Jan 082014
 
 January 8, 2014  Posted by  News and Notes
Eli Manning and Kevin Gilbride, New York Giants (September 8, 2013)

Eli Manning and Kevin Gilbride – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Kevin Gilbride Speaks Out: Kevin Gilbride, the much-criticized offensive coordinator of the New York Giants who retired last Thursday, was interviewed on Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Gilbride made the following comments:

  • On Eli Manning: “(The state of the offensive line)  just made it impossible for our quarterback to function. (Manning is) a guy where if you give him enough time, he’s always going to be throwing the ball to the right person. He’s going to know what you’re doing defensively. He’s going to see through your disguises. He’s going to be an accurate passer. But he’s not a scrambler, and you’ve got to give him some help. And if you give him some help he’s proven that he can win a championship for you…I think more than anything, when you’re behind he is not one of those guys that is (concerned about interceptions)… He’s going to try to win the game. If you’re down by two scores at the end of the game, he’s going to throw it up and he’ll force it because he’s going to try to give his team a chance. And if it happens to be picked off and that ends the opportunity and it reflects poorly on him, to be quite candid he could care less. He’s just going to do whatever he thinks he has to do to give his team a chance to win. So because we were behind, we started the season 0-6, there were a number of situations at the end of a game where those scenarios arose and we certainly incurred our fair share of turnovers in that regard. But I think if you do solidify the line, I believe he is an accurate passer, he is going to throw it to the right person. But everybody’s got to do their job and give him an opportunity to do his and he will do it very well.”
  • On how the personnel issues forced the Giants to adapt their offense: “In general, I think philosophically we just modified substantially what we normally do. We’ve been a dynamic, explosive, throw the ball down the field, let your guys go to a lot of vertical read type of stretch principals, and we had to abandon those. Those are the things that we’d done very well and allowed us to be in the top 10 offensively for a long time. You can’t do it because your quarterback would be on his back while you waited for those things to happen. You became much more conservative, much more three-step oriented, which was good for a while, but people, they’re smart on that (defensive) side of the ball and they identify fairly quickly what your weaknesses are and they realize what your adjustments have been, so they take those things away. When we had to expand what we wanted to do, that’s when our shortcomings manifested themselves.”
  • On the wide receivers: “Victor Cruz still played very well on the inside for us, but it became readily apparent to defenses that we weren’t playing as well with the outside receiver position. That became an area that people just, they had no reservation about lining up just bump and run and getting an extra guy into the box, making it more difficult and challenging to run and forcing you to throw the ball vertically a little bit. You try to throw some three-step fades and fade stops, but they’re sitting on those things. I think if the Giants can get the wideout position straightened out – the outside position, not the inside because between Victor Cruz and the emergence of Jerrel Jernigan at the end, that will help.”
  • On the tight ends: ”Well I think there’s no question they’re going to bring in some people. There are some young guys – the Larry Donnells and Adrien Robinsons that have some size and look to be enough physical ability to get open and catch the ball – but they are raw, young players and need a lot of growth and development. So I think it wouldn’t surprise me if they bring in a veteran tight end that can come in and play that position. We didn’t get the production that we’ve had the last few years out of that spot…When they started doubling Victor Cruz, which they did from the second game on every time it was an obvious passing down, you needed somebody else to win. And when you weren’t winning outside you hoped your tight end would do it. Now Brandon Myers did a terrific job for us when they played zone coverages and he’d find the soft spot and make the tough catches, but I think they’re going to look for a bigger, faster guy. You know, he’d be a great No. 2, but I think they’re looking for somebody that can be a solid starter at that position. It remains to be seen if those young guys will mature fast enough to give them the confidence to play with them in a starting role.”
  • On the running backs: “There’s no question they’re gonna have to get a running back that can be the bell cow. I think we had hoped Andre Brown could be that person but he didn’t come back until about the 9th game, 10th game. It looked like he was gonna be that guy the first couple of games and then he was slowed by injury.”
  • On the offensive line: “We had been concerned about depth in the offensive line for a while now. That group has aged…I would say the offensive line first and foremost has to be addressed. I think Justin Pugh advanced and grew outside as a starter at the right tackle position, but they need another significant upgrade in the o-line and certainly some added depth.”
  • On left tackle Will Beatty: “We made the gamble that William Beatty would be the guy and he had played very well last year. And this year he did not have as good a year. He was much more inconsistent than he had been the year before. He was slowed by some problems, and then of course he finished the year with a significant knee injury, so that remains to be seen how he recovers from that. Now I think there’s no question that he has the physical skills to play the left tackle position. He has the skill set to match up speed wise with anybody. I just think he’s got to demonstrate again the commitment and the toughness that you have to have on a play-in and play-out basis. But there’s no question in my mind he has the physical talent. It’s just a matter of making his consistency be at the level that it needs to be, because some games he played well and then some games we certainly had our problems.”
  • On Mike Sullivan possibly replacing him as offensive coordinator: ”He’s a bright individual and he grew very quickly and developed a nice rapport in the quarterback room with the quarterbacks, most notably Eli, of course. Then he had a chance to go down and get his feet wet in Tampa Bay. The first year they did a terrific job. This year they struggled. I’m sure without knowing full well what took place down there I’m sure there were extenuating circumstances which caused the fall-off. But he’s a good coach, a good person, he knows the people here, he knows the system, that’s what he’s grown up in, so I think he would be a natural, seamless transition if they chose to go in that direction. To be totally candid with you I have no idea what their thinking is, but he certainly would be a good choice.”

