The New York Giants have re-signed defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after a bounce-back campaign that saw his unit transform from the league's worst to among the best, a source told ESPN on Wednesday.
Spagnuolo returned to the Giants prior to the 2015 season after a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens. His two-year contract ran out after the Super Bowl, but there was little doubt he'd return, as the Giants wanted him back and Spagnuolo wanted an opportunity to build on this past season's success.
The veteran defensive coordinator led the league's 10th-ranked defense this season after finishing last in yards allowed in 2015. The Giants allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL this past season and improved dramatically as the year progressed after receiving a significant injection of talent last offseason.
"He's a guy that didn't panic when things were going wrong and was never overly excited when they were great," said All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison in a text to ESPN. Harrison thrived in his first season with the Giants in Spagnuolo's defense after signing a lucrative free-agent deal last offseason.
"He has this calm about him and assurance that everything would work out for the better defensively, and I think it rubbed off on everybody in our room," Harrison added. "Great coach!"
Spagnuolo, 57, seemingly pushed all the right buttons until the second half of a playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.
He will be entering his seventh season as a defensive coordinator, and his third in two stints with the Giants. His previous tenure with the Giants in 2007-08 produced a Super Bowl win over the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
As teams have shuffled their staffs around the league over the past few weeks -- even the Atlanta Falcons after reaching the Super Bowl -- Giants coach Ben McAdoo is expected to keep most of his staff intact, although they're still working through some things, according to multiple sources. The Giants (11-5) had a five-game improvement in McAdoo's first season and returned to the playoffs for the first time in five years.
That means after weeks of evaluation McAdoo will stick with the same offensive coaches who guided one of the league's lowest-scoring units in 2016. The Giants scored just 19.4 points per game in 2016 after averaging 26.3 the previous year.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride, quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti, running backs coach Craig Johnson, wide receivers coach Adam Henry, offensive line coach Mike Solari, assistant line coach Lunda Wells and offensive assistant Ryan Roeder are expected to return. So is special teams coach Tom Quinn and Spagnuolo's defensive assistants.
McAdoo said he didn't expect any changes after the Giants' 38-13 playoff loss to the Packers in the wild-card round.
"No, it's way too early for that, but I don't anticipate anything," McAdoo said then. "Never say never."
Nothing transpired, and it appears the hope is that bringing the entire coaching staff back for another season should help create continuity as the Giants attempt to build on their success in 2016.