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Fewell's job: Make Giants' D respectable again

Former Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is the

Former Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is the leading candidate to take the same position with the Giants, although a source said no decision has been made yet. Credit: Getty Images

Perry Fewell spent the last few days weighing his options. On Thursday, the hot coaching candidate let the Giants know he would become their new defensive coordinator.

"I am ecstatic to come to work for the New York Giants," said the man who replaces Bill Sheridan. "It's a good football team with good defensive players, and it is a franchise known for defense."

Not this last season it wasn't, allowing the second-most points in franchise history and missing the playoffs for the first time in five years. Now it falls to Fewell to restore that tradition of defensive intensity and achievement.

"I want him to be firm, fair, honest and demanding," Tom Coughlin said of Fewell. "My expectation is that he will solidify and unify our defense and be an outstanding teacher. I want energy, enthusiasm, toughness and to make the necessary corrections and game adjustments."

It was Coughlin who gave Fewell his first job in the NFL, hiring him in 1998 as a secondary coach in Jacksonville. Coughlin recalled a young coach who was thorough, worked well with players and was willing to learn.

Fewell said of his experience under Coughlin: "I was a young coach, and he helped develop my philosophy of the game, the discipline, the know-how, the toughness that it takes and the attention to detail. Being prepared. That is what he instilled."

Fewell, 47, was the Bills' defensive coordinator the last four years and stepped in as interim head coach this fall when Dick Jauron was fired. He interviewed for the head-coaching job in Buffalo and also was a candidate for the defensive coordinator job with the Bears. Many observers expected him to land in Chicago based on a close relationship with Lovie Smith. Ultimately, though, Fewell decided to take the Giants' offer.

Fewell has a background in the Tampa-2 defense and also has coached a 3-4 scheme. The Giants' roster, as it stands now, is not suited for either of those schemes. It is not clear if the coach or the players will have to change to accommodate the other.

One thing that won't change is Fewell's intensity and style. "Disciplined, attacking, aggressive, 11 hats to the football," he said in describing it.

It's especially true in the secondary. The Bills had 28 interceptions, second in the NFL behind the Packers (30). They allowed 14 touchdown passes during the season.

The Giants had only 13 interceptions and allowed 31 touchdown passes in 2009.

Fewell also worked with the Bears' secondary in 2005 when that team led the NFC with 24 interceptions and cornerback Nathan Vasher and safety Mike Brown were selected to the Pro Bowl.

Said Coughlin: "His defenses have consistently done a good job taking the ball away."

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