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Saturday, December 4, 2010
First drive isn't just all about touchdowns to Gilbride

By Matt Ehalt

The Giants opening drives haven’t exactly gone to script.

As offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will tell you, the obvious and No. 1 objective of the first drive is to score a touchdown. Yet, the Giants are 0-for-11 in attempts this season, with six punts, four turnovers and a field goal on their opening drives. The field goal even took 11 weeks to accomplish, coming in last week’s win against Jacksonville.

Even with the struggles, though, Gilbride isn’t panicking that the Giants have failed to put up seven on an opening drive this season. There’s more than just points that matter to an offensive coordinator opening drive.

“Certainly you want to score, that’s the obvious objective,” Gilbride said. “But secondly, how much information can I gleam from what we’re showing because we’re going to use a lot of different thing to try to find out or get a sense of how they’re going to try to defend this personnel grouping, this formation and that serves us pretty well down the road and it’s been pretty beneficial.”

Gilbride said he usually scripts the first 15 plays of the game and will stray from that script if the Giants accomplish what he feels needs to be done. He used the example of the Giants 41-7 win vs. Seattle on Nov. 7 as a game where he called off the set plays early. The Giants had moved the ball 32 yards in five plays before tight end Kevin Boss fumbled and in that short set of plays, Gilbride was able to get a sense of Seattle’s defensive packages. The Giants scored touchdowns on their next five drives.

While not all gameplans will go so smoothly and lead to a 41-point outburst, the Giants have scored four times on their second drive of the season, showing improvement from the opening drive. It’s all part of the process of the opening drive, even if it doesn’t lead to points.

“A very important part is to try to get a sense of what they’re doing defensively, schematically,” Gilbride said. “And then be able to adjust and do the things necessary to win and score some points and we’ve been pretty good at that.”