- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As the New York Giants' offense has sputtered through a miserable season, the victim now of two shutouts before any other team in the league has suffered one, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has again drawn the ire of fans who want him fired. Gilbride has been a member of Coughlin's coaching staff since Coughlin and Eli Manning arrived in New York in 2004, serving as quarterbacks coach for the first two and a half years and offensive coordinator since the middle of 2006. He also was offensive coordinator under Coughlin for the first two years in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars, 1995 and 1996, before leaving to become head coach of the Chargers.
So, given all of that history, it should come as little surprise to know that Coughlin does not appear to be among those who think Gilbride should be fired. Asked whether he still had faith in his offensive coaching staff Monday, Coughlin said, "Yes. Oh yeah."
"It certainly hasn't been a connect-all-the-dots-from-day-one type of year," Coughlin said. "But Kevin's a pro. He's been around. He's done this a long time. We continue to try to find ways to take advantage of things, but it hasn't been easy."
Asked then if he still believes that Gilbride's scheme, philosophy and play calling all can still work, Coughlin said, "That's exactly right."
So that's part of what you need to consider when asking whether Gilbride is on the hot seat: Gilbride is Coughlin's offensive coordinator of choice. Of all of the potential candidates for the job, in the world, this is the one he'd pick. It's also important, as I have mentioned more than once, to consider that Manning believes in Gilbride, his system and his abilities, and that the Giants might not want their franchise quarterback to have to start over with someone new in his 11th year.
Of course, they also might. Once this miserable season comes to an end, it's possible Coughlin will decide a change is needed. It's possible that someone further up the chain will decide that for him, though that could result in an ugly situation between Coughlin and the front office or ownership if he as a head coach is being told he can't pick his own coordinators.
The problems with the Giants' offense this year have a lot more to do with insufficient personnel than they do with Gilbride's philosophies or his ability as a playcaller. But this is also going to be the Giants' first losing season since that 2004 year, and when things bottom out, coaches aren't always safe. I can't handicap what's going to happen with Gilbride or defensive coordinator Perry Fewell once this season ends. But the roots Gilbride has down with this organization and its head coach -- who appears certain to be back -- likely make him more secure than people on the outside might assume he is.