Giants Coaching Staff Update: Spags, Merritt Expected to Remain

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo’s assistant coaching staff, which he last week described as “fluid,” is starting to take shape.

According to a report by 97.5 The Fanatic radio station in Philadelphia, the Eagles were denied permission to speak to Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo about their defensive coordinator position under their new head coach. Doug Pederson.

Last week during his introductory press conference, McAdoo didn’t confirm if any of Tom Coughlin’s assistant coaches were staying on when asked directly, but as his press conference went forward he dropped a strong hint about his thinking concerning the direction he wanted to pursue as far as the top defensive coaching spot was concerned.

“Spags and I have had some conversations and, again, the staff is fluid at this point, but we did have some conversations on some things and being the second year in the system is going to help some guys,” McAdoo said.

“It’s going to help them with the foundation being set, it will let them play faster, they’ll be able to anticipate things and install.”

Spagnuolo, whose Giants defense finished dead last I the league, was also affected by injuries across the board, having to operate without Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Jon Beason, Devo Kennard, J.T. Thomas and a true free safety for large chunks of the season.

In other coaching news, offensive line coach Pat Flaherty strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri, and defensive line coach Robert Nunn, will not return under McAdoo.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants offensive line allowed 209 quarterback pressures last season, the seventh-most in the league, finishing with a 75.5 pass blocking efficiency percentage, 24th in the league, despite allowing just 18 quarterback sacks, tying them for 20th in the league with Chicago and Carolina.

Also per Pro Football Focus, rookie first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers finished as the worst offensive player on the Giants, allowing a team-high 69 quarterback pressures/hits in his first season as the team’s long-term left tackle.

Palmieri, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, presided over a team that over the last three seasons had been ranked at or near the top in injuries.

This season, the Giants injury report broke down as having 43 “probable” designations, 29 “questionable” designations, 38 “out” designations 157 “injured reserve” designations and 16 “PUP” designations, according to Pro Football Reference.

Of the “probable” and “questionable” designations, the Giants got 90.7% and 65.5% of those players into the games.

Nunn, whose exit was reported by Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo, is interviewing for the same job with the Titans.

Nunn, the Giants defensive line coach for six seasons, saw his unit’s sack total dip from 47.0 sacks in 2014 to 23.0 in 2015, putting them 30th in the NFL. Defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. led the team in sacks with 10.0 on a unit that, although missing a healthy Jason Pierre-Paul for more than half the season, was unable to generate much of a pass rush all season long.

Safeties coach David Merritt is expected to remain in his current post on McAdoo’s staff, a source confirmed. Merritt was hamstrung this season, having to help expedite the development of rookie second-round draft pick Landon Collins, while also losing several young prospects such as Nat Berhe, Justin Currie, Mykkele Thompson and Bennett Jackson to season-ending juries in the summer.

In other coaching staff news, Alex Marvez of Fox Spots reports that former Rams offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Jr. is in the mix for the Giants’ quarterbacks coaching position, previously held by Mike Sullivan who will reportedly be promoted to offensive coordinator on McAdoo’s staff.

Also, Football Scoop Staff was first to report over the weekend that former 49ers receivers coach Adam Henry will join the Giants in the same role, replacing Sean Ryan, who departed for Houston. Henry coached Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for two seasons at LSU.

Lastly, Larry Izzo, the Giants assistant special teams coordinator for five seasons, joined the Texans’ coaching staff as their new special teams coordinator.


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