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Giants’ Tom Coughlin: Letting Go of Mike Pope & Jerald Ingram were Difficult, Needed Decisions

January 16th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Doug Rush

Following a 7-9 season and missing out on the postseason for the second straight time since winning Super Bowl XLVI, change was expected for the New York Giants' coaching staff.

While Tom Coughlin got to remain the head coach for the team, some of his assistant coaches weren't so fortunate. Kevin Gilbride took the more prideful route to the end of his career as he retired from the NFL as opposed to getting fired as the team's offensive coordinator — something that would have almost certainly have happened.

Taking his place was Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, a 36-year-old disciple of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and considered one of the best, young coaches on the market and could be a potential head coaching candidate in the future. McAdoo took the Giants offensive coordinator job as opposed to taking the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy.

With McAdoo now in charge of the offense, they will be implementing the West Coast style offense, which meant some of the coaches from Coughlin's old staff got their pink slips on Wednesday as running backs coach Jerald Ingram and tight ends coach Mike Pope were fired by Coughlin; both moves the 67-year-old head coach said were extremely hard to make.

“Both of these men are very good talent evaluators and, in their own way, are very good teachers,” Coughlin said. “I decided to make a change in our staff that I believe will be productive going forward. These are very difficult decisions, but I felt they were in the best interests of the Giants moving forward.”

While Ingram's dismissal, despite being a long-time Coughlin assistant dating back to when he coached with him at Boston College, could be understood due to the inconsistencies in the running game over the last three years, Pope's dismissal was considered to be a shock to past and present players all around the league; especially since Pope has been with the Giants going back to 1983 and coached with Coughlin under Bill Parcells' staff. After leaving the Giants in 1991, Pope returned to the team in 2000 as part of Jim Fassel's staff.

However, because McAdoo was once a former tight ends coach with the Packers, his philosophies on coaching the position are different from Pope's and thus, with the new offensive system in place, Pope's dismissal from the team is the result.

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Tags: Ben McAdoo, Bill Parcells, Football, Jerald Ingram, Jim Fassel, Kevin Gilbride, Mike Pope, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin

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14 Responses to “Giants’ Tom Coughlin: Letting Go of Mike Pope & Jerald Ingram were Difficult, Needed Decisions”

  1.  kujo says:

    TroyThorne says:
    January 15, 2014 at 11:36 PM
    RE: Pope, I was surprised when I heard he was released. I disagree with kujo’s reasoning as to why he had to go. We have seen nothing from Robinson to determine whether or not he’s decent or improved from where he was or what. Myers was a low-ceiling scrub who our front office got duped into signing. Beckum is the only one you could argue he did nothing with but who is to say he wasn’t just a bum player (like where is he now for instance)?

    Regardless, criticizing a guy for not batting 1.000 seems a bit ridiculous especially when he had so many successes. I think he was pushed out to set the stage for the changing of the guard that will be taking place over the next year or two. The fact Quinn still has a job is equally shocking to me.

    Reply
    kujo says:
    January 16, 2014 at 7:04 AM
    See, I disagree with this. I imagine that the job description of a position coach is to facilitate and maximize the growth and development of the prospects under your charge. To that end, Coach Pope was immensely successful with players who were, objectively speaking, of lower quality (as a prospect) than some of the ones who did not benefit from his tutelage. And, sorry, I’m not buying the “we haven’t seen him play yet” optimism around Robinson. Dude was a healthy scratch for most of this year, while some guy named Larry-friggin’–Donnell got the start. 4th round picks in their 2nd year in the NFL aren’t supposed to be buried beneath guys like that, or Brandon Myers, or BEAR PASCOE!!!!

    Now, there’s a whole other thing here that I’m sure you would agree with me on–that I don’t know what the heck Reese was doing bringing in guys like Beckum or Myers–who clearly were ill-suited, from a physical standpoint, for the role that tight ends had in Gilbride’s scheme– or a guy like Robinson–who, physical attributes aside, had NO resume to justify his selection amongst the top 100 or so players in the 2012 NFL Draft. But that gets into a whole separate debate.

    •  JBeast3 says:

      The drafting of Bekum and Robinson esp where they were taken just shows us the disconnect between the front office and the coaching staff of the giants. Hopefully with McAdoo this disconnect will be lessened and Reese will know the type of players McAdoo wants for his system to run smoothly

      •  kujo says:

        You’re making the faulty assumption that Reese “didn’t know” what sort of players he needed to acquire in order to maximize Gilbride’s schematic preferences.

