The New York Giants commenced their off-season evaluation meetings on Thursday morning, and by 5:00 p.m., offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was officially “retired”. Certainly, the sequence of events was not surprising, especially in light of team president John Mara’s comments at the end-of-season press conference on Monday.
Some of the focus will now shift to whether or not Gilbride was forced out, and speculation on how much bloodletting occurred at the team’s strategic planning session.
At this point, that speculation becomes a worthless endeavor for the organization. The G-men must turn the page on the Gilbride-era with fond memories of the two Super Bowls that he was a factor in winning.
Obviously, Gilbride has seen and heard all of the commentary that the rest of have seen and heard over the past few days, so he took the graceful way out, which should be commended. But something had to give when the Giants, not only did not make the playoffs for the second straight year, the team regressed to a below .500 record at 7-9 in 2013.
The Gilbride retirement is the first in a long line of dominoes that will keep falling until training camp starts in July. The second one could be the hiring of Gilbride’s replacement. Former Giants’ quarterback coach Mike Sullivan, most recently offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is available and was mentioned by Mara at Monday’s presser.
Fans and experts alike will clamor that Sullivan is a perfect fit because he will run a similar offense as Gilbride, which should be of little concern to Mara and Reese. Chip Kelly installed a completely new offense 90 miles down the New Jersey Turnpike, and Kelly’s team hosts a playoff game this weekend.
This is not a caution against hiring Sullivan, after all quarterback Eli Manning had his greatest success with Sullivan as QB coach. Instead, keep this in mind, at the start of next season; there could be as many as seven new starters on offense. It behooves the decision-makers to interview different candidates to ensure they are getting the right man for the job.
But when you are mentioned by name by the team owner at the year-end press conference, you have to be considered the frontrunner for the position. And as far as the sentiments of the fans and blogs in Tampa with regard to Sullivan’s coaching; those comments have to be taken with a grain of salt as coming from a frustrated fan base.
Remember Sullivan had to jettison Tampa’s franchise quarterback (Josh Freeman) in favor of an untested rookie (Mike Glennon) mid-way through the season. Unlike other rookie quarterbacks, Glennon did not have the benefit of working with the first team throughout training camp, and that decision alone will save new Buccaneers head coach, Lovie Smith, from wasting time on Freeman.
Glennon had a very respectable season for Tampa Bay.
And if you think that Freeman was or is a franchise quarterback, then you don’t belong in this conversation at all.
And for those Buccaneer fans who complained about Sullivan’s halfback-centered offense, you may have forgotten that Doug Martin accounted for almost 2,000 total yards in 2012, to go along with 12 touchdowns.
The point being that the critical first domino has fallen in this off season of change for the G-men, and now the front office can turn the page and concentrate on the plethora of other priorities that face the franchise without controversy, but then again, what would the scribes have to write about?