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Summer reading for Kevin Gilbride Written by Glenn Warciski Saturday, 24 July 2010 00:00 Helpful hints for Kevin Gilbride. Promoted in late 2006, and for three entire seasons, Kevin Gilbride has been the Giants offensive coordinator. Because of his questionable play calling, he has become an anathema on this site. Despite Eli Manning's improved play as a quarterback and the offense overall, the Giants red zone touchdown percentage continues to be an ongoing problem. Under Gilbride, the Giants can move the football from 20 yard line to 20 yard line. However, once they get into the red zone, the Giants self destruct. Is it the play calling? or Is it the execution?

 

In the 2009 NFC Divisional playoff between the Giants and Eagles, the Giants had FIVE opportunities to score touchdowns in Eagles territory. They were 0 for 3 in the red zone. As a result of their incompetence in this area, the Giants had to settle for three John Carney field goals. And the two other drives ended in missed field goals. At the time, I gave Gilbride the benefit of the doubt. It was my opinion, the major issue was lack of execution and not play calling. On the other hand, with three seasons under his belt as coordinator, Gilbride has a troubling trend in the red zone.

 

Giants TD Percentage in Red Zone- NFL ranking

 

2007- 12th

 

2008-20th

 

2009-21st

 

Each year, the Giants have gotten progressively worse. Inexplicably, Gilbride has not made the necessary adjustments. Since Gilbride has not come up with answers to solve this problem, nonetheless, I have come up with some suggestions.

 

1. Use Deception: In the book Namath written by Mark Kriegel, Joe Namath's high school coach Larry Bruno said, "I believe in faking." "Magic is the same as football, " he says. "Now you see it, now you don't. It's all misdirection." Under Bruno, quarterbacks were expected to fake flawlessly. The hand went into the back's belly, wrist deep-always wrist deep. You had to sell a fake. You had to get them looking the other way. It all came down to sleight of hand. Small, subtle movements caused a defense to suspend its disbelief. Fakes froze the linebackers. Now you see it, now you don't. You can't tackle the guy with the ball if you don't know who has it. The offense began with the fake. The fake began with the quarterback.

 

Generally speaking, the Giants are a running team. And when they get into the red zone, using the play action pass would keep the defense honest. Over the past three season, how many times has Eli used play action in the red zone? Several times? I am sure followers of this blog can name the exact amount of times play action was used. And Eli should be using play action all the time. The Giants inability to score touchdowns in the red zone has been their tragic flaw. Unless Gilbride starts employing more play action, the Giants will continue to stumble in this area.

 

2. The Art of Play Calling- In this excellent article, Thomas George interviewed Bill Walsh. This is Bill Walsh on play calling:

 

''I was also an assistant with the Raiders and we were playing Denver,'' Walsh said. ''Denver blitzed on every play. Tom Flores was our quarterback. He hit maybe 6 out of 20 passes for 160 yards. But he hit four long touchdown passes and we won, 28-0. That game left a mark on me, because we hadn't planned it or practiced it that way. That's showing adaptability to what defenses are trying to do to you.''

 

One of Gilbride's flaws as a play caller is his inability to adapt. In a 2008 regular season game, the Eagles stymied the Giants potent offense at the Meadowlands. Even though the final score was 20-14, the game was not even close. And with a week to prepare for the Eagles for their upcoming playoff match up, Gilbride did not make adjustments. The Giants would go on to lose to the Eagles again-in the playoffs. Is it poor preparation? Is it his ego getting in the way? Like in the the aforementioned Eagles games, he continued to use running and passing plays which were not working. As Bill Walsh stated in the above link, "If you get a coach calling the plays who's trying to prove his philosophies in his area, you're in trouble.'' I think this is what gets Gilbride in trouble.

 

3. Bill Walsh on Randomizing- From Advanced NFL Stats, Bill Walsh discussed randomizing play selections.

 

"We know that if they don't blitz one down, they're going to blitz the next down. Automatically. When you get down in there, every other play. They'll seldom blitz twice in a row, but they'll blitz every other down. If we go a series where there haven't been blitzes on the first two downs, here comes the safety blitz on third down."

 

Brian Burke, creator of Advanced NFL Stats, summed up the main points about randomizing.

 

  1. Offenses need to be unpredictable to be effective.
  2. Plays need to be random both with respect to previous instances of the same down/distance situation and with respect to previous plays.
  3. NFL offenses show evidence of patterns, even when holding for situational effects.
  4. Coaches don't seem to be aware of the patterns, and they can be exploited.
  5. And lastly, the only true countermeasure is to somehow inject genuine randomness into play calls.

In 2010, if Gilbride does not modify his play calling especially in the red zone area, the Giants will continue to lose games. If these red zone woes continue, Gilbride will be out of a job.

