NFL Free Agency has not officially begun, but there is plenty of news with released players already visiting and signing. We begin today, however, with retired New York Giants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who issued a passionate defense of his work Thursday evening during a public appearance.
"I’m kind of surprised to hear him say that," Gilbride said when asked about general manager Jerry Reese saying it was time for a change. "No one had figured that offense out for 24 years. To think that they figured it out this year would be pretty ludicrous. I think it was pretty obvious what the problems were. We had a confluence of injuries, we were very weak on the offensive line. We had some guys who struggled. We started six different offensive tailbacks, three different fullbacks, three different right guards, four different centers … You’re not going to have anything (with that). You can say it’s the offense, but it’s pretty clear what the problem was."
Gilbride said he saw cracks in the Giants roster in 2012, and thought it was a matter of when – not if – a pitfall was coming.
"I certainly have expressed those concerns for a number of years," Gilbride said. "It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when it was going to happen."
Newsday's Tom Rock reported that Gilbride also said he had planned to retire after the 2013 season if no head-coaching opportunity came his way -- which he knew would not happen after the poor season the Giants had.
The Cleveland Browns placed the transition tag on Pro Bowl center Alex Mack this week, but that isn't going to stop Mack from seeing what might be available for him on the free-agent market:
"We’ll see what happens. It’s tough to know. I don’t know how teams feel about me. I still have an opportunity to meet with coaches and experience free agency. That’s the goal," Mack said, via USA Today. "I like Cleveland; I know it. I like these new coaches. But there are other opportunities out there. You only get to play this game so long. Let’s see what else is out there."
The Giants need a center, but Pro Football Rumors lists the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders as the teams most likely to pursue Mack.
Free-agent tight end Andrew Quarless and his current team, the Green Bay Packers, have been in "regular contact," according to a report. Quarless, of course, is considered a potential target for the tight end-needy Giants.
Kim Jones of NFL Network says a re-structured contract between the Giants and veteran guard Chris Snee "will get done.
Former Giants' backup quarterback David Carr is hoping to return to the NFL in 2014.
Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. The deal includes $11 million guaranteed, and likely sets the parameters for the Giants and free-agent linebacker Jon Beason.
The New Orleans Saints are apparently open to trading running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, as well as wide receiver Lance Moore.
Former Ravens' linebacker Jameel McClain visited the Giants on Thursday.