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Is Mike Sullivan Right Choice to Succeed Kevin Gilbride as New York Giants Offensive Coordinator?

January 4th, 2014 at 11:00 AM
By Doug Rush

Ever since it was announced that Kevin Gilbride would retire from the NFL and step away from his duties as New York Giants offensive coordinator, the name most commonly discussed as a potential replacement has been Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan was previously with the Giants as Eli Manning's quarterbacks coach up until the 2011 season before taking the offensive coordinator job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a position he held for two years before being fired as part of the team's housecleaning following a 4-12 season under Greg Schiano.

Now, while a lot of people think it's a sure thing that Sullivan will be the next guy to take over the "broken" offense of the Giants and attempt to fix it, along with Manning, is he really the right guy for the job in 2014?

Sure, he knows the offense, he knows the personnel of the offensive unit and more importantly, knows Manning well. But there are a lot of similarities between him and Gilbride and Sullivan ran a very similar offense while running the Buccaneers offense; an offense that ended up with a 4-12 record and him out of a job.

Some in Tampa had felt that Sullivan's offensive game-plan was a bit out-dated and not in tune with the current NFL; a similar gripe that many of you Giants fans had the same gripe when it came to Gilbride and how he ran the offense, yet, this is the guy that many want to be the next offensive mastermind.

Giants co-owner John Mara stressed change for the team and especially for the offense that at times, ranked near the bottom of the league in production, so for a team that needs a bit of change, would bringing in Sullivan, who at one time was a Gilbride offensive assistant, really be instituting change or would it be more of the same old story from last year; a predictable offense that teams ended up figuring out and stopping half the time.

Maybe a Gary Kubiak or Joe Lombardi would be a much more suitable replacement as the Giants offensive coordinator as opposed to someone who has already ben here, resembles a lot of what Gilbride has done, and didn't exactly light up the league in his first go-around as a coordinator?

Before we all give Sullivan the keys to the offense in 2014, just think on this: is he truly the guy this offense, with the way everything went last year and the ties and history he has to the coaching of it from a year ago, really the right guy to run it? Sullivan might not be the "slam dunk" hire that everyone thinks he should be for the Giants.

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Tags: Football, Kevin Gilbride, Mike Sullivan, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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23 Responses to “Is Mike Sullivan Right Choice to Succeed Kevin Gilbride as New York Giants Offensive Coordinator?”

  1.  kujo says:

    We’ve already been over this, but for the sake of Doug and the rest of you, we’ll do it again:

    The problem isn’t the offensive scheme–it’s the guy calling the plays. Gilbride’s specific weaknesses–situational playcalling, failing to utilize player’s specific talents, refusing to feature the tight end and other intermediate level threats–were what held this offense back. The plays themselves–the routes, the blocking schemes, the reads–led this group to the top 10 status in 5 of Gilbride’s 7 years.

    So when you fix THOSE problems, at the coaching-level, you immediately make an enormous improvement. Now I don’t know much about Sullivan, but what I do know is that he runs a similar, if not identical, scheme, and isn’t named Kevin Gilbride. Meaning, he isn’t predisposed to having the same weaknesses and pitfalls of The Mustache.

    I’m not wedded to the guy, but I think he’s a very Giants-like hire. He’s a Coughlin guy who’s well-respected, well-bred and isn’t too outside the box. For better or worse, that’s what we do.

    •  Krow says:

      But everything you describe would pretty much constitute a new scheme.

      •  kujo says:

        I’m sorry, I disagree. I believe bringing in a new guy to use the same tools and methods doesn’t represent a shift in the scheme, any more so than asking a chef to use the ingredients, utensils and oven you have in your kitchen to prepare a meal represents an entirely new way of cooking.

        It’s a different way of making decisions within the scheme. That’s the issue I had with Gilbride–running the shotgun draw isn’t somehow intrinsic to Gilbride’s offense. It’s just a specific play that he leaned upon, with far too great frequency.

        •  Krow says:

          Well … this is a good discussion point. To me the ‘Gilbride Scheme’ is relying on the same handful of plays, depending on superior execution to win the day. Essentially we throw long, run out if the I-formation, employ a traditional FB, and over-utilize certain calls … like the famed shotgun draw.

          If we were to start running intermediate routes, screens, H-back plays, power running (for example) … then to me this is a new scheme.

          •  kujo says:

            To me, a scheme is a collection of plays, and all that goes in to executing them.

            Again, the analogy of the kitchen is useful. I have a whole cabinet of spices, and true, there are ones that I use with more frequency than others. But I assembled all of those spices, choosing the ones that I like while not purchasing the ones that I don’t like (see: anything resembling the taste of vanilla). It’s entirely possible that you could come in and utilize the same spices in a wholly different manner. That’s not a new scheme, just a different person using them differently. But if you came in and threw them all away, and replaced them with the ones you prefer…THAT would be a total change.

