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eisen.jpgOffensive Coaching Staff Talks With Media

By Michael Eisen, Giants.com

 

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May 4, 2007

 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. � The Giants� assistant coaches spoke to the media this week for the first time this offseason. Today, we will hear from the offensive coaches. Yesterday, the defensive assistants had their say.

 

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEVIN GILBRIDE

 

Q: On New quarterbacks coach Chris Plamer working with Eli Manning:

 

Gilbride: �I think you always look to find the right magic button that�s going to get him to play the way we think he can play. Whether it�s an adjustment to the way you communicate, whether it�s an adjustment to the drills that you use, whether it�s an adjustment to your approach in the meeting room. Whatever it is, as long as it works, that�s the only thing that matters.�

 

Q: Re: the depth at wide receiver and importance of Amani Toomer:

 

"There are not many guys that are going to be as big and strong as the running backs that we have. I think that physical component will serve us well."

- Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the the Giants' ground gameGilbride: �I think certainly with Amani�s loss last year, his importance and relevance to our team became very apparent when we lost him and Luke Petitgout. The consistency of our offense diminished dramatically. Amani�s loss (to a knee injury that required surgery) was significant. We�re hopeful that when he comes back, he�s going to be the same Amani that he was before the injury. Obviously, we have concern because of the age (32) and significance of the injury, which was a big one. If anybody can come back, it would be him. He�s working like crazy. Everything we hear is he�s ahead of schedule. But until we see him out on the field, it remains to be seen what level he�ll come back at. We certainly needed another receiver anyway. (The selection of Steve Smith in the second round of the draft) gives us a little protection in case he doesn�t come back the way we expect him to.�

 

Q: How do you replace the production you got from Tiki Barber?

 

Gilbride: �It�s not an easy job, that�s for sure. He was a great player for us and his loss will be felt, definitely. I think you don�t just replace it with the running back position, though we have great confidence in the guys (Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns) that will be in that position. I think they�re going to do a good job. They�re effective players. They�re aggressive, they�re physical. I think they�re actually going to give a physical element to the offense that sometimes not every offensive team has. I think we have that with those guys and their style of play. But I think also we�re going to have to make it up in other areas, too. I think some of the yardage is going to have to come from improved play in other positions, and subtle changes to things that we do. Just as an example, certain runs that Tiki excelled at may not be the comfort level of some of the guys that are going to be in his place. We�ll find those runs that they can do and do effectively and be successful and hopefully be able to reduce the loss of Tiki, which is not going to be an easy one.�

 

Q: Would you say the running scheme is going to change?

 

Gilbride: �No, I did not say that at all. I said there are certain things that runners do better than others. Maybe you emphasize the things that they do more effectively. And I think we feel good about it. Again, there are not many guys that are going to be as big and strong as the running backs that we have. I think that physical component will serve us well. It may not serve us as well in the first quarter as it does in the second or third quarter, when we�ll begin to wear some defenses down. There are certain things that they do better than others. Tiki had a unique vision to me. He was outstanding at seeing things and maybe going opposite the flow of the game and stepping out of the parameter of what the design of the play was. I�m not sure we�re going to have that component, but again, I�m not sure we�re going to find anybody in this league that is as physical as we�re going to get from that position.�

 

Q: What did you tell Palmer about Eli?

 

Gilbride: �You know, he (Manning) is somewhat enigmatic in that we see moments of brilliance and moments of poise and physical toughness and skill that are just almost dazzling. There are countless examples of that and then the frustration that sometimes comes because you don�t see necessarily the consistency that you�d like to see. So I said the biggest challenge we�re going to have is getting Eli to play as we see in moments over the course of a whole season. I think we can do that and I think Chris is the perfect choice to be able to help bring that out of him. But certainly that responsibility is not going to be just solely shared by Chris. I think all of us, certainly with some of the things we do, with play-calling, some of the actions of his teammates is going to have to elevate so that there�s a consistency that comes from � a dependability that comes from his expectations of what they�re going to do. So I think they can improve and I think Eli has to. He�s got to step to the forefront and elevate his game. But I think no one is going to work at it harder to get that accomplished and I look forward to seeing that take place.�

 

Q: Is there something about Chris that is going to get through to Eli to make it click?

