Dave DeGuglielmo, new offensive line coach for the New York Giants, has a reputation as a man who isn’t easy to get along with. Perhaps an acquired taste, if you will. That includes maybe not being a fan of the media.
DeGuglielmo held his first Zoom call with Giants writers on Wednesday, and there was no sign of him being cantankerous in any way. Maybe the 52-year-old was on his best behavior, but he was cordial, engaged and answered questions with no sense of irritation or impatience with the prying faces on the Zoom screen who wanted some inside info on what it was like for him to replace the fired Marc Colombo mid-stream.
DeGuglielmo even broke down the proper pronunciation of his not-so-easy-to-say last name.
“My first name’s really Pacifico DeGuglielmo, that’s why they call me ‘Guge.’ In case anybody’s just slightly Italian,’ he said.
Taking over mid-season “not ideal”
Asked about the “uneasiness” of replacing Marc Colombo mid-stream, DeGuglielmo said this is the third time in his coaching career he’s been in this situation.
“It’s not ideal for me either, trust me,” DeGuglielmo said.
DeGuglielmo said going from team to team is “the equivalent of a plumber called to a different company to do a plumbing job.”
“This is what I do, and sometimes the circumstances are more advantageous for me personally, but I think there’s a solid system here,” DeGuglielmo said. “Joe Judge and Jason Garrett have a solid system in place, so I’m coming in to just do my role as a line coach and try to keep things kinda moving in the proper direction, that’s all. It’s not overly complicated.”
DeGuglielmo said he was undergoing COVID-19 protocol to become a consultant with the Giants when the role changed to offensive line coach.
“The role changed from consultant to line coach,” he said. “I just follow the lead of the head coach, and this is the direction he wanted me to go, and I went with it.”
Does he worry about getting buy-in from the players?
“Everyone’s got a job to do. Everyone gets paid to do a job, so do the players,” DeGuglielmo said. “We all have to adjust and adapt and improvise and that’s what we’re all doing. It’s just business as usual, it’s just slightly unusual.”
Why has he bounced around so much?
After a three-year stint as Miami Dolphins offensive line coach from 2009-2011, DeGuglielmo is now on his seventh job since 2012.
“Each one of those situations is a different circumstance. Sometimes I’ve left for a better job. I turned down a contract at Miami last year,” DeGuglielmo said. “I get it, you read the resume and it looks like there’s a lot of bouncing around. I agree with that. Believe me, my wife wouldn’t like me bouncing around this much, and I wouldn’t like it as much. But, you have to find the right opportunity.
“Good thing is I think I bring something to whatever program wants me. When you look at it I keep getting hired, so I must have some value to somebody for some reason ...
“I wish I could stay somewhere for 15 years, but I don’t do the hiring.”
Following the leader
In the wake of Colombo’s firing, much was written philosophical differences between Colombo and Judge in what should be taught and how it should be taught.
DeGuglielmo was direct about the fact that his marching orders come from the head coach and his job is to deliver what he is asked to deliver.
“In this circumstance you need to keep guys staying the course. We need to follow the message of the coordinator and the head coach. End of conversation. That’s my biggest point to the players ... these are the things that need to be important to us. We’re the worker bees, we serve other people. We just need to focus on the things that are sent down from upstairs and we have a job to do,” DeGuglielmo said.
“I don’t think it’s anything drastic, it’s just the hierarchy in any business.”
One of the areas that Colombo and Judge reportedly clashed on is the idea of using a rotation of offensive linemen. It is something that Judge has stressed repeatedly, and while he did it some Colombo was reportedly resistant to the idea.
“I don’t have the same concerns about rotating guys in as other people might have because this is an opportunity for us to take a look at a bunch of players, and I think we have some players that are quality players that are on the bench,” DeGuglielmo said. “I believe what Coach Judge believes in, and that’s trying to get guys experience. Guys get injured these days, you’re going to need those other players.”
Re-inventing the wheel?
While the outside world has focused on the adjustment Giants offensive linemen have to make hearing a new voice each day with just a few weeks left in the season, DeGuglielmo said the Giants are not going to “re-invent the wheel” and that the real adjustment is on his side.
“I’m doing the adjustment. I’m having to learn a new language, if you will. It’s like taking a job in Spain and I don’t know Spanish. Well, I still know how to do my job I just don’t know the language of it,” DeGuglielmo said.
“In a situation like this I can’t use a lot of my terminology because we’re already, we’re mid-stream, it’s about the players it’s not about the coaches. It’s about the comfort level with players in terms of how we can communicate things.”
What changes will he make as the season winds down?
“In any good program guys are constantly being coached,” DeGuglielmo said. “Even the best players need to be coached on fundamentals. Fundamentals are the key to the game no matter how fancy your schemes are you need to talk about footwork, fit and finish in everything that you do, run and pass.
“Maybe we alter a set, maybe we alter a hand placement, maybe we alter a stagger in our base. It’s miniscule, it’s something that won’t show up in the big picture when someone’s looking at it from up top, but it may help in productivity.”
DeGuglielmo then returned to the idea of implementing the vision of those above him.
“We’re focusing a little bit more on the things that are stressed from high above. We need to solve some of those issues,” DeGuglielmo said. “Things are going in a good direction right now. It could always be better. The guys have been great about working hard to try to improve in the areas we’re talking about.”
What does he think of the Giants’ line?
DeGuglielmo sounded upbeat about the prospects of Andrew Thomas and the current Giants ‘ offensive line.
“I think he’s [Thomas] doing a good job of trying to work on the problems he had early in the year,” DeGuglielmo said. “That’s the big thing with all of them. If you find perfect play somewhere point it out to me, because I don’t see that anywhere in the National Football League. guys are going to make mistakes and they’re going to grow throughout a season. I think this line is growing.
“I’ve not encountered on guy that resists drill work or resists coaching or resists instruction. That’s the key. Every day we’ve just gotta work on little things ... they’ve done a great job doing that. What more can I ask?”