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New York Giants: Why Kevin Gilbride Is Unfairly Criticized by Fans

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New York Giants: Why Kevin Gilbride Is Unfairly Criticized by Fans
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Kevin Gilbride has been Tom Coughlin's right hand man through the Giants recent success.

Giants fans disagree on many things. Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz? Bill Parcells or Tom Coughlin? Chase Blackburn, impact player or overrated? 

One opinion, that most Big Blue supporters share is that Kevin Gilbride is a bad offensive coordinator. Some think he runs the ball too much, others think he airs it out too often and many believe he is the main reason why the Giants don't consistently succeed in the red zone. He is not so affectionately referred to by the Giants fan base as "Kevin Killdrive."

This popular belief simply doesn't match reality. Since Gilbride took over as offensive coordinator at the start of the 2007 season (he was the quarterbacks coach from 2004-06), the Giants have won two Super Bowls, eight playoff games and compiled a regular season record of 57-36. The main reason for this success has been the prowess of the offense. Check out below how New York's offense has fared during Gilbride's tenure:

Year Total Offense Points Per Game
2007 16th in the NFL - 331.4 yds. per game 14th in the NFL - 373 total points
2008 7th in the NFL - 355.9 yds. per game 4th in the NFL - 427 total points
2009 8th in the NFL - 366 yds. per game 8th in the NFL - 402 total points
2010 5th in the NFL - 380.3 yds. per game 7th in the NFL - 394 total points
2011 8th in the NFL - 385.1 yds. per game 8th in the NFL - 394 total points
2012* 8th in the NFL - 372.9 yds. per game 3rd in the NFL - 373 total points
 

*Games completed through Dec. 9th

 

With the exception of 2007, the Giants have ranked eighth or better in both total offense and points scored every year Gilbride has been running the unit. This year there is a very real chance they score the most points in Giants history for a 16-game season (the NFL switched to the 16-game slate in 1978). They trail the current record established in 2008 by only 54 points with three games left.

To be fair, the Giants have provided Gilbride with plenty of talent: an upper echelon quarterback, above-average running backs, good to elite wide receivers and a largely effective offensive line, especially from 2007-2010. It is still impressive though to bring out the best in this talent through an effective system that consistently produces a top notch offense.

The numbers are not the only thing that backs up Gilbride and dispels the belief that he stinks at his job. Ex-Giants wideout Amani Toomer sung his former coordinator's praises last February before New York took on New England in the Super Bowl, as seen in the quote below courtesy of Ed Valentine at Big Blue View:

I think he's great. Some of the stuff that he runs, the plays, the concepts that he came up with -- it's really unstoppable...If you have guys that understand the system it's unstoppable.

Now if your thinking that Toomer is just being a shill for a member of his former team, think again. He has proven in his post-playing broadcasting career that he can be critical of Giants personnel, as he showed when he stated this past July that Tony Romo is a better quarterback than Eli Manning. 

Do you think that Kevin Gilbride is a good offensive coordinator?

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Toomer is not the only former player that is a Gilbride fan. Mark Brunell, who played under Gilbride in 1995 and 1996 when he was the Jaguars offensive coordinator, believes he is a great offensive mind as well.

Personally, I think that Gilbride is a good offensive coordinator. He stays committed to the run even when the Giants are trailing early in games, he takes shots down the field and he has always effectively utilized the tight end. I only have two criticisms of him—he throws the ball deep too much on 3rd-and-short situations and he doesn't use the screen pass enough. Other than that, he is clearly one of the best offensive coordinators in the game.

It's time to find a new punching bag Giants fans because Gilbride is simply too good at his job to be the target. 

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