 

Gilbride: I think he�s just a good coach. To single out one component or one aspect would be difficult to do. I think that he�s been with the quarterback position since he took over at Jacksonville - actually the year before, the last year up in New England with Drew (Bledsoe). He�s had some success. He has a nice way about him and I think the quarterbacks feel comfortable with him. There�s knowledge there. But the biggest thing to me is he�s got to earn Eli�s trust and he will do that so that Eli will share with him the things that bother him, the things that he feels comfortable with. And those are the things that I�m going to have to make sure I zero in on as I call or compile our game plan.�

 

Q: How does your experience as offensive coordinator at the end of last season help you this year?

 

Gilbride: �Certainly the familiarity with the players and the personalities and their strengths and their shortcomings - I have an edge because I�ve seen them and I�ve seen them live. It�s one thing seeing them from afar, it�s one thing even studying them on film. It�s another thing to see them here and observe how they act and their behavior and their responses to frustration and success, etc. so in that sense I think I certainly have an advantage.�

 

Q: Re: his familiarity with Chris Palmer:

 

Gilbride: �I brought Chris into the league a long time ago. I don�t want to tell you how long because it�ll show you how old I am, but we brought him in at Houston back in 1990, and we had great success down there. Obviously, we had tremendous players and it was fun, it was a great time. But I also had a chance to see and appreciate his work ethic and his ideas and his ability to interact in a very successful and professional way with the players. I think he�ll be a good asset.�

 

Q: �How much of a role did you play in him coming here?

 

Gilbride: "Well, Tom (Coughlin) has known him before, certainly, and had similar feelings about Chris. Certainly Tom asked and we discussed different people and when it came down to it, I certainly gave my endorsement. I think it was a factor. I don�t know how important it was. Tom obviously is the boss. He�s going to make the decisions as he chooses. I also know that he wanted to pick someone that he felt I�d be comfortable with.�

 

Q: Are you concerned about the left tackle position?

 

Gilbride; �As I mentioned earlier on another subject, the loss of Amani was huge. We were a fairly productive offense two years ago and really up to the point where we lost Amani and Luke (Petitgout). So the loss at that position hurt us. I�m not sure everybody realizes or understands or appreciates that chain link between that position and some other things you do offensively. For example, if that position is not playing at the same level it was at one time, now all of a sudden you have to keep a tight end in or you have to keep a back in (to help block). So your ability to diversify or have answers to some of the things people are doing to you is certainly challenged. It is an important, important position. I�m anxious to see, just like all of you are, who is going to step forward and be that guy, whether it�s David (Diehl), whether it�s Guy (Whimper) or it�s somebody else. All I know is that position is critical and I�m sure we�re going to do what has to be done in order to make that position solidified.�

 

Q: Were you surprised with the decision to cut Petitgout?

 

Gilbride: �Those decisions are made much higher than where I reside, so I don�t have much to say about it.�

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS COACH MIKE SULLIVAN

 

Q: How is Amani Toomer progressing?

 

A: He has been working extremely hard in rehab. We dropped off quite a bit when we lost Amani. Obviously, we are hoping that he can come back and be what he was. And we are hoping for Sinorice (Moss) to pick up where he left off and establish himself and be consistent in practice, be healthy. And now you throw (second-round draft choice) Steve Smith and the other receivers in the mix of things and see what happens. We want to come up with the best possible group of guys out there to help us win.�

 

Q: Is Smith faster than Amani coming out of college?

 

�When you go back to what he did in the mini camps and what he did in the first part of training camp, with some of the glimpses that we saw in his game time experience - there�s a young man with great explosiveness."

