Dec 272006

Updated New York Giants Playoff Chances: If the Giants beat the Redskins on Sunday, they will make the playoffs if any one of the following occur:

  1. Chicago defeats Green Bay
  2. Dallas defeats Detroit
  3. St. Louis defeats Minnesota
  4. At least TWO of the following occur: (a) Carolina defeats New Orleans,
    (b) Houston defeats Cleveland, (c) Tampa Bay defeats Seattle, (d) Indianapolis defeats Miami, (e) Denver defeats San Francisco, or (f) San Diego defeats Arizona

If the Giants do make the playoffs, they will play the winner of the NFC East, either Philadelphia or Dallas, in the first round of the playoffs.

New York Giants Place Strahan, Petitgout, and Morton on Injured Reserve: The Giants have officially placed DE Michael Strahan, LT Luke Petitgout, and HB/Returner Chad Morton on Injured Reserve, ending their seasons.

Strahan re-injured his Lis Franc sprain in his foot against the Saints on Sunday. According to the Giants, the foot may now require surgery. If so, one has to wonder about his availability for the 2007 NFL season. “We don’t know (if Strahan will need surgery),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s going down to be looked at by the doctors and they’ll make that determination, whether there is surgery necessary or not.”

Petitgout fractured a fibula and suffered a high ankle sprain against the Bears on November 5th. The Giants had hoped that Petitgout would be able to return this season, but obviously he has not improved enough for that to be a realistic possibility.

Morton tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against the Saints and he will undergo surgery.

Giants Sign Three to the Active Roster: To fill the vacancies created by placing Strahan, Petitgout, and Morton on Injured Reserve, the Giants have signed TE Darcy Johnson, WR Darius Watts, and FB Robert Douglas to the active roster.

Darcy was on the Giants’ Practice Squad, Douglas was signed from the Texans’ Practice Squad, and Watts is a street free agent.

Practice Squad Moves: The Giants released HB Cedric Humes from the Practice Squad yesterday. The team also signed TE Jason Randall to the Practice Squad.

John Hufnagel Demoted, Kevin Gilbride Now to Call Plays; Front Office Wanted Hufnagel Fired Last Year: In an act that reeks of the last desperate act of a coaching regime in its final days, Head Coach Tom Coughlin has demoted Offensive Coordinator John Hufnagel and promoted Quarterbacks Coach Kevin Gilbride to offensive play caller (but not offensive coordinator). Gilbride served as Coughlin’s play caller (as offensive coordinator) with the Jaguars in 1995 and 1996. Gilbride has also been an offensive coordinator with the Houston Oilers (1990-93), Pittsburgh Steelers (1999-2000), and Buffalo Bills (2002-2003). Hufnagel will continue in an administrative role with the offensive staff.

The New York Post is reporting that the Giants’ front office advised Coughlin to fire Hufnagel after the 2005 NFL season, but Coughlin refused.

“There’s no offensive coordinator,” said Coughlin. “If there would be one, it would be me. Kevin will be the play-caller and he will head the meetings this week.”

“In essence, we’ll have to see how much this is going to change things,” RT Kareem McKenzie said. “It’s not like we have a week or two to look at the differences. They’re not going to change the whole playbook, you know. You just have to go with the flow of things.”

“I gave it a lot of thought and, to be honest with you, John (Hufnagel) did, too,” said Coughlin. “When John came in earlier – we were both in real early on Christmas morning and we sat down and we talked about a lot of things.”

“In order to win this game, whatever we had to do, both of us were at the conclusion whatever we had to do to win this game is what we were going to do,” said Coughlin. “John was man enough to see it exactly the way that it had to be and what my whole intention is, which is to create some kind of spark for the offense…so that we can feed off of this thing and get some kind of spark and play the kind of football that we’re capable of playing here in the 16th game. That’s the whole reason. John Hufnagel is a stand-up guy. He is probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around. I don’t know – and I’m saying this sincerely – I don’t know if he ever sleeps, and I don’t know when. I’m very, very loyal to people who dedicate themselves to seeing things the way that I am, that I see it, and do the things that I ask them to do, and he does. I don’t believe in scapegoats or any of that kind of business, so for you to understand where I’m coming from, this is simply stated: to create some kind of spark with the offense.”

When Coughlin was asked why Gilbride was the best option, he responded, “I think that Kevin and I have worked together before. I’m well aware of the number of opportunities when Kevin has been a play-caller. He does an outstanding job. I just thought that his relationship with the quarterback, since that’s the position he coaches, that the communication would be very strong, and I’m counting on that part of it as well, to be honest with you. The communication between Kevin Gilbride as the quarterback coach and the quarterback as we go through this and so I just thought that this was the best.”

“I think (Gilbride is) an excellent game day coach and, as I said, I’ve been with him when we’ve been very successful and it was, to me, a natural progression,” said Coughlin. “If I wasn’t going to do it or if I was going to do it in some capacity, Kevin would have been very much involved in it anyway. And I like, as I’ve said, the quarterback relationship there is a strong one for me and when, in fact, Kevin was the play-caller in Jacksonville he was the offensive coordinator and he was the quarterback coach.”

“I don’t know what to think about it,” said QB Eli Manning. “It’s just kind of an awkward situation. I kind of feel it’s somewhat my fault. Our offense hasn’t been playing real well. We’ve been doing some decent things. Obviously the Saints game we had our worst performance. I don’t think it had to do with the coaching or the play-calling. It’s just we didn’t execute and we didn’t do anything right. There’s not much we can do. We just have to focus on the game ahead of us and try to figure out a way to get our offense going. It’s not going to (make) a difference who’s calling plays. If we don’t execute as a team and an offense and get things going, it’s not going to make a difference. We have to come around as an offensive group and figure out how to play good football.”

“I think Hufnagel has a good vision,” said Manning. “We’ve been successful in his offense before. Last year we scored a lot of points. This year at times we were able to move the ball and do some good things. We just, for some reason in the last couple of weeks, we haven’t been making the plays that we need to, and we haven’t been finding ways to win games. That’s what it comes down to. If you’re not winning games, things happen and that’s just the way it goes…Obviously Coach Gilbride and I talked, Coach Hufnagel and I talked. What I liked and didn’t like. But still, it’s going to be a matter of execution. We’ve got to find a way to get first downs. We didn’t have enough plays last game to do anything. We didn’t convert on third downs, we had penalties…We’ve got to find a way to have better production and avoid the negative plays.”

Notes and Quotes: LT Bob Whitfield may have lost his job to LG David Diehl, with either Rich Seubert or Grey Ruegamer taking over at left guard. Seubert has been bothered by a shin injury that kept him from playing against the Saints.

From The Daily News, an unidentified Giants’ player on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: “We are tiring of his act. He is pushing too hard. We’re still in full pads for part of practice, despite all the injuries we have and the fact that it’s the end of a long season. He is very ‘me’ oriented, always talks about doing things his way – his hard-ass, no-give approach – but we’re not winning or sustaining games, so the disconnect is widening and we are tuning him out.”

From The Daily News, an unidentified source who has worked with Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis: “I believe, knowing Charlie Weis, he would love the Giants job. I guarantee he would be interested in the Giants job. I think if they pay his price that would be the one job he would definitely jump for. Giants blue runs through him. Given where he grew up and started his coaching career, that would be the pinnacle.”

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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