Bills vs. Giants: Catching Up With Perry Fewell

When the Buffalo Bills fired head coach Dick Jauron on November 17, 2009, the team replaced him on an interim basis with defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Buffalo finished the '09 season 3-4 with Fewell at the helm, with perhaps his gutsiest decision looking pretty smart in the long run: he made Ryan Fitzpatrick his starting quarterback immediately.

Four days prior to the end of that season - Fewell's last game with Buffalo - the Bills promoted national scout Buddy Nix to the position of General Manager. Then, a day after the Bills' season-ending win over Indianapolis on January 3, 2010, the Bills fired their entire coaching staff - a report the team refuted - but still interviewed Fewell for the permanent coaching position. Fewell always considered himself a longshot for the gig under new management, however, and accepted the New York Giants' defensive coordinator position on January 14, 2010. Five days later, the Bills introduced Chan Gailey as their new head coach.

The Giants are 13-8 since that point in time; the Bills are 8-13. What's the latest on Fewell in New York, you ask?

This past Sunday, the Giants dropped a surprising 36-25 home decision to, of all teams, Seattle. The very next day, this sentiment was expressed by Ed Valentine, who writes SB Nation's Giants blog,

He is supposed to be a defensive mastermind, and his supposedly top-tier defense just got torched for 424 yards by Seattle, which entered the game last in the league with an average of 254 yards per game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 98 yards after getting 141 total in his first four games, and Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst looked like Pro Bowl quarterbacks... I hate to belabor this, but through five games the Giants have yet to put together a consistent, complete defensive performance. Every week there is a leak somewhere, and it never seems to come from the same place.

I also asked Valentine for his general thoughts on Fewell yesterday, and his tone hasn't changed a ton.

"Fewell is a good defensive coordinator," said Valentine. "A good coach - but not anywhere close to being a great one. There was inconsistency in the defense last season, and fans gave him a bit of a pass because he was installing a new system and learning new players. This season, the inconsistency is still there. There are still breakdowns in a veteran secondary. There are still issues with gap responsibility against the run. This is still a defense not playing as well as the talent level on it indicates that it should - regardless of the injuries it has suffered. That has to fall at the feet of the coordinator."

The Giants still finished the 2010 season with the No. 7-ranked defense in the NFL, but through five games this season, they're ranked No. 20 - even though they're still one of the league's elite teams rushing the passer. This weekend, Fewell will get to set up a game plan against an offense orchestrated by the man who beat him out for Buffalo's coaching gig (Gailey) and orchestrated by his hand-picked quarterback during his brief stint as Bills head coach (Fitzpatrick). It'll make for an interesting story to follow on game day this Sunday.

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