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New York Giants Front Office, Tom Coughlin Appear to Be at Odds Over Fate of Kevin Gilbride

December 31st, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Dan Benton

As the final series of post-regular season press conferences wore down for the New York Giants on Monday, a few things became abundantly clear. One was something everyone had expected, in that Tom Coughlin admits to wanting to return as Big Blue head coach in 2014, and that both General Manager Jerry Reese and co-owner John Mara want him to do exactly that.

While that may appear relatively cut and dry, there's no denying that there was an awkward feel to those words and their respective press conferences on Monday. There was an obvious disconnect, and as the hours wore on and reports began to circulate, it became clearer and clearer that although the two sides were in agreement on Coughlin returning, they weren't in agreement over the fate of Kevin Gilbride.

Long before a Star-Ledger report surfaced that indicated Gilbride was likely to be fired as offensive coordinator, the aforementioned John Mara made it abundantly clear that the Giants offense was "broken" and changes were absolutely needed.

"I think our offense is broken right now," Mara said on Monday. "We need to fix that. We need to make some improvements on defense too, but obviously on the offensive side of the ball we've got to improve. We can't go into next season with the same personnel."

General Manager Jerry Reese echoed those statements, saying point blank the team had personnel issues which needed to be addressed.

"There are obviously some personnel issues," Reese said. "We have to have better coaching."

But Tom Coughlin didn't feel the same way Reese and Mara obviously did. Instead, Coughlin did what he always does and he went to bat for his coordinators and assistants, saying he has complete and total faith in them.

"I have great confidence in this group of men that we've had here as a coaching staff," Coughlin said. "I believe in them very strongly."

The question now becomes, does this disagreement on coordinators put the Giants and Coughlin at odds? And if so, does it impact him coming back in 2014 or signing a contract extension to avoid being a lame duck coach next season?

Those are questions that Mara refused to answer on Monday, citing his respect for Coughlin and his staff as the reason why.

"I certainly have my opinion, and I'm sure Jerry has his and Tom has his," Mara said. "I'd like to think that, at the end of the day, we're all going to be on the same page. I don't think it will come to that."

But what if it does? What if Coughlin, who is loyal to a fault, refuses to fire Gilbride? Do the Giants then go over his head and fire his coordinator? If they do, does Coughlin find himself so offended that he opts to walk away? Could this brilliant and successful marriage possibly come to an end over a bridesmaid?

For the first time in years, things do not appear as rosy as they once were. The two sides obviously disagree on certain issues and what happens next will makes for some very awkward situations and could, potentially, start to pave the way for a Tom Coughlin exit.

Photo credit: Football Schedule / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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Tags: Football, Jerry Reese, John Mara, Kevin Gilbride, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin

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11 Responses to “New York Giants Front Office, Tom Coughlin Appear to Be at Odds Over Fate of Kevin Gilbride”

  1.  James Stoll says:

    A teaser of a day yesterday.
    I will say this, I have long since learned to disregard what players, coaches, and management say in these press conferences, and wait for events to unfold before I believe the rumors.
    But since the rumors are out there, I’ll throw in my two cents.

    1. Gilbride. To be fired? I’ll believe it when I see it. It makes sense on some level. Some of the problems with the offense are longstanding: slow play calling; struggles in the red zone; bad personnel decisions; apparent upside down play calling. So while I completely endorse firing the genius, I have a problem with blaming him and not Coughlin. Coughlin hires; Coughlin must endorse the philosophy; Coughlin must participate in the game planning; Coughlin must participate in the personnel decisions; and since all of the problems mentioned above have been so long standing, Coughlin either must be blind and impotent to the need to correct, or he must not believe them to be serious problems.

    2. Coughlin to return. See above and ugh! Just don’t get how the guy where the buck supposedly ultimately stops goes scott free. And if Gilbride is gone, do we all feel comfortable about Coughlin selecting the next OC? Seems like he’s hired one underperforming coordinator after another. In fact, if you accept the once widely held rumor that Spagnola was forced on Tom, the best coordinator hire Coughlin ever made was — wait for it — GIlBRIDE! Yikes!!

    3. The return of Mike Sullivan? Don’t know what to expect here if it happens. He was the WR coach then the QB coach. Eli’s and the receivers most productive years were 2009-2011, which coincide nicely with those tenures. His time in Tampa can be written off to being saddled with Schiano and Freeman. But if he comes back is he Gilbride lite? Do we run all the same crazy option route pass plays which seem pregnant with a 25% fail rate? Does the shotgun draw remain the only running play in our arsenal? Do we still have to call in not only the play but all the audible checks as well? Sullivan makes sense in that you can fire Gilbride and still retain a semblance of continuity. He’s formerly of Coughlin’s staff so Tom can accept him as his guy. And he’s Irish, which is apparently important. Just not sure more of the same is all that much better than a complete break.

