- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said Friday on WFAN Radio that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was not forced out by the organization. Gilbride retired Thursday after the Giants had their worst season with him as the offensive coordinator, as they ranked 28th in points per game.
"The first thing I said to our owners is I'm responsible for the coaches, and to think there's any one individual who is responsible for the circumstances that we found ourselves in, that's crazy," Coughlin said on WFAN Radio on Friday. "Kevin had talked about this a little in the past. I know his wife had been living -- they have a place up in Rhode Island and he goes back and forth, and that's difficult during the season obviously. I think all those things kind of started to wear on Kevin, and he had made the decision that he was going to have this as his last year."
The Giants consistently had a top-10 offense under Gilbride, who took over as the offensive coordinator in 2007, but things did not go well this season. The Giants struggled offensively, with Eli Manning throwing a career-worst 27 interceptions, and all of the skill players outside of Victor Cruz did not play up to their standards. The offensive line and running game weren't productive either.
Coughlin has started researching candidates to replace Gilbride. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn are safe at the moment.
"I'm in the process. I'm gathering information," Coughlin said. "We'll deal with that."
Here are some other highlights from the interview:
Cruz said recently that the receivers and Manning had a little bit of a disconnect this season. Coughlin seemed to echo those thoughts.
"You lost an element of trust, in a couple of ways," Coughlin said. "When an individual turns the ball down or when a recognized route adjustment is not followed and the quarterback throws the ball in anticipation and it becomes an interception. You have things of this nature happen. It seems we had too many of them happen at the beginning of the season."
Coughlin didn't have an explanation for Hakeem Nicks' down year. Nicks, a free agent, caught 56 passes for 896 yards and zero touchdowns.
"It just didn't happen for him. We all scratch our heads over that one," Coughlin said. "He had certain things happen this year to him. I'm not talking about injuries, I'm just talking about being in situations where the ball would be and perhaps a couple of times he didn't go for the ball, and a couple of other times he wasn't able to get himself open on a continuous basis. It wasn't a very productive year as much as we would like to think."
Coughlin said the team is looking further into moving rookie right tackle Justin Pugh to left tackle. Coughlin said he had an "outstanding" year and that the team wants him to add 10-12 pounds.
Coughlin is optimistic Jason Pierre-Paul will bounce back to form. Pierre-Paul missed the last five games with a shoulder injury that could need surgery.
"We think that whatever has to be done here, whether it's surgical or non-surgical circumstances, he'll be full-speed next year," Coughlin said. "I think he's hungry to play and to prove himself."