- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Count wide receiver Victor Cruz among those who would welcome Mike Sullivan back to the New York Giants' coaching staff as offensive coordinator. Speaking at a promotional event in New York on Wednesday, Cruz disputed the notion that the Giants need major scheme changes on offense and said he thought Sullivan could succeed by putting a fresh face on the same system Kevin Gilbride was running. Per The Star-Ledger:
"I think it’s just his familiarity with our personnel, with our offense, the one we had. Obviously, he’s running a similar offense with Tampa Bay but I’m sure he’ll have some tweaks here or there. I just think we need a refresher, I think, more so than people needing a whole big name. A refreshing face that we know, one we’re all comfortable with, and we can go from there."
Sullivan was fired last week as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator along with head coach Greg Schiano. Prior to joining Schiano with the Buccaneers, he was the Giants' quarterbacks coach. He was scheduled to interview Wednesday for the offensive coordinator position, as was former Titans offensive coordinator Lowell Doggains. But Sullivan's familiarity with the terminology and principles on which the Giants' offense is based brings up interesting points pro and con about his candidacy.
If you believe, as Cruz does, that the system doesn't need an overhaul but could benefit from a new voice directing it, then Sullivan makes sense. Head coach Tom Coughlin's influence on the offense is significant, and that's not likely to change, so hiring a coordinator who knows how to run what Coughlin likes to run makes sense. Quarterback Eli Manning has operated within that same system since entering the league in 2004, and some have suggested that Manning might not want to change.
But I'm not sure on that last point. I think there's a chance Manning would welcome a chance to see what he could do in a new scheme after 10 years. There's a possibility that he's plateaued and would benefit from a new challenge, or a system that plays to different strengths of his. If that's the case, and if you agree with what team owner John Mara said last week about the offense being "broken," then you have to wonder whether a greater overhaul is warranted.
Whoever the Giants hire for offensive coordinator will need major personnel upgrades at offensive line, running back, tight end and likely wide receiver in order to succeed. And again, my expectation is that any changes to the scheme will be minor as long as the team remains committed to Coughlin as its head coach, which it does. But it's fair to at least ask the question of whether that's the right way to go.