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Retired Giants OC Kevin Gilbride: Poor Offensive Line Made It “Impossible” for Eli Manning to Function

January 8th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Billy Javed

After arguably one of the worst offensive seasons in recent New York Giants history, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride opted to retire. Some have rejoiced upon hearing the news, while others celebrated his two Super Bowl rings with the Giants. With no contractual ties to the organization, Gilbride is now free to speak honestly about his worst season as an offensive coordinator.

In an interview with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Gilbride pointed the finger at the offensive line as the root cause of the offensive issues in 2013.

“I would say the offensive line, first and foremost, has to be addressed,” Gilbride said. “I think they need another significant upgrade in the O-line and certainly some added depth.”

In a season where Eli Manning was sacked a career-high 39 times and posted the worst passer rating of his career at just 69.4, it would make sense that a two time Super Bowl MVP wouldn’t just forget how to play at a high level, but that there were other variables influencing the struggles of the offense. Struggles rooted in the trenches, where the offensive line simply could not compete at a consistently competent level as a whole.

“It just made it impossible for our quarterback to function,” Gilbride added. “[Manning]’s 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.”

Gilbride also noted that the offense was flexible and played with various schemes and approaches to somehow get the offense to move the football down the field, but ultimately the line was never able to hold up or provide a push consistently if at all.

“I think philosophically, we modified substantially what we normally do,” Gilbride said. “We’ve been kind of a dynamic, explosive, throw-the-ball-down-the-field offense, let your guys do a lot of vertical read-type of stretch principles and we had to abandon those. Those are the things that we’ve done very well that allowed us to be in the top ten offensively for a long time. You can’t do it because your quarterback would be on his back while you’re waiting for those things to happen.

“So we became much more conservative, much more three-strep oriented – which was good for a while, but they’re smart on that side of the ball and they identified fairly quickly what your weaknesses are, and they realized what your adjustments had been, so they take those things away. And when we had to expand what we wanted to do that’s when our shortcomings manifested themselves. But between going to a lot more three-step passes, moving the pocket, play-action where we didn’t just go to our traditional drop back five steps, seven-step drop back, that was probably the main modifications that we made.”

If it wasn’t clear already, Kevin Gilbride came out and pretty much said it; the Giants offensive line was atrocious. And while Gilbride looks to be deflecting some responsibility, he isn’t exactly wrong. The Giants can only go so far as their offensive line can take them. There isn’t a scheme in the world that can work if the running backs cant find a hole, and the quarterback has no time to throw the football. Look for the Giants to thoroughly address the issue in the offseason.

Photo credit: Mike Morbeck / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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Tags: Bill Polian, Eli Manning, Football, Kevin Gilbride, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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7 Responses to “Retired Giants OC Kevin Gilbride: Poor Offensive Line Made It “Impossible” for Eli Manning to Function”

  1.  Krow says:

    There’s no magic scheme that can befuddle defenses for the long term. KG’s right. But what’s also true is that he’s partly to blame for the OL being a disaster. He should have seen this coming … he should have been raising the red flag.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    When idiots like kujo and me have been warning about the offensive line for 4-5 years and advocating using higher draft picks to fix it, when someone like me has been writing about how you have to build a team from the “core” (which is the O-line, the D-line and the QB) out for nine years, and then it wasn’t done by the Giants then EVERYONE in that organization is guilty of dereliction of duty, certainly including Gilbride but running through the entire staff, the front office, the owner, and Eli (who should have seen this coming and raised a stink about it).

    What was Coughlin doing? What use is Pat Flaherty if he can’t convince Reese that he needs better players to coach (or, worse, didn’t recognize that what he had was horrible)? How does a smart guy like Reese convince himself of something many fans aren’t buying? Why did John Mara wait to demand they do something until the failing became so obvious that everyone in the universe recognized it?