 

 

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Actually, compared to the Jim Fassel/Kerry Collins years, our red zone efficiently has improved drastically.

 

That's a really fair point.

 

I'm not sure Gilbride is as bad as everybody makes him out to be. Yes, he does some inexplicably stupid things sometimes (three straight passes into a 30 MPH headwind when your RB has just ripped off 28 and 17 yard runs) but overall it could be a lot worse.

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That's a really fair point.

 

I'm not sure Gilbride is as bad as everybody makes him out to be. Yes, he does some inexplicably stupid things sometimes (three straight passes into a 30 MPH headwind when your RB has just ripped off 28 and 17 yard runs) but overall it could be a lot worse.

I agree. He does do some head-scratching things.

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I agree. He does do some head-scratching things.

 

See.. that's what's confusing.. on the one hand we ask him to surprise the defense... and by definition.. a surprise leaves you scratching your head.. then when he does it, we bitch about it anyway lol.

 

Personally, I think it has much to do with the Oline being pushed back... Parcells once said that teams knew what play we were gonna run... n we ran it anyway... smashmouth. Also, Barden can be a huge upgrade... only to keep the defense honest.

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See.. that's what's confusing.. on the one hand we ask him to surprise the defense... and by definition.. a surprise leaves you scratching your head.. then when he does it, we bitch about it anyway lol.

 

Personally, I think it has much to do with the Oline being pushed back... Parcells once said that teams knew what play we were gonna run... n we ran it anyway... smashmouth. Also, Barden can be a huge upgrade... only to keep the defense honest.

I mean "head-scratching" like the time he had Eli throw 50 times during a windstorm in Giants Stadium against Washington a couple of years ago.

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. Use Deception: In the book Namath written by Mark Kriegel, Joe Namath's high school coach Larry Bruno said, "I believe in faking." "Magic is the same as football, " he says. "Now you see it, now you don't. It's all misdirection." Under Bruno, quarterbacks were expected to fake flawlessly. The hand went into the back's belly, wrist deep-always wrist deep. You had to sell a fake. You had to get them looking the other way. It all came down to sleight of hand. Small, subtle movements caused a defense to suspend its disbelief. Fakes froze the linebackers. Now you see it, now you don't. You can't tackle the guy with the ball if you don't know who has it. The offense began with the fake. The fake began with the quarterback.

i've been saying this forever. a little deception at the goal line, you're in. defense can't react fast enough.

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Actually, compared to the Jim Fassel/Kerry Collins years, our red zone efficiently has improved drastically.

 

can't be that drastic, there's only 32 teams

 

 

Giants TD Percentage in Red Zone- NFL ranking

 

2007- 12th

 

2008-20th

 

2009-21st

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Actually, compared to the Jim Fassel/Kerry Collins years, our red zone efficiently has improved drastically.

 

 

thats a good point but the 50 yard line was considered the red zone under Collins he would launch it too the end zone, and thats what killed the Giants against Baltimore they dropped 10 deep and picked him off four times

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and its the play calling with Gilbride, its always three straight HB draws in the red zone, and lets play it safe by brining out the kicker :jerkoff: the TD's we do score are because Eli sees a one on one matchup he likes and calls an audible, we should just give Eli the play calling duties,like Indy does with Peyton. The Plex TD catch in the super bowl was an audible by Eli, the original call was a hb draw which NE was expecting, they stacked 8 guys in the box, Eli seen Plaxico one on one on the outside and threw the best fade pass ever :thumbs:

 

 

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and its the play calling with Gilbride, its always three straight HB draws in the red zone, and lets play it safe by brining out the kicker :jerkoff: the TD's we do score are because Eli sees a one on one matchup he likes and calls an audible, we should just give Eli the play calling duties,like Indy does with Peyton. The Plex TD catch in the super bowl was an audible by Eli, the original call was a hb draw which NE was expecting, they stacked 8 guys in the box, Eli seen Plaxico one on one on the outside and threw the best fade pass ever :thumbs:

 

 

You're quite the moron.

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thats a good point but the 50 yard line was considered the red zone under Collins he would launch it too the end zone, and thats what killed the Giants against Baltimore they dropped 10 deep and picked him off four times

 

Wrong on pretty much every account.

 

1 interception was off a 3 step drop and Duane Starks stepped in front of Ike Hilliard.

1 Interception was tipped by Ray Lewis into Jamie Sharper's hands...yet again on a 3 step drop.

1 interception was picked off by Chris McCallister in the endzone.

 

I don't remember the 4th interception and I don't fucking want too, either.

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i've been saying this forever. a little deception at the goal line, you're in. defense can't react fast enough.

