John Mara introduced Ben McAdoo as the 17th head coach of the New York Giants on Friday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford.
Here are 10 things we learned:
1. MCADOO HIRE IS EVOLUTION, NOT REVOLUTION
It’s the beginning of a new era in Giants football, but it’s not a radically different one. McAdoo, who was the team’s offensive coordinator the last two seasons, laid out his theme moving forward this year, which is “evolution, not revolution.”
“We’re going to have an opportunity to carry something over, some things we won’t,” he said. “We know more about each other now than we had when I got here and we’re going to build off things we do well and work on fixing the things we don’t do well.”
“When Ben said this morning that it’s going to be ‘evolution not revolution’—I get it,” Tisch said. “I think that’s a great phrase and I think it is going to be one of the qualities of how he approaches his head coaching position.”
2. COACHING STAFF, PLAY-CALLING DUTIES ARE FLUID SITUATIONS
As of Friday’s press conference, McAdoo had nothing to report on changes to his coaching staff. In addition to his former role as offensive coordinator, the only official opening right now is linebackers coach after Jim Herrmann took the same position with the Indianapolis Colts. Additionally, McAdoo would not say whether or not he will continue to call the plays on offense, citing competitive advantage.
“With this happening so quickly, the staff is very fluid at this point and we had a chance to talk to a bunch of different guys, but nothing is set in stone,” McAdoo said. “There’s nothing to report at this time.”
3. MCADOO’S VISION & MESSAGE TO FANS
The four NFL teams McAdoo has worked for have won 14 of the 49 Super Bowls: Giants (four), Packers (four), 49ers (five), Saints (one). So the lofty expectations are nothing new for McAdoo, who said his vision for the team is putting a fifth Lombardi Trophy in the case.
“This job is not for the faint of heart, and I’m the right man for the job,” McAdoo said. “I’m hardened, battletested and I’ve been groomed for this opportunity by Super Bowl winning coaches, players and organizations. We’re going to assemble a staff and a locker room that the fans can rally around. We’re going to set our jaw and we’re going to get to work.”
4. THE FOUR ELEMENTS
To get to that fifth trophy, McAdoo said the team needs these four elements: strong leadership; surround that leadership with talented men and women of integrity; positive working environment that inspires teaching, learning, and accountability; and comprehensive structure and function.
“Football is a people business,” McAdoo said, “and it starts with relationships.”
5. MCADOO WON’T MESS WITH TC’S CLOCKS
There may have been another colorful adjective or two in the original message, but McAdoo said Tom Coughlin made one request on his way out: “Don’t mess with the clocks.”
“It’s been a privilege and an honor the last two years to serve under Tom,” McAdoo said during his opening remarks. “He’s made a big impact in my life as a coach and as a person and his discipline, punctuality and success are obviously legendary.
“Thinking of a way to honor Tom, there are so many ways we can do it, but I figure the best way would be when I first walked into the building he looked at me and said, ‘Don’t mess with the clock.’ When you look to the right here, we have our digital clocks they’re all five minutes fast and we’re going to stick with that, that’s TC time, that’s a part of Giants culture now.”
6. GIANTS VETTED SIX STRONG CANDIDATES
Since Coughlin stepped down on Jan. 4, Mara and general manager Jerry Reese spearheaded the search for the organization’s 17th head coach and ultimately interviewed six candidates. After talking to McAdoo first, they also vetted defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Mike Smith, Doug Marrone, Adam Gase, and Teryl Austin.
“Contrary to what I’ve read in a few places about this being an uninspiring group, nothing could be further from the truth,” Mara said. “We felt all six were excellent, and quite frankly, I could’ve been happy with any one.”
7. EAGLES’ INTEREST ACCELERATED MCADOO’S 2ND INTERVIEW
As the head-coaching pieces began to fall into place across the NFL landscape, the Giants’ timetable moved up. McAdoo’s second interview was originally scheduled for Thursday, but after hearing about Philadelphia’s pursuit, Mara said the Giants moved it to Wednesday.
“I’ll tell you what it did change, once the Hue Jackson interview was cancelled (Jackson was hired as head coach of the Browns), I said to Jerry let’s bring Ben back Thursday morning for a second interview and move this process along,” Mara said. “I guess he called Ben and we found out, well, he was going to be with the Eagles on Thursday morning, so I said let’s bring him back in this afternoon then. That was Wednesday and we did that and had [Jonathan] and Steve Tisch present, we went over some things that we needed to talk to him about, and I think we all got a little more comfortable with him after that. It did accelerate the process no question about it.”
8. MARA: NEED TO GET MCADOO BETTER PLAYERS
Mara has been upfront about the need to upgrade the roster after three consecutive losing seasons. While the best practice is always building through the draft, the salary cap situation is better than is has been for a while, as Reese pointed out last week.
“First thing we have to do is get them better players,” Mara said. “That comes through the draft and we got some room to do some things in free agency too. One of the things that I liked about Ben was that he realizes that free agency is not the, be all end all. It’s still the draft and you can fill in some holes in free agency but it’s still about drafting the right way.”
9. COACH-PERSONNEL STRUCTURE WON’T CHANGE
Reese will pick them, and McAdoo will coach them. That’s been the dynamic between general manager and head coach since Reese first joined the organization in 1994, and that won’t change. However, that’s not to say there isn’t always an open dialogue going back and forth.
“Jerry and the personnel side will do personnel,” McAdoo said. “I’ll coach the team that’s my responsibility. We’ll have open dialog back and forth and we’ll communicate on what we feel our needs are and how we can get better and improve, but at the end of the day it’s about the coaches and the personnel and the locker room all pulling in the same direction. We all have to be in this thing together.”
10. COUGHLIN IN PHILADELPHIA WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE PARCELLS WITH A DALLAS STAR
The NFC East rival Eagles confirmed they interviewed Coughlin after they parted ways with Chip Kelly. While this situation is still fluid, Mara opened up the door last week for him to come back to the Giants in an advisory role that would still have to be worked out. But for now, Coughlin won’t be joining a close rival like Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells did when he took over the Cowboys in 2003.
“I’m not going to lie, it would have been like watching Bill Parcells walk out with the star on his shoulder,” Mara said. “It was tough to see at the time and that would have bothered me. I want him to be happy, but I certainly didn’t want to see him happy in green.”