    There is absolutely NO excuse for what they allowed to happen. So when they all do their grading for the season they should start by giving themselves an F and stop trying to deflect the blame to others. Some of the players didn’t have good seasons, but until I hear Tom Coughlin and others say straight up that THEY failed, I don’t intend to take them too seriously when they start hinting at the failures of players. So, for example, I think Coughlin hardly covers himself in glory when he starts making statements questioning Hakeem Nicks. Sure, Nicks was hurt and then was protecting himself. But maybe he was doing so because the people on the field on offense knew in their hearts that this just wasn’t going to work so agendas other than “team” crept into their consciousness. I don’t like that, or condone it, but I understand it. I’ve liked Tom Coughlin and admired him. But I must say that since the season ended my respect for him has dropped a bit. Like Gilbride, he seems to be deflecting criticism instead of manning up and admitting that HE was a big part of the problem. He is the second most powerful person in the Giants organization. When it turned out they had no offensive line that is HIS fault as much as anyone’s. I have no problem with Gilbride having been “retired”. But I’ll have a big problem with any talk of extension for Coughlin. He should be on a year-to-year basis for the rest of his time here. And another season like this one should certainly be his last. He should know that as he sifts through the choices of offensive coordinators. I’m not impressed by what I’m hearing so far.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      It’s a combination of injuries and drafted players not performing. Yes Diehl, Bass and Snee are all old and had some injury issues in recent years but 2 of the 3 ending up on IR after only a few games is not something that could be forecasted. Beatty falling off a cliff with his play was also not something I think could have been expected.

      To me what is the fault of JR is the backup interior combo of Boothe, Cordle, Brewer and Mosley. The fact they couldn’t do a better job filling in is on JR. In addition, the loss of Bennett’s blocking at TE wasn’t replaced. I understand that Robinson being injured really hurt but there also should have been a better replacement than Myers. By signing a player like him we really were putting a lot of eggs in the Robinson basket is becoming a quality blocker.

      So I think it was bad luck and bad players. That being said I don’t think it means players like Beatty, Mosley and Brewer and be party of the solution to the 2014 turn around to this unit. Really the biggest job in the offseason is to fix Beatty. He was never a great run blocking LT but he was a high level pass blocking LT. For him to drop so much in one year is something that has to get fixed. Some of it is improving the players around him. Improving the interior and allowing Eli to step up will help a lot. But Beatty also has to improve his play. I know many have given up on him but a LT that pass blocked on the level he did in 2012 is not easy to find and worth the contract he received. It makes much more sense IMO to try to fix than to try to develop another one. We got by with Diehl at LT for years because we had quality interior pass blocking. Fixing the interior will solve a lot.

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    It’s a little frightening for me but lately I agree with just about everything Kujo has said. I can’t beleive that people can’t see that all the terms he listed are subjective. Just because we all can agree on a player like Calvin Johnson doesn’t make it any less subjective.

    On a random note for as good as Haden is suppose to be I saw him get burned several times this year on key 4th quarter type of players. I’m not going to act like I see all of their games but he seems to a little overrated from what I have seen from him.

    And to further illustrate just how subjective these things are. By Nosh’s example about Calvin Johnson isn’t Prince a shut down CB?

    Fells does have a chance to make the team but if he does it’s a problem because it means guys like Robinson and Donnell didn’t develop. Fells is a JAG and should make the team but that doesn’t mean he won’t.

  4.  Dirt says:

    I’m gonna go take a dump on my boss’s desk in a few minutes. And when my **** is sent packing, I’m going to tell my friends and family that I retired.

    That’s effectively what’s happened here.

    Curiously, the longest run from scrimmage came this year from Jernigan, a WR, in Week 17. Coincidentally, that WR handoff was the first of the year. So, yeah, he definitely tried everything before it was too late.

  5.  WellingtonsGhost says:

    This is type of deflection move by Killdrive is exactly the reason he had to go. He is a weak leader and inspires no confidence. He is a smug boob who thinks he is smarter than everyone around him.

    The second Philly game was the only one in which I saw our offense completely commit to the small ball game. Slants, curls, etc. That should have been our gameplan after the Denver game and for the rest of the season. If they start sitting on the slant, then slugo.

    Real class act Gilbride. Retire and then the next week go on a talk show to shift the blame. Wonder if he would have liked Eli doing that to him in postgame pressers? Leaders take the blame and lead the way especially when the going gets tough. Good riddance to you KILLDRIVE.

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