        I’m making the assumption that Reese is an arrogant putz who is a little too fond of his own batch, believing himself to be just a notch smarter than every other GM. He ROUTINELY drafts players who either don’t fit our scheme (see Sintim, Clint; Beckum, Travis; Wilson, David) or players that are simply too “valuable” to pass up (see: Austin, Marvin; Nassib, Ryan), no matter what the reservations may be (behavior in the former, necessity with the latter).

        But you’re right–I think this could change. This year, for the first time since probably 2008 or 2009, Reese will have his head on top of his shoulder as opposed to up his own rectum. But it won’t be because McAdoo is somehow going to bridge the divide that has been demonstrably present between our scouts and our coaching staff; rather, it will be because John Mara will have chewed Reese out, surprisingly in-public (so you KNOW it was worse in private), and made it clear to him that the lion’s share of this team’s desultory 2013 season, following a slightly less disappointing 2012 season, lands in HIS lap. And I’ll just say it now–if Reese isn’t able to right this ship, he will be looking for a job next year. This paddy-cake stuff might fly out in in Oakland or Kansas City, but this is the New York f’n Giants!

  2.  kujo says:

    When your department is given resources under the expectation that you will refine them so that they can be utilized in an effort to earn a profit or defeat your competitors, and you fail to do so, you get fired. Ingram, Pope–both of these guys have had excellent careers within their field. But both had a string of recent failures that just can’t be overlooked.

    And, again, this same thing can be said of Flaherty, who has been given tons of middle round picks–AKA the sort of guys populating no less than 2 starting positions on most NFL offensive lines– and has essentially given us a doughnut hole in return (the exception is Boothe, who was a 6th round pick and castoff of the Raiders who somehow transformed into someone who starts for the New York Giants).

    •  G-MenFan says:

      This.

      The present-day state of business in the NFL demands the rapid development of young cheap talent. The winning teams all do this as have the Giants in years past. However, over the past couple of seasons we’ve seen a dearth of up-and-comers with an ny logo on their hats. Some flashes here and there but for the most part, very little development. This coaching staff shakeup–now officially a bloodbath–should carry Reese’s pre-season message home that EVERYONE is on notice. Do your job better than everyone else or you’re gone.

      •  Krow says:

        Very true. Successful teams leverage their cap-friendly rookie deal. They don’t draft “projects” … spend almost 3 years teaching them the business … then maybe get one season out of them before they hit the free agent market.

        Looking at you Jerrel Jernigan … James Brewer … Adrien Robinson.

  3.  Krow says:

    Fixing the OL …

    Let’s face it … when Reese goes swimming in the free agent pool he usually looks for a bargain … for value. Oh sure, there’s the occasional splash. But for the most part he’s careful with his cap dollars. So channeling the inscrutable JR this is how I could see it unfolding:

    #1 Resign Boothe … he may not be wonderful, but he has a certain versatility … he’s a known quantity … he’s going to be reasonably priced. This is virtually a no-brainer IMHO.
    #2 Jon Asamoah … he’s a B-to-B+ OG who has lost his job. This means he’s not going to command a substantial deal like we’ve seen OGs get in the past few years. He’s fast … smart … and I think 26. Immediate upgrade. No character issues. Our kind of guy.
    #3 Rodger Saffold … he won’t be cheap. But he won’t be over-priced either due to injury concerns and positional competition. Probably a $5-6 million per year kind of number. But he plays ORG and ORT. If there’s debate on Pugh’s future he would be the perfect guy to have in the fold. Rams have cap issues so he won’t be tag’d. They also will need money for the draft having bent the R-words over on the RGBust deal.

    I know this isn’t the usual ‘vet minimum one year show me and revitalize your career then leave for more money’ moves we’re used to. But I think they solve the problem at a cap-livable price. Besides, they wouldn’t be making all these dramatic coaching changes if they weren’t committed to improving our single biggest weakness.

    Packer center Evan Dietrich-Smith also has to be considered because of the McAdoo connection. Especially since Baas has played guard.

    •  kujo says:

      Honestly, I would be absolutely fine with this route, particularly if you added:

      #4–Use one of the mid round picks that we have, or a comp pick, to draft a living, breathing, CENTER prospect to groom this year, under the assumption that he will usurp David Baas in 2015.

      •  Krow says:

        Oh yeah, I’m not saying this is all we would do. I could definitely see a development mid-pick as well. Of course we can’t do any of this if we waste another $7 million on son-in-law. If he returns at anything near that nepotistic dollar it’s game-over for 2014.

