Steve Spagnuolo Lets His Players Self-Critique Their Game Film

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New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has a good sense of humor, and a charming and thick Boston accent that makes him enjoyable to listen to.

All those traits aside, Spagnuolo this week figured that his struggling defensive unit probably had heard enough from him regarding the mistakes they keep making that have cost them games.

That’s why he decided to have his players break down the film from their game Sunday against the Bucs, to let them see things for themselves without Spagnuolo pointing it out.

“It’s not a bad idea to change it up once in a while,” he said Thursday. “They get sick of me talking–I’d get sick of me talking. I mean, look it, that’s human nature, right? The same person telling you over and over. So, I think sometimes it’s good to change it up.”

The important thing wasn’t what I saw or what I was willing to do. It was what they saw and what they were willing to do and the only way I knew whether we were on the same page or not was to let them run it and hear what they said. It was a great meeting and I think we got a lot out of it.”

Spagnuolo, who is desperate to find a Giants defensive unit that is currently ranked 25th overall in average yards surrendered per game, 23rd in scoring (23.8 points per game) and 28th against the run (142.8 yards per game)–all areas where the unit was a top 10 or higher ranked unit last year–said the exercise was productive.

“It was great. I wasn’t that surprised because I know we have those kinds of men,” he said. “I know that they see things exactly like I do, which is a good thing. I took it as a positive.”

So did his players.

“I think a whole lot of good, man,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “We came in, we watched the tape, the coaches were in the room. A guy like me, I already know my mistakes. When I come in, I already know what mistakes I did and what needs to be corrected. So he just let the film run and all the guys were just talking.”

“It’s just a good opportunity to see what other guys are thinking and being able to hold yourself accountable – to stand up and tell your teammates, ‘I messed up on this play or I could have done something better on this play.’ That means the world,” said defensive tackle Damon Harrison.

“We all can see the mistakes,” he added. “It’s just different if somebody can actually tell you, ‘Look, I know what I did wrong on this play.’ So, it’s better than having Spags go up there and say one thing.”

“It’s disappointing when you lose four straight games,” added defensive end Olivier Vernon. “That’s not what you ever want to do, but seeing the game film from the past several weeks is just something that we can fix and that’s the part that just guys are seeing and it can be a little frustrating at times, but it’s just being able to bounce back and play Giant football. So, that’s basically what we’re going to do.”

The bottom line though is that the Giants players have to take what they learned and apply it to their game Sunday against the Chargers.

“I hope it pays off,” Spagnuolo said. “We don’t know that. Still have to show up on Sunday and play.”