The last time Tom Coughlin spoke publicly was the afternoon following the season finale in Minnesota. That was a few hours before Bill Sheridan was fired as defensive coordinator. As such, we've never heard from Coughlin on the decision.
Until today, when he was asked about it by Mike Francesa during an interview on WFAN.
"There’s never one reason and I never put the blame and will point the finger at one individual," Coughlin said of the defensive disappointment of 2009. "Bill Sheridan is a very good football coach. It just didn’t get done and I think that’s the best way to leave it. No one person is responsible ... It just didn’t get done. When that occurs, there’s a lot of time and energy spent in the evaluation process and simply stated, we needed to make a change."
Coughlin touched on a few other topics such as:
The misleading 5-0 start. "There were concerns all along," he said, pointing especially to the rushing yardage allowed in the win at Dallas. "That was an indication to me. Even though we’re 5-0, I didn’t think we’ve been tested. I don’t mean that disrespectfully about anybody. I just mean there were areas of our team that I was concerned with and I didn’t feel we had been tested in those areas. Then as we began to be tested we were having difficulty defending the big play for example."
The collapse in the final two games, particularly against the Panthers in the final game at Giants Stadium. "The thing that befuddles me is to go down to Wasington on Monday night and in the division to win 45-12 down there and then to come home … to come out against Carolina, have Carolina do exactly what we knew they would do … for us not to rise up and battle away when one year ago literally in the same spot at the end of the season we rushed for 300 yards … that was very bothersome to me without a doubt."
The decision to hire Perry Fewell as defensive coordinator. "Perry brings the kind of energy, the enthusiasm, the expertise, the toughness, the format, the ability to make corrections on the field on game day and I'm excited about that," he said. "Perry's the right man for the job at this particular time. He's young, he has great enthusiasm ... When he was a young coach he was like a sponge, he was trying to gain as much information as he could from as many people as he could. He’s very personable and I think his leadership style is what we need."
And the silver lining of the disappointing season. "It’s going to sound goofy, but it’s a good thing because I'm telling you we’re going to look at everything now," he said. "We’re going to take it all apart, we’re going to put it all back together. But it's going to be a total, total analysis."
(Newsday Photo: Conrad Williams Jr.)