likelihood of several coaching changes means potential opportunities for two Giants assistants who could -- and should -- be in the mix as replacements. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell have top-notch resumes and deserve a chance at head-coaching jobs.

They both are motivated.

For Gilbride, it would be a second chance at a top job. He signed a five-year deal as head coach of the Chargers in 1997 but was caught up in the Ryan Leaf debacle the following year and was fired after only 22 games.

Fewell served as the Bills' interim head coach for seven games after Dick Jauron was fired in 2009 before rejoining Tom Coughlin, under whom he had worked in Jacksonville, in 2010.

"I've been fortunate to have had one opportunity,'' Gilbride told Newsday. "It was a short-lived one because of some extenuating circumstances, but you hope that your body of work reflects positively enough that the people who make those decisions will look favorably upon you as a candidate. At this time of the season, you're so swamped with whatever you're doing to make sure your team wins and you don't think about those things. But hopefully at the appropriate time, we'll have done well enough that people would say this is somebody we'd like to look into and hopefully someone will make that selection."

Gilbride wasn't given the time to develop Leaf, who turned out to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history, but he has been a key Coughlin lieutenant in Jacksonville and with the Giants, and his work with Eli Manning has been a major factor in the Giants' two Super Bowl championships after the 2007 and 2011 seasons.

Gilbride, 61, admits it's been frustrating to be overlooked during previous head-coaching hiring cycles.

"It's hard to figure," he said. "If you're not careful, you can get embittered or disappointed. But if it's the right situation, that's most important. If the opportunity does present itself, you hope it's with an organization that is eagerly embracing what you do and what your approach is, which would be similar to what we do here with the Giants."

Fewell, 50, said the interim head-coaching experience served him well and that he's looking forward to one day getting a head-coaching job. He helped turn around an underachieving Giants defense in 2010 and won his first Super Bowl title last season.

"It was a tremendous experience," Fewell said. "I think that helped me more as a coordinator because I learned more about personnel, how to use personnel. I learned more about the game itself and the management of a team, touching all aspects. Sometimes when you're just a coordinator, you isolate yourself to your group. When you're the head coach, you have to touch all groups."

Fewell said he has learned from all the head coaches he has worked with over the years. "You take your notes, you learn from your experiences, including my first five years with Tom [Coughlin] in Jacksonville," he said. "I learned a great deal from Mike Martz [in St. Louis], Lovie Smith [in Chicago], Dick Jauron.

"I've kept notes over the years of the good, the bad, so having the opportunity to come back and work with Tom has given me even more of an appreciation for what you do, how you conduct yourself, how you conduct the team. Whether you reach that pinnacle or not, the good Lord has a plan for everybody. If you happen to reach that pinnacle, you hope you're ready."