- Wide Receivers Coach Mike Sullivan on WR Sinorice MossSullivan: �I don�t really remember where Amani was coming out of college. But I�ve heard that Steve has been labeled a possession receiver. I wouldn�t think that�s quite accurate, looking at the plays he made for USC and some of the things they tried to do with him. He would fit in a role where he could do things inside and do things in the slot, but also be an outside threat.�

 

Q: More inside or more outside?

 

Sullivan: �It�s hard to say. I think he can do both. He�s made plays in both. So that is one of the things that we are really excited about him, his versatility. We�re going to try to see where that fits with us.�

 

Q: Will you give him two positions to learn?

 

Sullivan: �When all of our rookies come in we will introduce them to all of the positions. Especially in a rookie camp we want to try to introduce the offense instead of just being zeroed in just one position. Just so they can get familiar with our scheme and our philosophy and then depending upon how things shake down, they will find their niche at a certain position. But really, all the guys have to have knowledge and at least be able to survive at all three positions, the X, the Z and the W.�

 

Q: Why was he worthy of being such a high draft choice?

 

Sullivan: �I think the combination of the plays that he made, playing at a very high level of football, coming from a national championship program, going against great competition and really just being a complete receiver. He is a guy that is able to do things as far as catching the ball deep, making plays in the intermediate game as well as short. He�s a competitor, a tough football player.�

 

Q: No one questions Plaxico�s athletic ability. But do you wish he would be here more often in the offseason?

 

Sullivan: �I think Plax will be here in May and be in a position where he is trying to do all he can to take part in the offseason program. I think he is excited about where we are heading. I�ve spoken to him a few times. I think he is determined to pick up where he left off at the end of last year. He played some very good football in the playoff game, the division games, and so I�m excited about seeing him return to New Jersey.�

 

Q: Do you have assurances that he will be here for the mandatory mini-camp in June?

 

Sullivan: �He�s indicated that he will be back here in the area in May. And as far as what type of participation � we certainly encourage and would hope that he would do as much as possible. But again, we will have to wait and see and go from there.�

 

Q: Do you have a feel for what Sinorice Moss can do or is there a little bit of mystery there (because he played sparingly as a rookie after injuring his quad)?

 

Sullivan: �There is a little bit of mystery just from the standpoint that there was that window where he was out. But then when you go back to what he did in the mini camps and what he did in the first part of training camp, with some of the glimpses that we saw in his game time experience - there�s a young man with great explosiveness. He is a player with talent and speed and a lot of potential. We�re excited about him taking that next step. Of course, he did lose some time and some valuable experience with his injuries. It will be exciting to see where he is if he can stay healthy this next year.�

 

Q: Where does he start this spring?

 

Sullivan: �He would be at the Z position as a Z receiver, which would be on the outside. As Kevin (Gilbride) mentioned, we�re trying to find that viable threat on the other side, where teams may double Plaxico (Burress) and try to double (Jeremy) Shockey, and have a threat out there that makes it difficult for teams to single cover him. He would be in a position to compete for that position.�

 

 

RUNNING BACKS COACH JERALD INGRAM

 

Q: On having Brandon Jacobs and Reuben Droughns share the workload in the backfield:

 

Ingram: �They have little differences here and there. The thing that is great about having Reuben around, he has been on the field, he has been in a couple of programs, he has been an NFL professional. So he is going to have something to offer to Brandon as well. Plus he is a great team player. He is a very nice kid. From what we see from Reuben and what we have heard about him, he will have something to offer a little bit differently than Brandon has. Brandon will have something to offer as well. They kind of balance each other out a little bit. Reuben can probably do a little bit more than some people anticipate him doing. Obviously, the (five-inch, 45-pound) size difference tells you within itself, they aren�t the same.�

 

Q: What specifically will Reuben be able to contribute?

