Are Kevin Gilbride's Days As Giants Offensive Coordinator Numbered?
I'm certainly not in any position to call for someone's job, especially someone who has accomplished as much as New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has accomplished in his 10 years with the team. Gilbride has had his ups and downs as an offensive coordinator in New York, and is primarily responsible for nurturing Eli Manning in the early days of his NFL career as the Giants quarterbacks coach from 2004-06. The team has won two Super Bowls with Gilbride's play-calling and has had a pretty prosperous last decade, all things considered.
However, things have changed over the last few seasons. The offense is no longer effective and the play-calling has gone stale, recycling the same old schemes and patterns week in and week out. Whether the rest of the league has evolved beyond Gilbride's play-calling abilities and left the Giants in the dust, or whether Gilbride has failed to adapt to an ever-changing offensive landscape is not clear, but what is clear is that the Giants' offense has stalled and that it might be time for someone new to try their hand at reviving it.
Gilbride has been the Giants' offensive coordinator since 2006, making him the longest tenured offensive coordinator in the league right now. Only two other OCs that are currently coaching were hired by their respective teams before 2010: Detroit's Scott Linehan and New Orleans' Pete Carmichael Jr., both of whom were hired in 2009. The difference between Gilbride and those other two offensive coordinators? Detroit's offense is currently ranked third in the league and New Orleans'offense is currently ranked fifth. Where does the Giants offense rank as of Week 17? They're two spots from the bottom, at 30th overall, with only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers being worse.
When you take those numbers into consideration, it becomes pretty obvious that the Giants need to begin looking for someone who can come in and turn this struggling offense around. The Giants are in a difficult position right now as far as their coaching staff is concerned. With Tom Coughlin unlikely to get the boot from the front office after all that he's done for the organization over the past decade, the decision of whether he'll remain the Giants head coach in 2014 is his and his alone. Gilbride is Coughlin's guy, and if Coughlin stays, it's hard to imagine Gilbride going anywhere either. To make matters more difficult, Gilbride has the enthusiastic support of the Giants' franchise quarterback as well, who has been lobbying hard for Gilbride to remain the offensive coordinator beyond this season. However, after a season as disappointing as this one has been, a change needs to be made, and the most popular change being voiced by Giants Nation right now is getting rid of Gilbride.
After all, Gilbride is the easy scapegoat for an offense that has failed to average 20 points per game over a full season for the first time since 2004 — coincidentally, also the Giants' last losing season. Despite the fact that the offense has finished in the Top 10 in the league five times under Gilbride, anyone watching the 2013 Giants — and the 2012 Giants too, for that matter — can tell you that the offense needs to be fixed and the only answer may be to give Gilbride the boot and inject some new life into the play-calling. The simple fact is that the offense has become far too predictable. There's only so many times we can see Andre Brown or Michael Cox or Brandon Jacobs run off-tackle for a one-yard gain on a second-and-10, or see Manning repeatedly try to throw the ball downfield when it's apparent that the only way the Giants' battered offensive line can protect him is on short drops and quick passes, before we get the urge to pull our hair out.
Is it time for a regime change in the Giants organization? I think so, but whether or not the Giants will actually pull the trigger and make some much-needed changes before 2014 remains to be seen.