Today we list 14 reasons why Kevin Gilbride should be replaced next season.
Along with Gilbride, other Giants coaches who we believe should be replaced include Tom Quinn and Jerry Palmieri. Commenters on this NY Giants blog have alluded to the failures of Sean Ryan (QB) and Kevin M. Gilbride (WR); we suspect that they too need to be moved or replaced but would leave that to the new offensive coordinator to decide.
The mainstream media is rolling out the props to support the Giants, Tom Coughlin, and his coaching staff for a return to the team in 2014. The logic of this line of reasoning is that Coughlin's staff has not had a losing season until 2013, so they deserve the opportunity to come back. The bloggers and commenters on this site have countered this thinking with our observations and arguments for the failings of many of the coaches. We contend that it's not until the tide goes out that you discover who is swimming naked. This year's failures are sourced from the erosion of play in the OL. But Gilbride has been unable to address problems with solutions.
This weekend finishes the 2013 football campaign. Before the Giants make their decision on coaching personnel, we want to share the reasons why it makes sense to part ways with Kevin Gilbride. We are not a band of kneejerk fans that want change just because the team has not done well this year. It has been our contention that the Giants win despite Gilbride. And when the Giants lose, Gilbride's weaknesses exacerbate the problems.
In no particular order we summarize the many failings of the Offensive Coordinator with this list:
1) Does not make intragame adjustments. Read this link as but one example. Whenever you allow your QB to get sacked 8 times in a single game, it is negligence. And if you want to argue that we are citing a game from 2008, read the story and then remember the SAME exact thing happened THIS SEASON in 2013 in Week 3 vs Carolina! 7 sacks... HE NEVER LEARNS! Yes, Russ, I have been laying off Gilbride, if only because I have been railing against him for years and am tired of saying the same things over and over.
2) Does not make intergame adjustments. It took how many weeks this season before Gilbride started scheming and playcalling to adapt to the fact that he had no pass protection? I remember listening to the ESPN analysts laud the job that OC Todd Haley did in adapting to PIT's offensive line problems. Sometimes it is what you DON'T hear that is the issue... the Giants can do a lot better.
3) Does not use the RB in the 21st Century passing league. If you think we are Johnny Come Latelies on this one, we've been talking about "small ball" for years. And this summer before camp arrived we specifically highlighted what needed to be done.
3a) The Offense consistently struggles to find rhythm. Since the chains seem to move more easily when I see RBs catching high percentage passes for ~7 yards and moving the sticks, I will be nice and lump this one in with (3) above.
4) Cannot execute a screen. How many GAMES has this cost the Giants this season, let alone in the 7 years of lack of playcalling this necessity? Company man Carl Banks has been apoplectic at the gross incompetence of the NY Giants offense in this area this season. And it arguably cost the Giants a title in 2008. Yet we have to hear Dottino et al tell us that the coaches are not the problem. SAME COACH, SAME PROBLEM. 2008, 2013, see the pattern?
5) Does not use the TE in the red zone. I am fairly certain that Gilbride does not understand the fundamental concept of how valuable a TE is in this part of the field. As an example, in the past 5 seasons, NY Giants TEs have scored 23 TDs. League AVERAGE during this period of time is 29 TDs. This would be less of an indictment if the NYG did not have the personnel. BUT THEY DID. Boss, Ballard and Bennett all did well, in the top half of the rankings.
6) Red zone efficiency is consistently mediocre at best.
7) Has as an inordinate # of delay of games. Eli Manning is DEAD LAST in the NFL, #42 out of 42, in penalties, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Most of these penalties are delay of game, a direct correlation to how quickly plays get sent into the huddle. Once again, when we look at this historically on PFF.com, he is 29th/38 in 2012, 34th/38 in 2011... in other words, 2013 has been a problem because Gilbride is consistently the problem.
8) Younger WRs consistently struggle to adapt in his offense, impairing development of personnel. In today's NFL, the need to get younger players involved quickly is paramount. In 2007, Gilbride's first year as OC, we saw how rookie WR Steve Smith made a big contribution after coming back from an injury late in the season. As time has gone on, WR roles have become increasingly complex and rookie contributions have fallen.