  4.  JBeast3 says:

    The more i think and read about McAdoo the more I’m coming around on his hiring. IF, IF McAdoo is flexible and willing to make adjustments to his system to our personnel ( since i believe we dont have the correct personnel to run a true west coast style) he will be a huge hit here. I like that he has experience with Cobb maybe not directly but he saw first hand how to use him; then he might have an idea how to use Cruz and JJ ( not saying he will be as good as Cobb). If McAdoo can figure out how to get the ball to Wilson in open space often and to get the ball out quickly so ELI isn’t killed in the pocket then he will be a big hit here in NY. Lets see what you got McAdoo

  5.  JimStoll says:

    I must say, while I am excited by the MacAdoo hiring and the re-staffing of the offensive coaching unit, I am more than a little concerned that Coughlin remains at the helm.
    Seems to me like the proverbial half loaf, and not one destined to success.
    I have no idea what control Tom retains over the offense; maybe it’s none.
    But Tom was always an offensive coach and he doesn’t strike one as a pure figurehead

    That said, I remain hopeful that MacAdoo will be able to implement fully his vision and hopefully Eli will be able to master it

    Someone mentioned the other day the concern that Eli has never been an accurate QB and he is at his most inaccurate on short throws

    Assuming the West Coast offense means lots of short quick-hitting timing patterns and utilization of RBs, this year could be very interesting in terms of Eli’s long-term viability as the Giants’QB
    Hopefully, Reese won’t restructure and extend Eli’s contract until we get at least some evidence that he can master the MacAdoo system

    •  Krow says:

      I really don’t think Eli has accuracy problems. He makes some gambling, ill-advised throws. But so did many of the greats. As fans we watch every play … we see the good and the bad … but when it comes to other QBs we often only watch the highlight reel.

  6.  rlhjr says:

    G-MenFan says:
    January 16, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    “The present-day state of business in the NFL demands the rapid development of young cheap talent. The winning teams all do this as have the Giants in years past. However, over the past couple of seasons we’ve seen a dearth of up-and-comers with a NY logo on their hats.”

    Bingo………….Something that the majority of posters on this site have bemoaned over the years. Coughlin and Co. had complete distain for playing youngsters. And it was only when beset by injury and desperate circumstances did young players see the field. Some (Smith/Bradshaw/Boss) even excelled.

    There was a place and time for Coughlin’s approach. And the same can be said of Pope. But that time is rapidly coming to a close. Even the QB position is expected to be a rapid transition. I think some positions demand a player have exceptional instinct (LB/RB/OG/S/CB/MIKE) and top 10% talent to play in your first year.

    Still other positions like DT/OT/SAM require teaching. Guys who play year one at those positions have tons of instinct, speed, quickness and strength.
    Those are are vital attribuites that you simply cannot coach.

    But with the Giants under Coughlin those attributes make little to no difference. If you’re young, you simply aren’t going to play unless all (injury) hell breaks loose. But when you see players like Sintim, Beckum, Jernigan and hopefully not Moore. You have to ask yourself, what allowed them to be drafted with the coaching staff simply refused to utilize them according to their strengths?

    For sure a ball player selected in round 1-3 MUST be able to perform in his first year. But there is a safety net. Players like Austin got the benefit of the doubt as did Scinorice Moss due to his speed.

    So with all that said, let’s see if Robinson pulls a “Paysinger” this year.
    And if Jernigan is the real deal. Some kids just need time to get up to speed.
    Perhaps Reese/Ross did know what they were doing?

  7.  rlhjr says:

    Kujo I like your explanation to Jbeast. However, I do think that Reese is not alone in culpability.

    De facto Coughlin bears some blame simply because of his position.

    Studying from afar, it seems like a mini power struggle has been taking place. With Reese as you stated trying to prove his astuteness, and Coughlin establishing his authority as head coach. The coordinators not properly utilizing assets based on what the head coach tells them behind closed doors.

    The victims are fans like us and the young men who may not get another chance at their lifelong dream. I could be wrong, but this has/had the feel of “personal” BS afoot. People are people, and life is life. $7!+ happens.

    I’m praying the Giants field a much improved football team this year.
    And the strengths of both players and coaches are allowed to shine.

    By the way, who does everyone think will call plays McAdoo or Coughlin?
    I’m thinking Mc, but am curious to know what others think.

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