INDIANAPOLIS -- When Kevin Gilbride was offensive coordinator with the Houston Oilers in the early 1990s, he employed a lot of three- and four-receivers sets. Those formations were seen as radical and flawed at the time, but they have become standard in today's pass-happy NFL. Gilbride, now the Giants' offensive coordinator, talked about the trend at Media Day today.
"I think that’s a good thing and I’m proud of it," said Gilbride, who spent time as the Bills' coordinator in the early 2000s. "At one time (with the Oilers), it (four-receiver base offensive sets) was considered gimmicky. Now you see everyone going to three and four receivers. It’s almost standard operating procedure now. I think the fact that people are willing to be open, spread out and take advantage of athletic mismatches is something that we were doing 23 years ago.”
Gilbride was asked if the Oilers' Red Gun died too soon before coming into vogue years later.
“That offense at the time seemed to receive undue criticism. It seemed that no matter what you did, that people would find reason to criticize. If we turned the ball over that week, people would say, ‘See, that’s a high-risk offense.’ Then maybe you wouldn’t turn the ball over for the next six weeks but you would score too quickly and they’d say, ‘See, you put your defense on the field too much.’
"So it was always one thing or another. I think the only thing that would have dispelled that would have been to win in the postseason, and we (Oilers) didn’t win in the postseason. But if you looked at the team success and the offensive success, it’s hard to argue with what was taking place. I think we were the first team to use those formations consistently in the league. When I first got to Houston in 1989, (then Head Coach) Jerry Glanville called it the Red Gun and it was only a portion of what we did. When Jack Pardee became the head coach, he went exclusively in that direction, and we were ranked first or second in the league in offense every year, and we went to the playoffs every year.”