            •  buljos says:

              like the analogy kujo… taking it a bit further into the realm of Mr. Mara. He owns the restaurant, and has grown thoroughly dissatisfied with the food. He understands that patrons spend a lot of money to eat at his restaurant, some traveling great distances to do so, and he’s embarrassed by the product being put on the table. But he likes the manager and the food buyer (although some of the buyer’s choices of meat haven’t worked out real well recently). So he, his manager and buyer decide major changes are needed, and the chef retires. Now they’re in the market for a new chef. Who do they bring in? The outgoing chef’s understudy who was preparing pretty much the same meals at another restaurant and was fired for pretty much the same reasons as Mr. Mara had for letting his chef retire? Well, maybe he’ll use the spices in different ways and that will fix the broken restaurant?

    •  rlhjr says:

      I’ve always favored Norv Turner. But Sullivan might be the right.choice for Eli.
      Without an overhauled OL it won’t much matter. I should say properly overhauled OLL.

      •  kujo says:

        I’ve always loved how Turner’s offense featured hundreds of variations on the running back, wide receiver and tight end screens. He’d talk about how he literally had an entirely separate playbook for the screens, tucking away little shifts in the timing and blocking and pre-snap movements.

        But we ain’t going with Norv. THAT would be a paradigm shift, and I don’t see that happening with Coughlin still at the helm.

        •  rlhjr says:

          Amen to that bro.

        •  Dirt says:

          You’re spot on kujo.

          One cautionary tale about Norv: Yes, he would have a great offense here. Then when Coughlin retires, he’d be in line for the head coaching gig, which we’ve seen leaves a lot to be desired.

  2.  Dirt says:

    Is Mike Sullivan human? Has he ever watched a football game?

    If so, it’s a step in the right direction.

  3.  CT GIANT says:

    I’ll assume that Mara leaves this to Coughlin, and why? He will be his boss and like Gilbride, how many times has Coughlin interviewed guys he does not know?
    He keeps saying, “This isn’t about me, it’s about the team and where the team is going”.
    If thats actually true, Sullivan should not be the “” guy considered, as thre are many very good offense minded, young guys who imo, would bring a bunch of good things to this team.
    Only Coughlin makingthis decision? Eli needs a QB Coach, and if you look, Sullivan had zero experience when Coughlin promoted him to that position. If one is really keeping the team in mind, Sullivan is just a “known face”, but there sure are others who have a better resume than this guy.
    CT GIANT

    •  Krow says:

      I’m a little concerned that we’re seeing the proverbial ‘good old boy’ network in action again. I don’t know all that much about Sullivan to be honest. And I don’t want to go trashing the guy. He might be excellent. I’m just a bit worried that our options always seem to be limited to a handful of familiar faces.

      •  kujo says:

        That’s sorta the case on most NFL teams, particularly those with the enviable amount and duration of success that we’ve had. Look at the Steelers, or Patriots…all recycling the same coaches, coordinators, assistants and interns over and over again.

  4.  CT GIANT says:

    RESUME: MIKE SULLIVAN, 46 YEARS OLD.
    JAGS 2002-2003 “QUALITY CONTROL ASSISTANT”
    GIANTS 2004-2009 WR COACH
    2010-2011 GIANTS QB COACH
    2012-2013 OC TAMPA BAY CURRENTLY UNEMPLOYED.

    CT GIANT

  5.  JBeast3 says:

    HI everyone! I have been locked out of/forgot password for my account for a few weeks now lol. So a lot happened while i was out i just wanna put my two cents in:

    As for OC I’m happy Gillbride is gone but i also was really happy that he help to lead us to 2 super bowls i will always remember those. For his replacement i would be happy with Sullivan since he runs the same scheme as Gilbride as long as he is a better play call that gets the play in before 10 secs on the clock, or not allow eli on some occasion to go no huddle and not be as predictable as Gillbride. I loved the scheme it won two super bowls.

  6.  Dirt says:

    @RapSheet: Much of Big Ben’s frustration came from lack of no-huddle, which allows him to call the plays. By the end, Steelers thrived in no-huddle.

    Weird how that worked out.

    •  The Real LT says:

      Sullivan is not the sexy choice but It probably would be better for Eli and the Offense because his scheme is similar to KG’s so they would not have to learn a whole new scheme. I just hope that If he gets the job that he is more flexible with the play calling and knows how to make adjustments and use our personnel to their strengths. As far as the confusion between Eli and our receivers who does that fall on? i don’t want to point a finger at anyone but isn’t KG jr the wide receivers coach?

    •  rlhjr says:

      Also weird that even though Eli has the goods to run no huddle, he never got the chance under Gilbride and Coughlin. Eventhough he excels in the hurry up

  7.  JT Jumbo says:

    Breaking news, Giants announce Kevin Gilbride Jr as new OC… Lol, then again I shouldn’t laugh because it could happen

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