Jul 24, 2014; Owings Mills, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens secondary/assistant head coach Steve Spagnuolo speaks with the defensive backs during practice at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
2. Steve Spagnuolo
Personally, I think there’s been a little too much hype revolving around Steve Spagnuolo’s return this year. He was nothing short of amazing with New York in his first stint, but he ran some pretty brutal defenses once he left town, and in my mind, really lost some credibility.
I say all of this, but of course I pick the Jim Johnson-disciple to be one of the X-factors in the Giants’ potential success this year.
I’m not all that impressed with the Giants defensive roster this season. Then again, who was before the 2007 season began? Not to be too critical of fans, but I do think some people like to re-write history when they think of Spagnuolo’s first turn with the Giants. Michael Strahan was coming off a bad foot injury that year, and Justin Tuck had just one career sack in his first two seasons before breaking out under Spagnuolo. And speaking of safety trouble–remember who was starting at safety for the Giants in ’07? James Butler and Gibril Wilson ring any bells?
Spags runs a good scheme, but he’s aggressive, and he needs aggressive, physical personnel to match his scheme and make things work. This is where I have confidence, because I think the Giants have this. Jonathan Hankins, Damontre Moore, and Owa Odighizuwa are all high-motor, high-ceiling players, and they got a lot more physical in the back end adding Stevie Brown and Brandon Meriweather, even if they aren’t the most talented safeties.
I don’t think the Giants have great talent, and I think Spagnuolo has some left to prove, but I think what they have works. It’s a good match, and I think the defense has the potential to actually, surprisingly, gel nicely.
Next: 3. Eli Manning