9) Younger WRs' struggles with route trees undermines offense and causes excess turnovers. Manningham, Jernigan, Randle and Murphy all seem/ed to have a problem with their route trees. One player? We get it, he does not know the playbook. Four players? It's the Coordinator. His playbook is not helping Eli, the offense, the WRs, turnovers, anybody. FIX the schemes. Here's a radical concept: a route tree has a default. For a green player, all they need to know is the default route. End of miscommunication.
10) Gilbride playcalls to tendency. Kneejerk analysis by well-meaning fans calls Gilbride predictable. We look at it this way- he needs to pay closer attention to his OWN statistical tendencies and break those tendencies to keep opposing defenses off balance. I just watched "A Football Life" on Vince Lombardi last night. I also read David Mariniss's book When Pride Still Mattered on Vince Lombardi. Lombardi was a voracious watcher of the opposing team's film. In the 1960's. So you can bet your sweet petunia that opposing defenses know Gilbride's tendencies. We see them. So does everybody else. Trust me- this is a FACT. Our best proof is that when the Gilbride "strobe" flashes, the offense purrs like a kitten. Why? Because the defense has not gameplanned for this change in playcalling.
11) Does not leverage/play to his roster's strengths. Whether it is using TEs over the years with good hands in the passing game more, or finding a way of getting the ball to Wilson in open space, you have to scheme to your strengths. One blogger replied to the latter that Wilson is not a good pass catcher. A Round 1 draft pick? Either Reese completely screwed up OR Gilbride has not practiced Wilson enough and given him simply enough dumpoff flares to make that moot. I am SURE that Whisenhunt, Haley et al would be leveraging Wilson a lot more.
12) The entire offense consistently suffers when he does not have an adequate X WR. Be it 2008 when Plax went down or here in 2013 when Nicks has been awful, the lack of adjustments is palpable.
13) Younger RBs consistently struggle to adapt in his offense, impairing development of personnel. We hear it every time a young RB can't manage to get on the field- he doesn't know his blocking assignment. Yet we don't see this stopping other teams from having these players get on the field to see meaningful touches. Line him up wide. Roll the pocket. Use a shorter step drop a little more often. Peel him off for an easy flare.
14) Eli Manning's development as a QB in his prime is stunted. Watch the progression in QB ranking according to PFF from 2008-2013: 19th, 10th, 10th, 6th, 8th, and this year 31st. He can do better. 14 reasons he can do better. Eli Manning is so much better than this. He needs help. So does the NY Giants offense.
Nice job you hit most of the reasons the Giants struggled this year. I'd like to offer another but I'm not sure if it's mismanaging personnel or telegraphing plays. There have been a few incidents, especially, in key situations but the most recent big one was last cowboy game. Giants got the ball to the goal line and they sent in Jacobs. Who didn't know what was coming? The cowboys had so many people on the line that Eli could have ran around the end. I would think Coughlin let that and others pass but Gilbride should take his genius somewhere else.
It's frustrating watching offenses like the Bears (even with McCown!) do with ease things that the Giants can't figure out to save their lives (aside from Marshall/Jeffery circus catches).
I think there's at least a CHANCE Gilbride gets fired.
Ever since Plaxico shot himself, this team has been the absolute definition of mediocrity and inconsistency (except for a magical six game stretch in 2011). That's a lot of mediocrity.
Even if the media wants to sweep it under the rug, I HAVE to think somebody in the front office is taking notice. If not.... we could be in for a long 2014.
Great post Andy. This is a post I am going to pass around to my friends who have heard me rant about just about every one of your points.
One point I would like to highlight - "struggles to find rhythm". This is something I have 'sensed' for at least the last 2 years and have had a hard time putting into words. When you watch other offenses around the NFL there is rhythm or pace to their offense that you never see out of the Giants. The Giants feel all start and stop. Eli has been sticking up for Gilbride lately (what else would he do) - but he MUST watch other teams, such as his brothers' team or the Seahawks or the Saints or others and drool over the possibility of the Giants having a pace like that.
Great article Andy. The sad thing is we are getting at least another year of Gilbride if not more. I don't understand why John Mara stands for it. Feels like the Giants are stuck in a different decade.
