One of the other subjects that Kevin Gilbride was asked about – and will continue to be asked about until football returns – is the season that Eli Manning had in 2010. The number that jumps out right away from his statistics was the 25 interceptions. Having gone over each of them in detail, Gilbride said there isn’t just one factor in the inflated stat. But, he did echo the thoughts of Tom Coughlin a few weeks ago who said that there were a lot of times when Manning needed to take the sack and live to fight another day.
“A combination of poor judgment and trying to force some things,” Gilbride said. “Where he’s under duress a couple of times and you see him with the poor judgment, he’s spinning around and trying to make a play. You have to sometimes accept the sack. He protects the line and there’s not as many sacks statistically. But would you rather have a sack or would you rather have a turnover? That’s the way you have to look at it.
“We had some tips and those things. If there was a tipped ball this year it seemed like it was intercepted. Sometimes you have the fortuitous bounce where it’s tipped and it falls harmlessly somewhere. It never happened this year.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things but I know that (Manning) prides himself in overcoming whatever obstacles are in his path. Every other statistic it’s his best year ever. That’s what people don’t realize. They want to always focus on the negative. Yeah, that’s something we need to address and he’s got to improve. But to be honest with you, his passing statistics, the average gain per pass play, the amount of yardage, all those things are the best he’s ever had. In all those areas, if you took out half of the picks it would be a phenomenal, phenomenal year. So that’s what we have to do next year.”
How do you eliminate the interceptions and the turnovers in general?
“It’s the judgment of making good decisions of when the ceiling of that particular play was a throwaway or a sack,” Gilbride said. “Just let it go. Just like when we talk to the running backs with the fumbles. If you’re getting held up by three guys, for you to be fighting for the extra half yard, the odds are pretty good that you’re going to turn the ball over because the next guy in is going to punch it out. You have to know. You want to fight for every inch to certain point, until the prospects of what you can gain from that play (are lower than) and what the negatives are. You have to be intelligent enough to say ‘Hey, I got out of this play all I can get out of it.’ Maybe all I can get out of it is a throwaway. Maybe that’s all it is. Maybe it’s a sack. He’s smart enough that he’ll do fine with that stuff. He knows it. It just all of a sudden became too many.
“When you think about what we accomplished, with the turnovers, with the injuries, it’s almost incredible to be the fifth-best offense in that league and set an all-time record for offensive production in the history of this organization. We did a lot of great things.”