Gilbride Takes Control

Head coach Tom Coughlin on Thursday named Kevin Gilbride as the team's new offensive coordinator. Gilbride was the team's quarterbacks coach the previous three seasons. He assumed play-calling duties from former coordinator John Hufnagel prior to the regular season finale in Washington.

The Giants scored 34 points – their second-highest total of the season – and gained 355 yards (261 on the ground) in a victory over the Redskins that virtually clinched a playoff berth.

Gilbride again called the plays the following week in a 23-20 loss to Philadelphia in an NFC Wild Card Game.

"It was an opportunity for Kevin to demonstrate his leadership skills, and I thought he did a good job," Coughlin said. "Based on that performance it became clear to me that he is deserving of the role of offensive coordinator. The good thing is that he has worked hand-in-hand with Eli (Manning), and Eli and the offensive team will welcome this announcement.

"I made the decision to create a spark and I think a spark was created. I think the offense – the players and the coaches - rallied around Kevin and certainly gave evidence that this was something that they are most excited about continuing."

Although it was only two games, Gilbride relished the chance to call the plays after almost three full seasons in more of a supporting role.

"I certainly enjoyed the last two weeks," Gilbride said. "I was able to envision a game unfolding the way I had always done it and anticipating how it would go and being able to think through what the responses would be as the defensive coordinator on the other sideline made the adjustments to our approach. It was an exciting time for me to be able to get back into it from that standpoint.

"I certainly enjoyed my interaction with the quarterbacks, Eli in particular. And that won't go away. But overseeing it and just being a contributor are two different roles. And I enjoy the one where you're overseeing the entire operation and you're the guy that ultimately is responsible for the success and failure of your offensive unit."

Gilbride, 55, called plays for Coughlin when they were together with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995-96.

"The flavor of play-calling many times is the ability to do the unexpected," Coughlin said. "I think Kevin does that well. We had a third-and-10 when we ran a draw down in Washington. It did not succeed. But there was a draw on a third-and-10 in the Seattle-Chicago (divisional playoff) that scored a touchdown. One of the tricks in play-calling is obviously to do the unexpected.

"Also, the belief in balance is ingrained. Philosophically, we're both on the same page that way."

Coughlin said the offense will not change radically under Gilbride. "It's the New York Giants' system," he said. "And the New York Giants' system has tremendous flexibility."

"Essentially, it will be the same," Gilbride said. "But hopefully we will do a better job of implementing it and instructing it with the players and getting them to execute better."

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