 

 

There is a clause in Mr. Run and Guns contract..."Thou shalt not use play action or thou shalt suffer a grave calamity beyond that of Job" :unsure:

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thats a good point but the 50 yard line was considered the red zone under Collins he would launch it too the end zone, and thats what killed the Giants against Baltimore they dropped 10 deep and picked him off four times

 

 

Ayup....that and the still waiting to see it hold committed by Keith Hamilton... :ranting2:

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can't be that drastic, there's only 32 teams

 

 

Giants TD Percentage in Red Zone- NFL ranking

 

2007- 12th

 

2008-20th

 

2009-21st

I'm having a real problem finding that stat for Fassel/Collins years. The only one I've found so far was this:

2001-29th

 

But it's not enough to show that this was a consistent problem, although I know it was. I need to keep looking.

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All right, Blu. Gave up on the one stat, but could you humor me with another? Football Outsiders has something called "Drive Stats." Contained in that chart is a stat called TDs/Drive. I think it's a reasonable assessment for this particular conversation, yes? I went back to 1999, which was Collins first year with us, and he did play 10 games. The number in parenthesis is the league ranking. Some notables: 2000 was Sean Payton's first year at OC, 2003 was the year Collins went down, and Hufnagle was OC 2004-2006.

 

1999- .144 (22)

2000- .211 (8)

2001- .156 (21)

2002- .183 (22)

2003- .115 (32)

2004- .167 (23)

2005- .211 (12)

2006- .209 (10)

2007- .208 (14)

2008- .250 (6)

2009- .233 (10)

 

I want to point out that in all three of Gilbride's years here, he has had this offense score touchdowns at a greater clip than in 2002, which is the year I constantly hear as the year the Giants offense returned to "Giants football." It's also important to keep in mind that the offense played from behind in a majority of games in 2009, negating our running game to a degree.

 

What is most surprising to me is the level of offensive improvement even under Hufnagel--with the exception of Manning's rookie year, his rate rivals Payton's best year with us.

 

But going from an average of .162 to .230 (scoring TDs 23% of the times you have possession rather than 16%) is a rather significant bump.

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All right, Blu. Gave up on the one stat, but could you humor me with another? Football Outsiders has something called "Drive Stats." Contained in that chart is a stat called TDs/Drive. I think it's a reasonable assessment for this particular conversation, yes? I went back to 1999, which was Collins first year with us, and he did play 10 games. The number in parenthesis is the league ranking. Some notables: 2000 was Sean Payton's first year at OC, 2003 was the year Collins went down, and Hufnagle was OC 2004-2006.

 

1999- .144 (22)

2000- .211 (8)

2001- .156 (21)

2002- .183 (22)

2003- .115 (32)

2004- .167 (23)

2005- .211 (12)

2006- .209 (10)

2007- .208 (14)

2008- .250 (6)

2009- .233 (10)

 

I want to point out that in all three of Gilbride's years here, he has had this offense score touchdowns at a greater clip than in 2002, which is the year I constantly hear as the year the Giants offense returned to "Giants football." It's also important to keep in mind that the offense played from behind in a majority of games in 2009, negating our running game to a degree.

 

What is most surprising to me is the level of offensive improvement even under Hufnagel--with the exception of Manning's rookie year, his rate rivals Payton's best year with us.

 

But going from an average of .162 to .230 (scoring TDs 23% of the times you have possession rather than 16%) is a rather significant bump.

 

i'm not a gilbride hater. but the red zone is not his strong suit. and i think it's easily repairable if they stop trying to ram it down the D's throat. maybe that's coughlin, who knows?

 

 

i well remember when fassel was there, we were the best team in the league between the 20's.

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i'm not a gilbride hater. but the red zone is not his strong suit. and i think it's easily repairable if they stop trying to ram it down the D's throat. maybe that's coughlin, who knows?

 

 

i well remember when fassel was there, we were the best team in the league between the 20's.

You know, I'm almost disappointed. When I wrote this:

I think it's a reasonable assessment for this particular conversation, yes?

 

I was almost expecting you to say "no." :P

 

Fair enough about the red zone.

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Wrong on pretty much every account.

 

1 interception was off a 3 step drop and Duane Starks stepped in front of Ike Hilliard.

1 Interception was tipped by Ray Lewis into Jamie Sharper's hands...yet again on a 3 step drop.

1 interception was picked off by Chris McCallister in the endzone.

 

I don't remember the 4th interception and I don't fucking want too, either.

when Lewis tipped it too Sharper it wasn't at the line of scrimmage it was still thirty yards downfield, two of them were on slant patterns and the one on the goal line was just a heave into triple coverage

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBdHk2ggyXc

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You know, I'm almost disappointed. When I wrote this:

 

 

I was almost expecting you to say "no." :P

 

Fair enough about the red zone.

 

my business partner uses that "yes?" at the end of her sentences as an assumptive close. i'm immune to those by now.

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