Less than 24 hours after the Washington Redskins requested and received permission to interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell for their vacant head coaching position, the Giants are facing another coaching loss as offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has announced his retirement from the NFL.
Even prior to the end of the 2013 NFL season, there had been wide speculation about Gilbride and his job security heading into the offseason. His offense sputtered to a 28th place finish here in 2013 and had hardly been consistent in recent years. And immediately following the conclusion of the regular season, co-owner John Mara noted that changes would be coming after an "offensive failure."
“I think our offense is broken right now and we need to fix that, and we need to make some improvements on defense, too,” Mara said. “But, obviously, the offensive side of the ball, we’ve got to improve there and we can’t go into next season with the same personnel.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin then met with General Manager Jerry Reese and team owners today as offseason evaluations began, and you're left wondering if retirement was Gilbride's only "clean break" option. The alternative, of course, to be fired publicly despite helping the team to two Super Bowl championships since 2007. Then again, perhaps retirement is something Gilbride has been mulling for quite some time now.
Whatever the case, and prior to today's meetings, Coughlin had expressed faith in his coordinators, saying "you don't conquer by diving, you conquer by inspiring," and was expected to fight for their return. It was a situation that had the potential to cause a rift between Coughlin and team ownership, but that appears moot now.
"I have great confidence in this group of men that we've had here as a coaching staff," Coughlin said on Monday. "I believe in them very strongly."
What now becomes of his son, Kevin Gilbride Jr. (wide receivers coach), remains to be seen, and reports suggest no decision has been made on him. Meanwhile, the obvious choice for replacement offensive coordinator is Mike Sullivan, who was the Giants' wide receivers coach from 2004-2009 and quarterback coach from 2009-2011 before taking over as Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator prior to the start of the 2011 season.
Sullivan became available on Black Monday as a part of the Buccaneers' cleaning house, which including the termination of head coach Greg Shiano and General Manager Mark Dominik.
Note: This story was first reported by Mike Garafolo.
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