Andy, good stuff. Thanks for posting on Christmas day. Alas, I'm pretty sure Coughlin, Gilbride and Fewell aren't going anywhere. That doesn't mean your 14 aren't spot on, and that they must be addressed. Some of them are of course easier to fix than others. I for one would like to see Sean Ryan go back to being a WR or quality control coach, instead of learning how to be a QB coach, because that's obviously not working. There's only one starting QB ranked lower than Eli. I can't count how many times I've listened to a commentator point out Eli's poor mechanics on an INT replay, even when he's not under pressure. Mara ought to shell out big bucks to hire a bona fide guru who's another Tom Clements, who tutored Aaron Rogers, Matt Flynn, and before that oversaw Brett Favre’s INTs drop from 29 to just 18 the following season. Those kinds of results aren't expected of Sean in 2014 after just a couple seasons as QB coach. So go get a real QB coach who knows Eli's perfect throwing mechanics, recognizes when a flaw's creeping into his game, and knows how to implement corrections quickly. A mechanically sound Eli accompanied by a simplification to the complex route trees (your #9) that will accelerate the contributions of a new X receiver (your #12) like Clemson's Sammy Watkins (who has been mocked at #11 to the Giants after Nicks departs for Carolina), and the substantial improvement of the O-line (31st in the league in rushing undermines play action viability and challenges offensive rhythm (your #3a)) will put the Giants back in the playoff hunt. If JR and Coughlin are thinking they'll be able to go with essentially the same O-line (i.e. everything would have been fine if it weren't for injuries, which can't be predicted), then they must look into the persistent rash of injuries that seem to plague the Giants more than a fair number of other teams. Just like with Sean Ryan, if Strength & Conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri isn't the right guy, then they need to get a bona fide guru who will implement the best injury protocols and improve training methods. Does Palmieri know why the 49ers, Seahawks, and Bears are among the healthiest over the past two seasons... what do they do that's different from what he's doing? If he doesn't know, then how can the Giants assert he's the right guy?
@frank43 I'd categorize that under (10) for not coaching away from tendency. When he brings in his run package like you describe, we know there is a VERY high probability he will call run to Jacobs. What he needs to do is cut down the tendency from that package. You cannot give the defense any edge. KG helps defenses out an inordinate amount of the time.
I do not claim to make this list 100% comprehensive. And there are some items here which can arguably be considered nested/repeats. But we are in agreement that he makes it easier than it has to be. I actually have more evidence of the "telegraphing" than even I can share on this blog, which is why I am positive of the "FACT" of his tendencies. Unfortunately I can't share it here.
@CommanderShepard Someone mentioned a scenario where the Giants will fortify their line and do just enough to get back into the competitive swing of things in 2014. YET GILBRIDE'S UNDERACHIEVEMENT will remain, assuming he comes back. This is why I use the Buffett analogy about the tide. We see the problems every year. It is just that THIS year they are uglier because he has no answers. Lost in the Giants win vs a DET that imploded was the fact that the Giants offense had 8 NET YARDS of offense in the 2nd Half. EIGHT FREAKING YARDS! Yet this is the guy we want to come back?! I am afraid he is coming back, that is how scary this entire situation is.
@ultimatenyg @frank43 Re: "I actually have more evidence of the 'telegraphing' than even I can share on this blog." Presumably you're afraid that someone like your Eagle-blogger friend will read it and disseminate it on his blog, where it might become common knowledge and Eagle coaches will pick up on it.
Not only that but it also helps the opposing defense greatly when they're so damn late getting in plays there is no element of surprise in the snap count. Instead they time it exactly to when the clock is about to run out giving them a huge jump on the ball ending up in an Eli sack.
@ultimatenyg @CommanderShepard Yeah, over Christmas I talked with my brother/dad about that very thing when we all go together. They could conceivably bring in a couple bodies for the line to get Eli back to 2012 protection levels. Yay? Keeping Gilbride in that scenario probably brings us another marginal 9-7 caliber team. Yay?
While the Hill interception is unfortunate if that somehow allows Gilbride to stay (we must think the front office is stupid.... hell, maybe they are), I love Hill moving forward. Several young defenders to be excited about, especially if JPP and Brown can come back at full strength.
@ultimatenyg @CommanderShepard If Will Hill had not made that interception the story might have been the Giant only having 8 yards of offense in the 2nd half (or close to it). What a shame if that one interception is enough to somehow get Gilbride off the hook. Surely the front office took notice of those 8 yards of offense, right? I would have thought that might be the last straw.