There is so much going on with this being NFC Championship Week and so many players and coaches available to the media each day that -- nice guy that I am -- I have put together a bonus evening notebook for you.
Great stuff today from Eli Manning regarding his relationship with often-criticized offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Love Gilbride or hate him, I think you have to realize that the fact that Gilbride has been with Manning since the day his professional career began has been a huge bonus for the Giants quarterback. Just ask San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith how difficult it can be to go through new coordinators virtually every season -- not to mention a bunch of new head coaches.
Anyway, here is the portion of Manning's press conference where he spoke about Gilbride:
Q: Talk about the impact Kevin Gilbride has had on your career.
A: Coach Gilbride and I have a very close relationship. When I first got here, he was the quarterbacks coach, so I sat in all the meetings with him. A lot of the plays we were running then, even though he wasn't the offensive coordinator, were his plays and stuff he knew very well. So I got to kind of learn from him, and hearing him directly and watching old film of the Oilers and different things when they were running it. It's the only offense I've been in, it's what I know. We think the same way on a lot of things and certain looks. A lot of times he doesn't even need to finish his sentence, because I'm already on the same page. I feel very comfortable with him and telling him my thoughts and listening to him. It's a great relationship and we work well together.
Q: What's the best thing you like about his play calls?
A: I think with Coach Gilbride, he wants to throw the ball, I think. He has a quarterback mentality. He also knows, he's going to be smart and if we're running it, we're going to continue to run it. It's kind of whatever is working. On Sundays if we're not running it really well and we're throwing it well, I'll just go up to him and say, ‘Hey, they can't stop us throwing it, let's just keep throwing it.' And he kind of gets a smile, I think that's what he likes to hear. He wants to throw it and he wants to be consistent and find completions, but he likes to get the ball downfield and hit some big plays.
Gilbride was asked if he thought this was the best job he has ever done as an offensive coordinator. He launched into an answer that was complementary to his players, and revealed some of how complicated the Giants offense is.
"Let me just say that I'm very proud of the guys that I work with. There's no question. We started with five new guys and then we had all of the injuries and the youth and the guys who haven't played and some of the things that we ask them to do. You don't just - in our offense - go out and run a 12-yard curl or a 10-yard in-cut. We ask them to read a lot of things. We put a lot of pressure on receivers to see things as a quarterback would," Gilbride said. "It's very difficult as a coach to get those things coordinated. So to see them grow like that - obviously what are you? You're a teacher. When you're a teacher and you can see your pupils getting better and feel like you contributed you're very proud of their growth and development, so you feel, ‘Maybe I helped them a little bit.' So yeah, I'm very proud of the job our coaching staff has done."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell spoke about the team's pass rush.
"That's where our energy comes from, that's where our confidence comes from, that's where our swagger comes from. Those guys, unlike most teams that you associate with, they set the tone for us, they are the catalysts for what we do and how we do it. So, it sets the whole mindset for our defensive football team."
Some of you might wonder what took Fewell so long to figure that out. I would say just be thankful that he did figure it out.