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GIANTS PROMOTE JIM FASSEL TO OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

The New York Giants on Wednesday named former Patriots coach Rod Rust defensive coordinator and promoted Jim Fassel from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.

Rust replaces Al Groh, who was hired by the Cleveland Browns as a defensive assistant for head coach Bill Belichick.Belichick was Groh's predecessor as the Giants defensive coordinator before taking the Cleveland job last year.

Fassel, as offensive coordinator, takes over some of the duties rookie head coach Ray Handley had last season.

Rust, director of pro scouting for the New England Patriots, was head coach of the Patriots in 1990.

Fassel, a former collegiate and NFL quarterback, joined the Giants in 1991 after five years as head coach at Utah. He previously coached in the World Football League and the USFL.

"I'm delighted," said Rust, defensive coordinator at Stanford University when Handley was a star running back there in the 1960s. "The team's defense has a tradition of playing very good defense, and I will be privileged to work with them."

Last week, Handley fired assistant head coach Ron Erhardt and tight end coach Mike Pope. Erhardt and Pope were two of former head coach Bill Parcells' most trusted assistants.

The changes came after the Giants went from defending Super Bowl champions to an 8-8 team that missed the playoffs. Its defense sputtered throughout the season.

But Wednesday, Rust said it would be "real presumptuous" to discuss plans for the defense.

"I will have to get there and study - get a sense for what Ray is looking for," he said.

Giants spokesman Ed Croke said Fassel would continue to work with quarterbacks in his new role.