Coordinator Corner: Gilbride Says Manning Not Sole Reason for Offense’s Struggles

Jim Mancari, Contributor

Here’s a good strategy for an offense: Actually get the ball into your opponent’s territory.

The Giants did not accomplish that feat until the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, so it’s up to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to figure out how to move the ball.

Of course, five more interceptions from Eli Manning didn’t help, but it wasn’t all his fault.

“The bottom line is that we all have to do better,” Gilbride said. “He’s (Manning) doing the best he can. Could he perform better in some cases? Sure. Could the line perform better? Sure. Could the receivers perform better? Sure. Could I have called some plays differently that would have helped them out? Yeah.

“We’re all contributors to this thing, just like when we have success, we’re all part of the reason for the success. I always feel badly because certain positions always get singled out because everybody is always looking to assign the blame. It’s not as simple as that. The bottom line is that we have to do well enough to win a game.”

Gilbride said he still has the utmost confidence in Manning, especially seeing the way he prepares each week. But he said the offense has to perform as a unit for Eli to be successful.

“It’s not like defense,” Gilbride said. “In defense, if one guy beats a block, he can go and compensate for everybody. Here, all eleven guys have to play well enough to give the guy who has the ball the chance to perform, to function, at a high enough efficiency level. Trust me, Eli is going to be prepared. He’ll know exactly what to do. He’ll try to do whatever he can, but we all have to do our part too.”

With Victor Cruz done for the season, Jerrel Jernigan will take his place in the slot. Jernigan will have the opportunity to showcase these final two games whether or not the Giants view him as a possibility to return next year.

Michael Cox should also get some carries in the absence of Peyton Hillis. These young guys need to make the most of their opportunities, so these games are far from meaningless to them.

The Giants’ offensive line will also be banged up this week – which it’s basically been all season. The Lions have one of the game’s best pass rushes, so this certainly does not look like a favorable matchup for Big Blue.

“If they (Lions’ front four) can get your quarterback to step up, you have those two monsters (Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh) upfront that are pushing the pile back,” Gilbride said. “There’s a reason people haven’t run the ball very well. There’s a reason they get after people very well with their front. They’re good.”

Even after the brutal loss Sunday, Tom Coughlin and Manning both expressed their confidence in Gilbride. The trio has been together for such a long time and yes it has produced two Super Bowls, but this year has been painful to watch, and Gilbride understands that.

“I think they (Coughlin and Manning) know that we’ve performed in a lot of games for 25 years, doing what we’ve done,” Gilbride said. “All I care about is now. What are we doing now and the struggles that we have now. What can I do to help this team succeed, that’s my only focus.”

That focus will be put to the test this Sunday when Big Blue heads to Detroit.

Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.

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