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.
“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.
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