clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The coordinator question

The second piece in my series of New York Giants' off-season questions is a look at what might happen with the coordinator positions on both sides of the ball.

We all know that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been on the list of candidates for pretty much every team that has had a head-coaching vacancy. Some of those jobs are filling up, and Spags does not appear to be the front-runner for any of the remaining openings. So maybe, just maybe, we will be fortunate and still have Spags running the defense next season.

On offense I'm sure there are a lot of Giants' fans who hope offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride never calls a play for the Giants again. Gilbride is public enemy No. 1 among Giants' faithful right now. Oakland has expressed interest in Gilbride as their head coach, and I think there would be a huge celebration in Giant-land if Al Davis were to hire him.

Let's take a deeper look at both of these jobs, particularly how the Giants might go about replacing Spagnuolo or Gilbride.

Defensive Coordinator

Current Giants' linebackers coach Bill Sheridan might be next in line if Steve Spagnuolo gets a head-coaching job.

We might be worrying about a successor to Spagnuolo for no good reason. With the Denver and Cleveland jobs filled, some doors are beginning to close on the Giants' brilliant defensive coordinator. Rex Ryan appears to the favorite for the Jets' job.

If Spagnuolo does not get the job across town, speculates that neither the Detroit or St. Louis openings appear to be good fits for him.

That might not be news that Spagnuolo wants to hear right now, but it would be music to the ears of anxious Giants fans. We would, of course, love to see Spags stay entrenched as Giants DC for a long, long time.

If Spags does land a head-coaching gig, though, best guess is that linebackers' coach Bill Sheridan is elevated to coordinator. We discussed this a couple of weeks ago, and it is probably the best-case scenario if the Giants have to replace Spagnuolo.

Like Spags learning his craft from Philadelphia guru Jim Johnson, you have to figure Sheridan has learned Spags attacking defensive style and would continue with it.

At least, that is what we would hope.

Here, by the way, is an NFL Network video about the current coaching carousel.

Offensive Coordinator

Chris Palmer is the Giants' current quarterbacks coach. He served as offensive coordinator for Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville.

Fire Kevin KillDrive! Er, Gilbride. Or whatever you want to call him right now -- which I am sure is something you would not want to say in front of your mother.

Giants' fans, here and everywhere else, have been expressing the idea that the Giants need to can Gilbride after Sunday's play-calling debacle. And, if they aren't calling for his firing they are praying like crazy that the senile old man who runs the Oakland Raiders somehow decides that Gilbride is the guy who can save his crummy team. Hey Al, I know lots of members of BBV Nation who would write Gilbride recommendations.

You guys all know I have, up to this point, always defended Gilbride. I have admired the balanced attack he helped the Giants create, and said repeatedly he had to get some credit for how well the Giants offense performed last season in the playoffs and throughout this season's 11-1 start.

I still hold to that, but I am as upset with Gilbride right now as any of you. A coach's job is to put his players in position to succeed, and a coordinator must identify where his team has an advantage and use it. Gilbride did neither of those things Sunday. He continually asked Eli Manning to throw the ball deep down the field, despite the fact that it was obvious to everyone -- except him, apparently -- that Eli could not get that done in the Giants' Stadium winds. Worse, with the season on the line he did not take advantage of the team's best playmaker, Brandon Jacobs.

We have seen this from Gilbride before, and you have to wonder if he will ever fully understand the strengths -- and weaknesses -- of the players on his offense. If he hasn't figured it out by now, you would have to think the answer is no.

Here's the rub. If Gilbride miraculously gets the Oakland job (there is, I believe, zero chance Coughlin fires him) would Chris Palmer be any better?

I think it is a given that if Gilbride is gone Palmer, currently the quarterbacks coach, would become the OC. He held that position for a couple of seasons under Coughlin in Jacksonville, and for five seasons with the David Carr-quarterbacked Houston Texans.

Palmer's resume is eerily similar to Gilbride's -- minus the fistfight with Buddy Ryan. Veteran coach, worked with Coughlin previously, had a failed stint in Cleveland as a head coach. Respected for his work with quarterbacks.

If you think there is another solution to the offensive coordinator question I would love to hear it.

I think the best we can hope for is that Gilbride, Palmer and even Coughlin learn something from Sunday's failure against Philly. Balance and spreading the playing time and workload is great during the regular season. With your season on the line, though, you have to understand who your horses are and ride them until they just can't carry you any farther.

The Giants already paid a huge price for failing to understand that this time around.

Next up: I will look at the running back question.