This was beamed directly to my head last night, so no one else may have heard it. But this is my account of a reporter (R) questioning Gilbride (KG) after the game.
I am not advocating a complete overhaul here. But I continually see easily fixed minor issues that repeat week after week. Do we not watch our own game tapes? Here is a question that I would love to ask:
If the curtains in your house are on fire, do you: 1) Put them out with a fire extinguisher, or 2) Do nothing because the curtains are not on fire in the world that you expected.
R: There has been a lot of complaining about the number of draw plays run recently. Can you explain what you are trying to do there?
KG: Well, we are trying to counter the defense's blitzes and pass rush by getting them to start upfield, and then running the ball through the "A" gap.
R: But don't most teams blitz through the "A" gap nowadays? Is that not why so few other teams run draw plays now?
KG: Gee, I have not really thought about that. Maybe we'll run some more screens instead.
R: The screen pass is supposed to be a high-percentage throw. Why then do you suppose that you only complete 50% of them?
KG: Well, the other teams have done good jobs reading the play.
R: Do you think it has something to do with the fact that so many of your screens go up the middle as well? Where the defenders are already in the way because of A-gap blitzes or because the DT was not able to get penetration even though the offensive line is trying to let them through? Is it a good idea to throw the ball into a pile of bodies?
KG: Gee, I have not thought about that either. But our one screen last game was not up the middle.
R: Yes, the one to Ballard that fell incomplete. If I recall on that play, Ballard stayed at his spot on the left side of the line of scrimmage, turned around, and Eli missed him with the throw because he was rushed. The linebackers were right on that play. Do you think that might have been because the Eagles were in zone coverage, and Ballard was the only eligible receiver on that side, so the SAM had nothing else to do but watch him? Or the fact that since Ballard was on the line of scrimmage, the offensive line could not get in front of him to block because it was a pass play?
KG: Hmm, maybe that play needs tweaking.
R: Maybe you should throw more traditional screens to the flat. Where the RB sneaks out toward the sideline, behind the line of scrimmage, and two offensive linemen get out in front. The way every other team from high school to the pros does it. Do you realize that absent two excellent individual efforts from defenders, that play has gained positive yardage every [every = four] time that you have tried it? Including against the Eagles?
KG: Well, it's too late to do anything about that now. Our offensive game plan is already set for the season.
R: I was wondering if you noticed during the game that the Eagles receivers are always running when the ball is thrown to them, either upfield or toward the sideline, while the Giants receivers are frequently standing still or coming back to the QB? Can you explain that?
KG: Well, we don't want Eli taking chances. And it is easier to throw to receivers standing still than ones moving. Last year, we ran more of those slants that you guys are always talking about. But our receivers kept tipping balls in the air for interceptions. So we got rid of the slants.
R: So your solution to your receivers having poor hands is to expect less of them? How about playing different receivers? Or working on Eli throwing the ball lower?
KG: Once things are set they are set. Once you have your playing group, and once a QB is comfortable with his mechanics, it's better just to leave things the way they are. Everyone is comfortable.
R: So your team has played some teams that have notoriously poor safety play this year. How does that affect your game planning?
KG: As I said earlier, the game plans are already set. If there is a safety back in coverage, we do not throw it anywhere near there. Keep the ball to the sidelines. Trying to avoid those interceptions. Look what happened this week. The linebacker picked off Eli's throw.
R: But that was a poor throw. Cruz was wide open, as he was in front of the safeties over the middle several times in that game.
KG: But Eli could make a poor throw again. It's better to play it safe.
R: How do you explain Eli's success in the 4th quarter, when you are more pressed to put points on the board, than the first three quarters? Eli seems to produce better when given more freedom to throw the ball and is not forced to play ball control.
KG: Well, I think luck has a lot to do with it. He's still the same person throwing to the same guys. It's not like the play calls are that much different. I'm still in charge.
R: What happened to that great bootleg that Eli ran in for a touchdown in the first game of the season?
KG: We really do not like to use trick plays. That was an once-in-a-lifetime call.
R: So you consider a bootleg a trick play?
KG: Yes, it's no different than a reverse [zero in 2011], or a flea flicker [zero in 2011], or a fake field goal [no statistic needed].
R: So the fact that Jernigan had a 172.1 passer rating and two TDs in college...
KG: Don't go there. Never gonna happen.
R: Not even to run with the ball?
KG: Nope. Too dangerous.
R: Have you tried working Jernigan into the offense in any other way in practice?
KG: What do you mean? Jernigan runs routes in practice just like everyone else. Just like Nicks. Just like Manningham. Just like Cruz.
R: But shouldn't players with different skill sets have different plays to utilize their skills?
KG: Why? We treat every player the same. They get the same chances. They can fit into our system, or they can move on.
R: Back to your system. Coughlin is quoted last night as saying that the offensive line got outplayed by the Eagles "front eight". As teams are constantly putting a safety in the box, have you thought about trying to game plan around it?
KG: You are not listening. Our game plan is set. We are a running team. We run the ball up the middle. I don't care what the defense does. We are going to play our game. Our guys are going to beat their guys. Just wait and see.
R: I'm waiting......