Fewell: Giants defense a ‘workable challenge’

It didn’t take long for the New York Giants to find a replacement for defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, was fired earlier this month. Ten days after relieving Sheridan of his duties, the Giants hired former Bills defensive coordinator and interim head coach Perry Fewell to fix a once tenacious unit that fell to the league’s 30th-ranked in scoring defense this season.

On Thursday, Fewell spoke with the New York media for the first time, describing his new position as a “workable challenge,” while also reflecting on the events that led to his hiring by Tom Coughlin, under whom he worked in Jacksonville from 1998-2002. Fewell was not granted a second interview with the Bills in their search for a head coach. Former Cowboys head coach Chan Gailey got the job with the Bills on Jan. 19.

“Obviously, your aspirations are to be a head coach, so obviously you are a little disappointed when you are not the guy,” said Fewell.

“When you enter a process like that it is a situation where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Did I think I did a good enough job? If I would have won one more game, then yes, I would have said I did a great job in leading the Bills and I had a winning record. But I won three games and I lost four games, so they thought they needed to make a change and did.”

The Giants defense surrendered 427 points in 2009, only Detroit and St. Louis gave up more. For the first time since 1966, Giants opponents scored more than 40 points five times. Defensive leader Antonio Pierce missed seven games with a serious neck injury, while defensive linemen Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora saw a significant decrease in production. Fewell recognizes the myriad of challenges he faces to get the defense back on track.

“I want to attack. I want to be aggressive in what we do,” Fewell said. “I want our players to play fast and have fun playing the game. Definitely create turnovers; I believe you score on defense. I think you have to be physically tough. We have to play with discipline and we have to play as a team on defense.”

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