Victor Cruz Speaks Out: Wide receiver Victor Cruz spoke to the press on Wednesday at a promotion event for XBox. Cruz made the following comments:

  • On Mike Sullivan possibly being the Giants’ next offensive coordinator:  ”I’m rooting for him. I could see (some arguging for a new system) but, you know, I think it’s just his familiarity with our personnel, with our offense, the one we had. Obviously, he’s running a similar offense with Tampa Bay but I’m sure he’ll have some tweaks here or there. I just think we need a refresher, I think, more so than people needing a whole big name. A refreshing face that we know, one we’re all comfortable with, and we can go from there.”
  • On Kevin Gilbride’s point that the outside receivers did not perform well: ”You would see it. You would see, whether it was Rueben (Randle), whether it was Hakeem (Nicks), this isn’t pointing the finger at anyone, but the play that we got from the outside wasn’t what we’re accustomed to having. We’re accustomed to having Hakeem be an outside threat with a 1,000-yard season that he’s done in the past and Rueben being himself on the outside although he did have six touchdowns this year which is very much improved from the year before. But that consistency wasn’t there from the outside position. You could definitely feel it throughout the season, you could see it from game to game that our productivity wasn’t there from the outside position.”
  • On the on-field relationship between Eli Manning and his receivers: ”You never know with Eli, he just keeps an even keel the whole way. But sometimes when you have those passes that you throw up and typically they’re caught for big plays and when that doesn’t happen naturally you tend to throw it differently or go to a different read or go somewhere else with the ball. That would happen naturally. I mean, if I was quarterback that would happen to me, so I’d imagine it would happen to Eli as well. That’s definitely natural.”
  • On Cruz and Nicks missing so much offseason work last year: ”Honestly, I thought we’d go in and we’d pick it up right where we left off, especially with guys who have been around and done it before like myself and Hakeem and Rueben. I thought we would come in and pick it right up. It goes to show you that it takes a lot more than just that. You have to build a lot more continuity, you have to build a lot more trust mentally with your quarterback. I think it’s important. For a quarterback like Eli, for receivers like myself and guys like Hakeem and Rueben and Jerrel, you have to have that continuity, that consistency together over a period of time that’s going to continue to instill trust in Eli and us. The more comfortable Eli is with his receivers, where they’re going to be, their knowledge of the offense, their route running, how he sees how you run specific routes so he knows how to get you the ball, I think that’s huge in our minds to remain comfortable and for Eli to continue to trust us. It played a little bit of a part. In this league when you’re a veteran and you’ve been in the league that long, it shouldn’t take long for you to catch up, it shouldn’t take long for you to adjust. We’re not first-year, second-year players. Me and Hakeem are four-year, five-year guys, so we understood exactly how to come in and pick it up and be on the same page rather quickly. But I think it did play a little bit of a part in our continuity early on and throughout the length of the season.”
  • On if Nicks leaves the Giants: “He’s obviously been a big piece for us in the last years that he’s been with us. But I think we definitely always have the talent in our receiving room to be successful. I think that’s just a testament to how we drafted and how we got players to fit the mold to our offense. I think we can definitely be able to be successful if Hakeem has to move on. It’s something that we’re going to have to look at. And we hope not, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Chris Snee Says He Might Not Be Done Yet: Right guard Chris Snee told The New York Post on Tuesday that he might not be ready to retire. Snee has been troubled with significant elbow and hip issues the past three seasons. He was placed on Injured Reserve in early October with a torn labrum in his right hip that required surgery. The Post is reporting he also underwent elbow surgery in November. Snee’s 2014 cap value is roughly $11.75 million.

“Right now, my mind-set is getting my body 100 percent and we’ll see from there,” said Snee. “I love the game, I love everything about it. I missed it during the fall, but there’s a lot of factors that go into making a decision. One, we’ll see if I’m wanted and we’ll go from there…I’m recovering well. It’s been a long road. Two surgeries is not something I want to do, particularly during the season. It’s been a difficult fall, winter, but the worst is behind me and I feel really good.”

Snee also commented on the possibility of Mike Sullivan becoming the Giants’ new offensive coordinator. “He’s a fun guy to be around,” Snee said. “He’s a well-liked man and well-respected man.”

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Position: Advice for Giants’ next offensive coordinator by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning can learn from Philip Rivers’ transition to new offense with Chargers by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on CB Terrell Thomas: Wherever Terrell Thomas lands in 2014, he expects to be even better by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

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Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season.

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