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John Mara praises Kevin Gilbride's contribution to Giants

Giants co-owner John Mara, left, and general manager

Giants co-owner John Mara, left, and general manager Jerry Reese watch rookie minicamp at the Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on May 11, 2012. Credit: Getty

Giants co-owner John Mara sat down with the recently retired Kevin Gilbride a few days ago and told the longtime offensive coordinator he did excellent work with the Giants.

"He did an outstanding job for this franchise and I told him that," Mara said in an interview Thursdayon WFAN. "People have short memories. They forget that he called two Super Bowls. There's no question our offense didn't play well [this season] . . . but I don't want to diminish what Kevin did for this franchise. We wouldn't have won two Super Bowls without him."

That said, Mara believes the Giants will be better off now that they're in the market for an offensive coordinator. Change for its own sake, at least in this case, could be good.

"I think there are times when you have to, yes," Mara said. "Nothing lasts forever. Teams adjust to what you're doing and sometimes you have to have some new ideas in there."

Gilbride's retirement last week allowed the Giants to avoid the potentially uncomfortable decision of firing him. Tom Coughlin had expressed support for Gilbride immediately after the season ended.

"He retired,'' Mara said, "and fortunately it didn't come to any situation where he had to be forced out."

The Giants are interviewing candidates for offensive coordinator. Among them are former Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, former Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo.

Mara said the Giants will look to make several upgrades on offense, particularly the line, which was beset by injuries and the advancing age of Chris Snee and David Diehl. Mara and general manager Jerry Reese, who also was interviewed on WFAN, said they will pursue personnel options through free agency and the draft.

"We're going to do it the best way we can," Reese said. "If we have to throw some money to offensive linemen , we'll do it that way. There are always offensive linemen in the draft. It's a position we have to address, along with a lot of other positions. When you're 7-9, there are personnel issues you have to address."

Mara said he likes the idea of maintaining coaching continuity with Coughlin, who will be back next season, the final year of his contract. It is uncertain if Coughlin, 67, will be given an extension.

Mara said he doesn't view age as a negative in Coughlin's situation. "There will come a time when we have to look at that, but I don't think age is so much of a factor as I think that we'll both know ," Mara said. "He still has the energy of a young man. He wanted to win as much as anybody, and I think the players still listen to him. He didn't all of a sudden forget how to coach. He's as good a coach as there is out there. Let's see if we can get him help by getting some better personnel."

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