The players are locked out, the owners have their books locked up, draft prospects face the ethical dilemma of whether or not to attend the draft, and every football writer in America is trying to come up with interesting stories about what it all means. It’s the strangest offseason any of us have ever seen.
But for the coaches? Apparently it’s pretty close to business as usual.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride spoke at a banquet on Wednesday night as the Giants and BP honored the 2010 high school coaches of the week, and I asked him what exactly those locked out players are missing at this point.
“We’re hoping that they’re doing the things that they’d be doing here with us: The lifting, the running, those kinds of things. Taking care of their body and getting physically ready,” Gilbride said. “And then it reaches a point where you lead into the cutups and you get onto the field. But we wouldn’t be there yet. The big thing for us as coaches, we haven’t skipped a beat. We’re doing it as if nothing is different. We’re finishing up our cutups, we finished our free agent evaluations, doing the prep for the draft eligibles, getting ready for practices so that whenever they come back, we’re ready. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.”
You might think that this will be the most heavily-scrutinized draft class in NFL history, what with all those coaches able to devote all of their time to the process. But Gilbride said not necessarily.
“We spent the same amount of time (on the draft),” he said. “We went through the free agency assessment just as if (it were going to happen). We haven’t changed anything. We’re going as we’ve always gone, as if nothing’s different.”
Gilbride wasn’t giving away any big state secrets when he told the high school coaches - - a group of 11 that included St. Anthony’s Rich Reichert – that the Giants have an eye on Mike Pouncey from Florida. In fact Pouncey was in Sirius NFL Radio this evening talking about the Giants’ interest in him. With Shaun O’Hara, Adam Koets and Rich Seubert all having offseason surgeries, the interior of the offensive line will be a definite need for the team.
That’s what’s different, Gilbride said. While he noted that “everything is pure speculation” and that the offensive coordinator has very little say in overall personnel strategies, he suspects as we all do that teams will have to be more focused on what they need in this draft rather than just looking for value.
“It’s the exact opposite,” he said. “You’re going to draft for need and then you’re going to fill in with free agents. Before you started with your free agents and then you filled in with the draft. You flip-flopped.”