Giants fire defensive coordinator Lewis

Despite having been interviewed by Miami Dolphins officials earlier this week for the team's head coach vacancy, New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis was dismissed Thursday in what could be the first of several moves on coach Tom Coughlin's staff.

It had been rumored for the past few weeks that Lewis' position might be in jeopardy. It is believed, in fact, that Lewis' status was a major part of the organizational meetings that took place earlier this week between Coughlin and Giants ownership.

New York statistically ranked No. 25 in total defense in 2006, and the unit -- which suffered through a spate of injuries -- struggled down the stretch, as did the team in general.

Lewis, 45, had been with the Giants since 2004, when Coughlin brought him aboard as part of his first staff in New York. He was, in fact, the first assistant coach hired by Coughlin after accepting the Giants job.

Lewis' departure means the Giants now have dismissed both coordinators who began the 2006 season with the team. Offensive coordinator John Hufnagel was fired before the Giants' final regular-season game. Quarterbacks coach Kevin Gilbride, who called the plays in the regular-season finale and then in the wild-card playoff loss at Philadelphia, likely will take over as offensive coordinator.

It is not yet known where Coughlin, who on Wednesday received a one-year contract extension through the 2008 season, will look for a new defensive coordinator. One possibility is current Miami coordinator Dom Capers, who once served as Coughlin's defensive coordinator in Jacksonville.

Under Lewis, the Giants ranked 13th in total defense in 2004 but then slumped to 24th in 2005 and to 25th for the recently concluded season.

Lewis previously coached in the NFL at Pittsburgh (1995-2003), where he also was the coordinator before joining Coughlin's staff. He was a standout cornerback at the University of Pittsburgh and the Green Bay Packers' first-round choice in the 1983 draft. Lewis played four seasons for the Packers (1983-86) before a neck injury ended his career.

His coaching career in the college ranks included stints at Texas A&M (1987-88), SMU (1989-92) and the University of Pittsburgh (1993-94). He has interviewed four times for NFL head coach vacancies.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.