New York Giants coach Eli Manning doesn't know who his offensive coordinator is going to be next year. More than once, when asked about potential coaching staff changes Monday, Manning repeated the same line.
"I'm going to assume everything is the same until I hear differently," he said.
Which is fine, and what he should be saying, since he's got to work with whoever ends up coaching him. But Manning did talk a little bit more about the Giants' situation at wide receiver, which was thorny all year and remains so as they head into the offseason. Victor Cruz played well before injuring his knee in Week 15, and Jerrel Jernigan performed well as his replacement in the slot. But on the outside, Manning struggled all year to find consistency from and with Hakeem Nicks and second-year man Rueben Randle, who said he thought Manning and the receivers were "not on the same page from time to time" in 2013.
Cruz and Nicks both missed offseason practice time last year due to the way they were handling their own personal health and contract issues, and both said that they would make sure to put in a full offseason this year (for Nicks, that assumes he doesn't leave via free agency). Manning said he'd appreciate that, no matter who his wide receivers are.
"I think the offseason is very important," Manning said Monday. "That’s where you kind of set your fundamentals and you get on the same timing with a lot of things. If there are things from the season before you needed to improve on, that’s the time where you kind of can dedicate those hours and you have time in the offseason to make those improvements, to talk things over and to make sure if you have bad habits, you can fix them. So I think that’s what the offseason is for because once you get into the regular season, everything has got to be in place. It’s got to be kind of set in stone. You can make little improvements here, but the practices are more. ... You’re going against the scout team and you don’t get as much live coverage like you do in the spring and during the offseason."
Nicks seems likely to leave as a free agent, but whether he's back or Manning's working with a new guy, he's going to need more consistency and reliability from the position as a whole if he's to rebound in 2014 from his very disappointing 2013.