The offense appeared out of sync both weeks, but it has been working hard this week to improve against the Bengals.
“It wasn’t something we expected to happen,” Gilbride said. “We certainly appreciate the ability level of the two defenses we’ve played, but we thought, and expected, to perform a lot better than we did.”
Gilbride acknowledged that when things go wrong, he should be the one that receives the blame instead of the players since he’s the one scheming the offense. Even so, it needs to be a complete effort for the entire unit.
“Everybody has to play well for (Eli) to play well,” Gilbride said. “The line has to protect well, the receivers have to get open. Then, it’s a combination. He gets way too much credit when things go well; he gets way too much blame when things don’t go well because that position only performs as well as the guys around them.”
Gilbride said it’s been a challenge play-calling the last two weeks since Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw – two integral offensive weapons – have not been at full strength.
“The problem is now, certain guys can’t do those things, even though you intellectually say, that’s the way the scheme (works) and they’re vulnerable,” Gilbride said. “It’s good, but guess what, he can’t do it. Whether it’s through injury or a guy that does different things well, there’s no question that it impacts, no question about it.”
Speaking of injuries, the Giants may be without offensive guard Chris Snee, who is dealing with an ankle injury.
“Obviously, if you lose him, you lose a good football player, but you also lose a very intelligent football player; a guy who’s been an anchor for the group,” Gilbride said. “He’s just so stable and determined and mentally tough that everybody kind of looks to him as an example.”
If Snee doesn’t play, the Cincinnati defensive line may have the advantage. Gilbride described the Bengals’s defensive front as “power-rushers.” These power-rushers have recorded 13 sacks on the season.
“They’re talented football players,” Gilbride said. “They have great size. They do a tremendous job of displacing you. You have to anchor down; not that they don’t have moves and speed, but (they) really do an outstanding job of moving you back and collapsing the pocket and, obviously, they get to the quarterback.”
So with two days to until game time, the Giants will look to regain their offensive form from earlier this season. With the schedule getting tough after the bye, they’ll have to rely on their offense to win games.
“We’re working at it,” Gilbride said. “As you know, it’s a continual process. You’re tweaking here, tweaking there and hope that you get some things that were not performed at a high enough level, corrected. You look forward, we all are, to playing better this week than we did last week.”
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.