The Giants offensive performance in 2013 came under fire from owner John Mara this week when Mara called the unit “broken” and wondered why wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan didn’t get a chance to play until the season was well past salvaging for the Giants.
During an appearance on WFAN Friday, Coach Tom Coughlin said that the team did not overlook Jernigan and cited several reasons why he was buried on the depth chart until the end of the year. Coughlin also said that former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who retired Thursday amid many calls for his head in New York and New Jersey, was not forced out of his job.
Gilbride’s gone, but quarterback Eli Manning remains and Coughlin was also asked about his play in a season that ended with a league-high 27 interceptions. Coughlin said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, that Manning “lost an element of trust” with his receivers over the course of the year. There were many post-interception conversations between receivers and Manning that made it clear they was missing communication about what routes to run and there were also instances when receivers didn’t appear to fight quite as hard for passes as they could have.
Hakeem Nicks was responsible for some of those plays and Coughlin said the team is scratching its collective head about why Nicks had such a poor season. That probably won’t help Nicks, an impending free agent, return to the team in 2014, but whoever is catching Manning’s passes is going to be charged with doing a better job of being on the same page as Manning.