NY Giants fire longtime assistant coaches Mike Pope and Jerald Ingram
This Aug. 29, 2012 photo, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New England Patriots in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP / Bill Kostroun)
Tom Canavan, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014 2:30PM EST
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin is making major changes to the struggling New York Giants offence, starting with his staff.
Longtime assistant coaches Mike Pope and Jerald Ingram were fired on Wednesday after this season's dismal performance by the offence. The moves came one day after Coughlin decided to take the team in another direction by hiring Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo as his new offensive co-ordinator.
"Both of these men are very good talent evaluators and, in their own way, are very good teachers," Coughlin said after he dismissed two men who were members of his original staff when he was hired as coach in 2004. "I decided to make a change in our staff that I believe will be productive going forward. These are very difficult decisions, but I felt they were in the best interests of the Giants moving forward."
The Giants went 7-9 this season and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. The losing record was the second in Coughlin's tenure, and the anemic offence played a major role.
New York ranked 28th in the NFL in both yards (307.5) and points per game (18.4).
The hiring of McAdoo indicates the Giants will use more of an up-tempo offence and less of the traditional balanced offence they have had in recent years with Kevin Gilbride running it. Gilbride retired after the season.
Firing Pope and Ingram sends a message to the players that even some of Coughlin's closest friends are being held accountable.
"Mike and I coached together on the Giants staff back in the 1980s," Coughlin said. "When I returned as the head coach, I didn't intend to keep anyone from the previous staff. I visited with Mike and made a decision that I wanted him as a part of our new staff going forward, and it was certainly the right decision."
Pope has been the Giants' tight ends coach since 2000. He worked for the team for 23 years spread out over three decades, and been a part of their four Super Bowl championship teams. He has been an NFL assistant for 31 seasons, also coaching in the Super Bowl with New England in 1996 and with the Giants in 2000. Pope's tenure with the Giants is the longest for any assistant coach.
Mark Bavaro, Jeremy Shockey, Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard and Martellus Bennett all played under Pope.
Ingram has worked with Coughlin for more than 20 years, first at Boston College (1991-93), then with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1994-2002) and the Giants (2004-13). Ingram helped develop recent standout backs Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown.
"He's an outstanding football coach," Coughlin said. "He has done a very good job here. I think the record speaks for itself in terms of the guys that have played for him and are very loyal to him. He's a man of principle and has been a very loyal assistant for a lot of years."
Ingram had to work through a lot of injuries this past season. Starter David Wilson missed the second half of the season with a neck injury and Brown missed the first half after sustaining a broken leg in the preseason finale. It forced the Giants to re-sign Jacobs and to add Peyton Hillis.
"Jerald demonstrated again last season what a good teacher he is when we had injuries at the running back position and we signed Peyton Hillis. In one week's time, Peyton started in the third-down nickel package, which, in our system, is a complex job."
Coughlin probably isn't finished making changes to his staff. Quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan might be in trouble after Eli Manning had a poor year.