 

Ingram: �The thing about Reuben, he is pretty decent out of the backfield as a receiver. He does a great job of picking up blitzes. He does a great job of analyzing defenses and things like that. He is also a pretty good student of the game as far as the big picture. So I think overall, being a true, every down type of running back, Reuben can still do those kinds of things. Right now Brandon has continued to prove that he can be an every-down kind of guy in every kind of situation. And the best thing that we did a year ago with Brandon was have him learn the third-down offense, learn the two-minute offense with Eli so Eli could be comfortable with him. He ran his first go-screen last year, he ran a couple of screens for 50 and 40 yards last year. He added another dimension that a lot of people didn�t think he could do. So he was growing and learning. But Reuben has always been able to do those kinds of things. You can�t always peg what Brandon does with what Reuben does. They all can do a few things, one can do things a little bit better than the other and we will see how that goes.�

 

Q: Do you feel confident that Brandon knows the big shoes (of Tiki Barber) he has to fill?

 

Ingram: �It isn�t so much what he has to fill and what he has to offer. We have all been looking at Brandon and we see a fierce, big, dominating type player. And we want to see all that he can do. When he first came to us he was going to be this goal line, short-yardage type of back. We tried to come out last year and say, �Hey Brandon, you can do a lot more.� And he showed some of those kinds of abilities. Now, did we give him an opportunity to do those kinds of things? No. Did that say that he couldn�t do those things? No. Did that say that he couldn�t do those things? No. Now he has a great opportunity. He has learned along the way. He learns through repetitions. You learn from the guy in front of you, you learn from a lot of things that he had to do in practice. And he was a guy we were developing to be an NFL back. Where he came from (Southern Illinois), he had not been exposed to a lot of these things. So it was a comfort zone that he had to get out of. And we feel pretty good about some of the things that he showed a year ago. He has not disappointed us in trying to do some of the things that Tiki had to do. He just hadn�t been given those opportunities on a regular basis. But I think you saw a little of that last year.�

 

Q: It�s going to be a different running style, would you agree? Tiki would go left, then right, you may see more of Brandon north and south, which could be good in the long run power-wise. But it is a little bit different era at the running back position.

 

Ingram: �What we do here is offensive football. We are going to take advantage of what the defense gives us. If the defense forces us one way, we will go the other. That is one thing that was great about Tiki. Many times you saw him go downhill. Tiki was a little back but he played like a big back. And there were runs out there that you saw � really Brandon did the same thing. But Brandon didn�t get as many reps to say, �Oh, wow, he can actually do some of those things.� I think he can do those kinds of things. And I think we move on. Graduation is good and we are going to move on and we are going to see what Brandon can do. We are going to see what this other kid can do. And whoever comes in here � and that is the challenge of all of this � as coaches our success is based on developing people. Now we have developed this guy and we�ll see what he can do.�

 

 

OFFENSIVE LINE COACH PAT FLAHERTY

 

Q: On who will replace Luke Petitgout at left tackle:

 

Flaherty: �There is nothing really in concrete right now as to who is going where. We do have seven guys that have been in the program, counting Guy Whimper. We have to really get back to work here in the OTA days and the mini-camp and through training camp when we put pads on and find out exactly how everything is going to work out. We have confidence that it is going to work out, one way or the other. We have a lot of confidence in the room of the guys that have played, no matter what position they have played. So we are not really ready to answer that question right now. But we do have guys that are improving, young guys like Guy Whimper, who is getting stronger. He is working awfully hard this offseason in the weight room with his technique. There is a guy that hasn�t played a lot of offensive football. Last year helped him very much, because he was able to learn from veterans how to approach the game and also the techniques we use. That is really something that we feel will really benefit him this year. How quick that will come about, we will have to wait and see. We have 19 weeks until we line up. We are going to need every day of that.�

 

Q: When you look at the David Diehl�s quickness, does he have the traits to play the tackle position or do you think that he is best suited to play guard?