    4. The return of Will Beatty….. Not really a rumor but since it came out of yesterday’s presser I thought I’d comment. JR did a nifty job of dodging every possible question so I don’t take anything he said as a serious indication of what the actual hopes, beliefs and intentions are. There is no way the team as an accurate read on Beatty at this point. How that leg will heal, how Beatty will rehab, who knows. But the one thing JR did say — Beatty has to have a good off season (whatever good means) — is potentially telling. His job has to be seriously on the line with an early hook possible in 2014, if he ever plays at all.
    Sounds like JR is preparing to write off David Wilson, as he should. The neck injury is of unknown severity. They have apparently had to wait over 3 months for the swelling in the disc to subside before he can be operated on. Before surgery and rehab occur, players and management always employ an overly optimistic time table for a return to the field. My guess is Wilson does not play in 2014, and likely never again.
    As for Tuck, the “it’s up to Justin” comment seems obviously designed as a negotiating ploy to bracket Justin’s expectations in favor of a team friendly 2 year contract. And regardless of that contract I think that is just what is going to happen. I believe Tuck will be back with a 2 to 3 year deal at 3M or so per. I think he’ll want to come back and the Giants would be utterly insane not to bring him back given the state of the DE unit.
    Nothing really new on Nicks but I do expect him to go, especially if Carolina wants him. They are a team on the rise with a potentially dynamic rising QB; we are a team in disarray with a QB entering the twilight of his career. And they’ll probably pay more. That said, the fact that Jernigan played 3 nice games in garbage time is little comfort for the loss of Nicks, despite Jon Mara’s snarky comment. As I said to FF last off season when he was waxing on the great addition Brandon Meyers and his 79 catches in 2012 Oakland were, or as I said in reference to the hiring of Fewel hot off his takeaway happy Buffalo defense when he was DC under Jauron, stats piled up by bad teams playing for nothing are inherently suspect. So while Jernigan had some nice plays and looked good, all in garbage time, all against bad competition. lletting Nicks go without a fight will be a mistake.

  2.  James Stoll says:

    Maybe Mara is more Machiavellian than we think. Maybe he believes he can’t fire Tom because of those 2 supes. He knows tom wants to coach forever so he won’t retire. But maybe he can get him to quit by essentially giving him a vote of no confidence. When the owner tells the coach who has to go, the coach has lost an amount of control and power and respect he formerly enjoyed.
    If Tom really believes that Gilbride is the right guy for the job and Mara fires him anyway, what does that say about Tom and how will Tom interpret it?
    Now I’m dreaming

  3.  BleedingBlueSince04 says:

    BleedingBlueSince04 says:
    December 30, 2013 at 11:11 PM
    I been begging for us to hire Sullivan as our OC for a while now.
    He was a major reason why Eli had that monster 2011 season .
    If he comes and makes us a top 10 offense and gets Eli back to Elite then Sullivan would be on fast track lane to replacing coughlin as coach when he retires .

    Mara was asked about Sullivan and he said “obviously we think very highly of him”
    I really hope Mara isn’t talking bs and actually gets things done this year.
    He said Oline was our number one priority so expect Linemen in 1st and 2nd round .
    He also questioned why it took 3 years to get j.j on the field .
    Let them make their mistakes early and learn.

    Basically everything I and other Giant fans on here have been complaining about was on Mara’s little notepad.

    He doesn’t expect us to be aggressive in free agency. So maybe snee and baas don’t get cut.

    Reply
    BleedingBlueSince04 says:
    December 30, 2013 at 11:24 PM
    “From early reviews, we think Will will be back and he can get going,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He needs to have a good offseason. He didn’t play as well as we had hoped he would play.

    “I think he’ll own that. I hope he can get back healthy and get going and he’ll have a great offseason and be a good left tackle for us.”

    Beatty is staying at left tackle and is expected to play.
    Do you go best available left tackle or best available OG/OT like Pugh at #12.

    Reply

    •  James Stoll says:

      I don’t know how much of Eli’s 2011′s success to attribute to Sullivan. 2011 was marked by a crazy number of successful long pass plays. Was that just luck, or was Sullivan somehow responsible for Eli doing something different mechanically of from a read perspective?

  4.  kujo says:

    Hey! Norm popped in! He’s okay

  5.  buljos says:

    Smells like a kabuki dance… FO targets Gilbride, so samurai Coughlin rattles sword in defense, but in end avoids hari kari. Coughlin retains image. Kabuki continues…

  6.  giankees says:

    Don’t know if sullivan is the answer and I’m not sure he can be an oc but to have him back in some capacity so that eli reads things better and to have a team running the correct routes by week 15 will be an upgrade by itself. Not sure if it was eli not readi g it right or the receivers but either way a new voice or an old voice is better than now.

    Dc can stay he put together a good run in the middle of the season.

    Tuck will be offered more money than reese will offer. Nicks is gone so we will neeed a vet reciever.

    Move pugh to left tackle draft the top tackle and figure out which side you want pugh on. Sign a center or draft one in 2nd or 3rd rd. We will have to sign a guard or a center. I ouldnt mind seeing a new tackle on the left side move beatty to right side an put pugh at center but I think it would make more sense t put pugh at lt and 1st rd pick at rt and sign a sign a center and draft a guard in 2nd or 3rd

    Play demontre moore and kiwi and hope jpp is back to form. Sign beason and live with our lbs.
    Sign a vet rb and try to get brown back. Pick a rb late.

  7.  Sonny Mukhopadhyay says:

    I ask for so little, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring us Norv Turner as OC.

    I’d love to have Sullivan back as QB coach.

    Oh Mighty God of all Giants, Please bring us Norv Turner !!!!!!!

  8.  Lou D. says:

    Result; TC puts up a good front, which is to be expected, then let’s front office drop the hammer. He IS very loyal and doesn’t want to see anyone lose their job. No problem with that.

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