By: Chad Jay
WILL REPLACING KEVIN GILBRIDE LEAD TO FEWER “KILLED DRIVES”?
With Big Blue’s tumultuous 2013 season (mercifully) in the rearview, many tough decisions now have to be made.
Making the right ones will largely determine whether this team continues to regress ... or make its triumphant return to prominence.
Fortunately, our Brain Trust hasn’t been lying around on white sandy beaches sipping margaritas since the clock hit triple zeroes in Week 17. Instead, Jerry Reese & Co. have been in the lab, determining which players are part of the solution, and which ones are part of the problem.
Of course, one “Giant” move has already been made. And the recent retirement of Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride means that newly hired ex-Green Bay Packers QB Coach Ben McAdoo now has the critical task of repairing our Offense.
But before we turn the page on the Kevin Gilbride era, let’s quickly look back at his decade-long stay as OC for NYG.
Kevin Gilbride was a polarizing figure. Some appreciated his accomplishments, while others dubbed him the moniker “Killdrive,” for his tendency to throw deep on 3rd-and-short, and run the groan-inducing Shotgun Draw on 3rd-and-long, stalling otherwise promising drives.
Had KG retired after Super Bowl 46, he could’ve ridden off into the sunset, just like Strahan. But he didn’t. And fair or not, his lasting memory will be the horrid offense that, quite frankly, did everything poorly in 2013.
Still, his overall résumé is more impressive than he’s given credit for. Per Giants.com, he’s perched atop the Leaderboards in several offensive categories:
• The Giants have eclipsed the 400-point mark in a season only five times; three of which occurred under Gilbride (2012 – 429; 2008 – 427; 2009 – 402).
• His Offense scored a franchise-record 278 points at Home in 2012, breaking his own record set in 2007.
• In the Giants 88-year history, they’ve gained 6,000 Total Yards just twice – both came under Gilbride’s play-calling. In 2011, his Offense set a franchise-record of 6,161, while shattering another record with 4,734 Net Passing Yards.
These accomplishments suggest that KG should’ve been lauded for his offensive wizardry, rather than run out of town with torch and pitchfork.
At his best, he helmed a quick-strike aerial attack that opposing defenses struggled – and often failed – to contain, while maintaining balance with Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw all enjoying 1,000-yard Rushing campaigns.
But the problem was for every masterpiece he’d draw up, his encores were of the epic “face- palm” variety, such as the Week 15 Home loss in ’07, where Eli inexplicably chucked it 50+ times into 100-mile an hour swirling winds.
And in recent years, the bad began to severely outweigh the good.
Now, they can’t all be works of art; expecting perfection is simply unrealistic. And as they say, “the other guys get paid, too.”
But in 2013, KG’s Offensive “artwork” was no more impressive than a 3-year-old’s mish-mash of crayon and construction paper, proudly displayed on your kitchen fridge. The clock had struck midnight, and the offensive juggernaut we’d all expected morphed into a Giant rotting pumpkin. And our offensive ineptitude largely contributed to an 0-6 chasm we could never crawl out of.
The Giants 2013 Offense was marred by innumerable miscommunications, where receivers zigged when Eli expected them to zag...repeated delay of game penalties...and unforgivable timeouts burned as a result of plays being sent in entirely too late.
Nothing worked this season.
Even Eli’s “hard counts” failed to draw anyone offsides, except for our linemen.
Simply put – it was a disasterpiece.
FACT: Only the Jags and Bucs mustered fewer yards per game on offense this season than NYG (obviously poor company to be in).
Perhaps the most puzzling part was the vanished chemistry between Eli, Nicks, and Cruz. It was as if the trio had never played a down, practiced together or, you know, won a Super Bowl together. I claim no expertise on “X’s” and “O’s,” but shouldn’t chemistry improve as time goes by, a la brother Peyton with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne?
What I do know is that our Offensive scheme was highly complex, predicated on sight adjustments, where Eli and his WRs must see the same things on the field instantaneously and “on the fly.” For many of our players, it was too complex.
When it’s clicking, it’s a thing of beauty; arguably indefensible.
When it’s NOT, it’s a vomit-inducing, turnover-producing eyesore.
In 2013, it was overwhelmingly the latter. And neither coach nor player had any explanations at the podium.
Call me crazy, but it sure seemed as though Defensive Coordinators had our scheme completely figured out. Sadly, the same can’t be said for our own players, who often looked completely clueless.
The 2013 New York Football Giants trotted out an Offense that was downright...offensive. Defenses came in confident and licking their chops, and DBs baited and befuddled Eli, routinely jumping routes they’d high-step all the way to pay-dirt.
In the end, our two-time Super Bowl MVP QB would rack up a ton of picks – once again leading the league with a jarring 27 interceptions – while the YouTube video of Buddy Ryan’s infamous sideline punch of KG racked up a ton of views.
[youtube id="bPK3cDl7Ftw" width="620" height="360"]
The legions of fans clamoring for KG’s head could no longer be silenced.
Change was needed.
Tom and Jerry knew it.
Even Kevin knew it.
And in the end, many fans finally got their wish.
But, since KG didn’t technically “get the ax,” he walks away head held high, with two shiny pieces of Championship bling. And we, as fans, owe him a debt of gratitude for his contributions.
MOVING FORWARDI was very, very impressed by the presentation...whether it is quarterback fundamentals, offensive philosophy.
Now, it is often said that “one must be careful what they wish for,” “the grass isn’t always greener,” etc. So, as we look ahead to the 2014 season, we can only hope KG’s replacement, Ben McAdoo, has a Steve Spagnuolo-esque impact, as opposed to a Bill Sheridan school bus fire.
Because you just never know what you’re going to get with unheralded coaches. For what it’s worth, though, he wowed Eli and Coach Tom Coughlin during his interview:
“I was very, very impressed by the presentation...whether it is quarterback fundamentals, offensive philosophy.” – Coach Coughlin
A ringing endorsement for “B-Mac” – I think we can safely assume he arrived 15 minutes early for his interview – but nevertheless, an unknown commodity he remains.
Now, that can be a positive, because if there’s no “book” on him...no tape or tendencies for division foes to dissect all offseason...that means we have the element of surprise working in our favor...
...and for our absurdly predictable Offense, that could be a breath of fresh air!
Sometimes a new voice and scheme are just what the doctor ordered. Look no further than what Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt did for Philip Rivers in JUST ONE SEASON, after being left for dead upon leading the league in INTs in 2012.
Let’s hope McAdoo can do the very same for Easy-E – and just as quickly.
Let’s hear from you:
? Do you think McAdoo can fix our Offense?
? What are your expectations for his overall philosophy?
? Finally, which Packers players – if any – do you hope he lures to MetLife?
Please leave your comments below!
By: Chad Jay