The best thing about Thursdays as a New York Giants blogger is that it is the day each week that the team's coordinators are made available to the media each week. Today, when the transcripts of the interviews with Bill Sheridan and Kevin Gilbride arrived in the Big Blue View mailbox, I found them particularly revealing.
Both coordinators we know have come under fire from fans and media members alike as the Giants -- expected to be Super Bowl contenders -- have floundered to a 6-5 record.
Here is some of the back-and-forth with reporters and Sheridan, the defensive coordinator. (Full transcript)
Sheridan was questioned about the criticism he has received.
Q: You are familiar – you have been here for a while – you know the tradition here. This team – this defense – has not lived up to that tradition. How much does that trouble you?
A: It troubles me a lot. But honestly, I’m not worried about the past and the tradition. We are just worried about what is the next game. So I’m well aware of that tradition. But we don’t dwell on that – we are too busy getting ready for the next team that is in front of us. And right now we have a huge challenge coming up this weekend. So we really don’t sit around and think about that stuff. We are so busy doing the next – every single day I’m in the building, it is either the next meeting, the next practice or the next part of your game plan, whether it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. We are up to our ears until 11 p.m. every single night.
Q: Do you think you have done a good job?
A: I don’t even think like that. You can answer that. Obviously, based on how our defense has played – not good enough, if that is the answer that you are looking for. No, not good enough. We have lost ‘x’ number of games in the last month or so; so not good enough.
Q: Even though you don’t read the papers, do you think criticism of you is unfair?
A: Honestly, I don’t even think about that. I don’t know, probably not. I’m responsible for the defense, so if we have sub-par performances, that absolutely falls on my shoulders. I have no problem handling that. But I don’t really think too much about fair or unfair criticism. I have so many other things to worry about. I appreciate your questions, but I don’t have magical, clever answers.
He was also asked about Jonathan Goff, who will start this week at middle linebacker.
Q: RE: Trying to make a move at middle linebacker this week.
A: We didn’t have to; we just want to play Jon. He is a guy who has been developing and we have a lot of faith in him. We just wanted to give him an opportunity to play. Chase is still going to play. We didn’t feel we needed to make a move. We just wanted to get Jon on the field – get some of the younger guys who haven’t played much that we think are going to be good players. So that was our thinking there. We were not disappointed in Chase at all and Chase is going to play.
Gilbride was asked about the Giants' running game, and it was obvious from his answers that its ineffectiveness bothers him, just like it bothers everyone else who watches the Giants.
Q. Re: effectiveness running out of shotgun instead of under center? Is the pass setting up the run?
It didn’t happen that way the other night and it really didn’t happen that way the previous game, even though we threw the ball like crazy and it helped open up some runs. That’s what happened Sunday, it was our three-wide runs that got more than four, five yards. Every run with three-wide was over four yards, we didn’t have one otherwise that was four yards. It was just opposite of what you’re saying. 180 degrees the opposite. But it shouldn’t be that way. We should be good under center, too. We have been good for a long time and that’s what is so exasperating to everybody. Why isn’t it as good now? Again, I don’t think it is any one single thing. Regardless of what it is, it hasn’t been as good, it hasn’t been as consistent and certainly that is an area that we would like to be doing better with.
Q. Is part of that just committing to it whether it is one-yard run, two-yard run and just taking the three and out?
A. Do you want to do that? Then you lose the game. That is the hard line. That is probably the most difficult thing. When do you say, ‘Hey, we better change tactics.’ Before you know it the game is out of hand and you are so far behind that you can’t hang with that kind of stuff as long as you would like. Sometimes you would like to say ‘maybe if we hung a little bit longer, it would have been good.’ You just don’t know. That is the line that you are straddling. That is the difficult thing. If I just stay, and all of a sudden nothing changes and all of sudden the game is over and you have been running the same plays, averaging about a yard a gain, you guys would be the first ones to say, ‘Why didn’t you change?’ Then sometimes you say ‘maybe if we hung, would it have changed?’ So, you don’t know. You go by just gut feeling, what do you see. Does it look like it was a mistake here that was easily explained or identified and it is discernable if we do just this we are ready to go? Or, is it something that maybe is not quite clicking and it is more than one area? Maybe we better modify our approach and try a different emphasis and maybe that will kick in with the running game.
Brandon Jacobs knows that with Danny Ware out and Ahmad Bradshaw hurting, he will be on the field more Sunday.
"Who else are they going to give it to? I’m joking, man. I do expect to see more carries, I do expect more playing time than I normally get. I am looking forward to that challenge and looking forward to that opportunity."
Justin Tuck says there is a "strong dislike" between the Giants and Cowboys. I wonder if he figured that out before, or after, Flozell Adams tripped him and messed up his shoulder.