Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has been a frequent target of criticism for the team's dismal showing this season, but embattled quarterback Eli Manning wants to see Gilbride return in 2014.
"I definitely don't want change and think he's a terrific offensive coordinator," Manning told Newsday Wednesday. "Kevin has been my quarterback coach from Day One and my offensive coordinator. It's been a lot of his offensive stuff from Day One."
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Asked directly if he hopes Gilbride comes back, Manning said: "Yeah, of course. He's my coach, the only one I've had, and that's the offense I know."
It hasn't been an easy season for the quarterback or the play-caller. Manning has 25 interceptions, tied for his worst ever, and on Sunday he threw a career-high five picks in a 23-0 loss to the Seahawks.
But Manning and Gilbride also have been together for some of the greatest moments in Giants history. Gilbride was the play-caller in the Giants' Super Bowl championships after the 2007 and 2011 seasons; Manning was the Super Bowl MVP in each game. Manning hopes to see the relationship continue.
"Obviously, John Hufnagel was the original offensive coordinator [2004-06], but during that time Kevin was in the quarterback room, so I was dealing with him day to day. He's been a great source for me and we kind of think the same way on a lot of things."
Gilbride, who was Manning's first quarterbacks coach in 2004 and then replaced Hufnagel late in the 2006 season, has the continued support of coach Tom Coughlin.
Asked Monday if he still had faith in the offensive coaches, Coughlin said, "Yes, oh yeah . . . It certainly hasn't been a connect all the dots from Day One type of year. Kevin's a pro, he's been around, he's done this a long time. We try to find ways to take advantage of things. It hasn't been easy."
Coughlin said he believes the scheme, philosophy and play-calling should work with the Giants' offense, which has been plagued by injuries all season. "That's exactly right," he said.
Manning believes Gilbride can and should be part of the solution moving forward.
"It's his offense. That's the only offense I know," Manning said. "I think we work well together and I have great respect for everything he's done."