 

Flaherty: �David did play right tackle and right guard early in his career. He was very explosive at the guard position. He has played more guard than any other position. So when you play one position more than another, you get in a comfort zone a little bit. That�s what he has done in the past.�

 

Q: Both Tom and Jerry (Reese) said Whimper is an option at left tackle. Are you looking forward to seeing what he can do after a year in the program?

 

Flaherty: �I�m very excited about it. Day in and day out he has been working in the offseason to get to the day where he can compete for a job and that is what the offseason is for. I�m really excited about him. I�m not going to stand here and say that he is ready to take over that position right now, but he surely is working toward that.�

 

Q: Did he play left tackle on the scout team last year?

 

Flaherty: �Every snap that we could possibly give him at left tackle position.�

 

Q: Did that help him a lot?

 

Flaherty: �Sure it does. He is going against Osi (Umenyiora) an awful lot. There are not too many ends that are better than Osi in this league. He did play some right tackle also when we needed him. So he played both tackles. He didn�t play any guard or center. So he has been working at the tackle position.�

 

Q: Is your idea as you go in to try different combinations to see what is best suited?

 

Flaherty: �That is a good point. I think as an offensive lineman you are an offensive lineman. The more positions that you can play in the NFL, the better off you are. As we tell the young guys, the more you can do, the more opportunity you have to get a job. We continue to do that as much as we can without totally throwing the continuity out of whack. There is a certain point, and it is not right now, it�s not the first mini camp where you have to get the continuity. But somewhere in training camp you have to get the five guys playing together that will work for you the first game.�

 

Q: Last year in training camp everyone talked about how everyone on the line had returned from the previous season and how that continuity would help. Now you�ve lost one of your key guys. How does that affect everybody else? Do you lose that continuity now? Or do you keep it because four of the five starters have returned?

 

Flaherty: �Every year is a different year. And as I said last year, every line, every position, every team has a personality. The personality of this offensive line has been developed over the years. But there is more than one guy. It takes five guys. And there are more than five guys in that room. And when you do lose someone it is an opportunity for another guy to step up. Now it is up to that person, whoever it may be, to step up. And as we say, we don�t want to miss a beat. It�s our goal as an offensive line, whoever it is, we are not going to miss a beat. We are going to go. We are ready to roll with it. And that is how we are going to do it. So that is kind of the mentality that we take on the offensive line.�

 

Q: Although you can�t identify him yet, are you confident that you have a left tackle somewhere in that room?

 

Flaherty: There are seven guys in our room that have been here a year or more. Among those seven guys, the answer probably could be in the room, maybe it is outside the room. But we will find the answer somewhere. And right now it is my job to find the answer inside that room with the guys that I have right now as a New York Giant.�

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Q: Were you surprised with the decision to cut Petitgout?

 

Gilbride: �Those decisions are made much higher than where I reside, so I don�t have much to say about it.�

 

wow.... thats not very encouraging... our fuckin offensive coodinator doesn't have any input on what he needs for a sufficient offensive line. great hierarchy they have goin at the giants front office.... not!

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I said there are certain things that runners do better than others. Maybe you emphasize the things that they do more effectively. And I think we feel good about it. Again, there are not many guys that are going to be as big and strong as the running backs that we have. I think that physical component will serve us well. It may not serve us as well in the first quarter as it does in the second or third quarter, when we�ll begin to wear some defenses down. There are certain things that they do better than others. Tiki had a unique vision to me. He was outstanding at seeing things and maybe going opposite the flow of the game and stepping out of the parameter of what the design of the play was. I�m not sure we�re going to have that component, but again, I�m not sure we�re going to find anybody in this league that is as physical as we�re going to get from that position.�

 

Wow... it sounds like Gilbride might actually get it when it comes to the running game. It sounds like he wants to have a really smash-mouth style running attack.

 

Now, if we can just get him to commit to more than 15 carries a game...

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cutting luke was one of the dumbest moves Ive ever seen by a football team...........hmm, we have a young quarterback that still hasnt found his way yet, let get rid of the veteren RT and replace him with a guard....brilliant

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