Tight Ends Coach Kevin Gilbride
September 16, 2017
Q: How did it work out to keep four tight ends on the 53-man roster?
A: It’s not really my decision. So, what I talk to my players about, was to make sure that they put their best foot forward, so they’re one of the best 53. And then, based on how you’ve got to fit the roster, the best 53 made the roster.
Q: Do you work a lot with Shane Smith?
A: Not that much, no. He’s in the fullback position, so he’s in the running back room. He has done a little bit of scout team with the tight ends, though, which is good. Helping us out.
Q: How do you think Evan Engram looked in his debut?
A: For a rookie playing in his first game in that environment, I thought he handled himself very well. Had some poise about him. There were a lot of things that need to be cleaned up after the game, from a technique standpoint. He had zero mental errors, made the plays that were there to be made. So, I was happy with his first game. Now he’s got to take a big step in the second game.
Q: How do you think Rhett Ellison played against Dallas, especially in blocking?
A: Similar [to Engram]. For his first game with a new team, with a new system in that environment, I thought he played well. But again, there were technique issues and little fundamental things that we hadn’t seen out of him, that took a step back in the game that I think he’ll improve on moving forward.
Q: Does the tight end room take it as a challenge when the running game is struggling?
A: Very much so. Take it to heart. That’s across the board. It’s every position, including the wide receivers and the quarterbacks, as far as directing the run. So yeah, we take it very personally. We want to make sure that we take care of our job and at times, in conjunction with the offensive line when we’re working together.
Q: What does using two tight end sets add to the offense?
A: I think it adds a significant amount. Just to be able to change personnel groups and have the different personnel groups, it’s so much more for the defense to prepare for. You can transition in and out from the different personnel groups, now they have to transition in and out of their substitutions. A lot more for the defensive coordinator to have to think about and a lot more for the defense to have to process.
Q: What do you remember of the Giants 2007 Super Bowl run?
A: I was at Temple University. I was in my first year at Temple University. I’ll start here. After the [NFC] Championship Game, it was my father’s first Super Bowl. He had been to the playoffs many times. We were so proud, I immediately called my sister and we were tearing up. So proud of him and all that he’s gone through and all he’s battled through in this league. And then to have the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl was tremendous for him. And then winning it was unbelievable. So, it was a very, very special time for our family.
Q: As a coach, what kind of lessons can you take from that 2007 Giants team that you can bring to this year’s team?
A: Not being a part of it, I can’t really comment that much on it. I know from the 2011 [Super Bowl] year – I can speak on that because I was here for that – just the way that team came together was really impressive down the stretch and you always preach that. Each year is going to be a different year, you’ve got to find your team and they’ve got to find a way to come together and play well.
Q: Is there any concern about Evan being one type of tight end and Rhett the other that when they’re on the field together or separate that maybe you’re tipping your hand to a defense?
A: You certainly can. That is something that you have to worry about as a coach. We’ve done a nice job so far, as far as mixing the personnel groups and having Evan in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see him and having Rhett in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see him. I think we will continue to do that moving forward so there are no tendencies.
Q: Is Rhett a better pass catcher than you thought?
A: No, I knew it. We’ve had our eye on Rhett for the past two off-seasons and free agency. He was my number one guy as far as the combination of an in-line tight guy that can also go out wide and catch passes.
Q: A few players talked about not taking the criticism personally. Was that a point of emphasis to be heard to wake these guys up after that game?
A: Not necessarily. All you have to do is put the film on and you coach off the film. I think we will always be critical when there is a need to be critical. There was. Speaking from my group, it was the technique issues. The great thing about last week was that there were zero mental errors between those two guys. That was a step in the right direction but there were a lot of things on the film that need to be corrected. We addressed it.
Q: Is it going to take the whole offense functioning at a higher level for us to see Evan doing things like opening up the seam and being a more creative outlet for Eli?
A: I think there are a lot of factors in that question. A lot of it is doing what the defense is doing. What they were doing defensively with the soft zone, that isn’t necessarily the option that you’re going to have based on how the Cowboys were playing. We gameplanned and made adjustments based off of the gameplan when the defense was doing something differently. We had to make our adjustments and work more underneath coverage routes. He will continue to get better and make strides. That will help in terms of being a more creative, down the field type outlet. Based on what the defense gives us, we will have the opportunity to see that.