As the NFL world gathers in Indianapolis this week to evaluate the next generation of players, he met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium and spoke about everything from the draft process to calling plays and the state of the roster.
“It’s really large-scale leadership,” the Giants coach said. “You do things on a smaller scale as a position coach—you’re the head coach of your position. Then as a coordinator, you’re the head coach of the offense. So now, you have a chance to work with different people and a variety of areas, and have a chance to wrap your hands around the entire team.”
Here’s what we learned from McAdoo at the combine:
1. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE COMBINE
The NFL Scouting Combine is more than the running and jumping you see on TV. Behind the scenes, there are medical evaluations, psychological testing, interviews with teams, and much more. But which is the most the most important to McAdoo when it comes to holding the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft?
“I think when you look at the history of the combine, probably still the most important thing is you have the chance to get these players in front of the doctors and get them examined there so you know what you’re dealing with and get a medical grade on them,” McAdoo said. “You have a chance to meet them and shake their hand and look them in the eye and talk to them, and kind of get a feel about what they’re about—they’re not just a guy on tape, they’re not just a guy on a piece of paper, but they’re a human being -- and what they’re all about and what they stand for and where they came from. Those are two important parts for me.”
2. MCADOO WON’T TIP HAND ABOUT PLAY-CALLING DUTIES
When McAdoo took over as offensive coordinator in 2014, the promotion also included play-calling duties for the first time in his career. Over those two seasons combined, the Giants were ninth in scoring and eighth in yards while Eli Manning was tied for third in the NFL with 65 touchdowns in that span. However, McAdoo isn’t tipping his hand about whether that continues after he hired Mike Sullivan, the Giants’ former quarterbacks coach, as the offensive coordinator.
“You know what, that hasn’t been decided yet,” McAdoo said. “We’ll take a look at a couple different scenarios moving forward. But like I said in the past, that’s a schematic advantage so I’m not going to talk about that.”
3. CRUZ COMING ALONG IN REHAB
After a knee injury ended his 2014 season in October, Victor Cruz missed all of 2015 with a calf injury. McAdoo said his wide receiver has been “bouncing around” the team facility back in East Rutherford and “seems in good spirits” after having a successful procedure.
“He feels good, he looks good, he’s coming along in rehab,” McAdoo said. “No hiccups there so far, we like that, we’re encouraged with that right there. We have some other guys that are going to have a chance to step up, possibly some young guys. Again, it’s still early in the process.”
4. JPP UNDERWENT PROCEDURE
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is scheduled to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 9. After suffering serious hand injuries during a Fourth of July fireworks accident, Pierre-Paul returned to play the final eight games of last season and recorded 26 tackles and a sack. McAdoo confirmed that the former first-round draft pick underwent another procedure on his hand and, like Cruz, seemed in good spirits.
“It was obvious when Jason came back last year how disruptive he was without playing football for a long time,” McAdoo said. “Just coming in and having a couple weeks to get his feet underneath him being able to go out and be disruptive as a pass rusher. I just think when you look at him and his ability to get off the ball and get after the quarterback, it’s easy to see and that’s something that comes natural for him. You don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon? I don’t either.”
5. O-LINE & D-LINE TOP OFFSEASON TO-DO LIST
Between the draft and free agency, McAdoo is looking to strengthen the team up front on both sides of the ball. And according to draft experts like NFL Media’s Mike Mayock, the defensive line is the strongest position in this year’s class, especially on the interior.
“I mean, the quickest way to get better is up front on both sides of the ball,” McAdoo said. “You have to protect your quarterback and you have to get after the other teams quarterback. It’s directly related to the QB rating differential, which is important in winning and losing games. You want to do a better job getting after the quarterback whether it’s up front, or whether it’s coming from the secondary, putting pressure there from the linebacker level. But you have to make the quarterback comfortable, certainly.”
6. MCADOO IS STIRRING THE POT
That offseason to-do is lengthy for a first-year head coach, and McAdoo was asked how he plans on getting the running game going after Rashad Jennings came on strong down the stretch in 2015. Like everything else, McAdoo will stir the pot.
“We’ll take a look at free agency, we’ll take a look at the draft, we’re going to study some other teams, and we’re going to study some college teams,” McAdoo said. “We’re going to put it all in the pot, we’re going to stir it up. We’re going to get to training camp, we’re going to come out of camp, and we’re going to take a look at things there and how the roster looks and how we look up front. Coming out of camp we’ll determine that, it’s way too early.”
7. BEN & JERRY ARE ATTACHED AT THE HIP
Coaches will coach, and personnel people will choose personnel. That’s how the general manager Jerry Reese and former coach Tom Coughlin operated, and that dynamic hasn’t changed with McAdoo.
“Jerry and I, we’re attached at the hip,” McAdoo said. “Lines of communication are open, we’ve had productive dialogue, and whatever he needs from me, I’m willing to do. I look forward to building that relationship.”
8. NEW STRENGTH COACH CAN “CRACK THE WHIP”
Among the new faces on McAdoo’s staff is head strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman, the only newcomer that he has worked with previously. McAdoo was a special teams/offensive assistant at Michigan State in 2001 when Wellman served as the program’s assistant strength and conditioning coach.
“Aaron Wellman and I go back a little ways,” McAdoo said. “I’ve had my eye on him for a while. I think he does a tremendous job. He’s a forward thinker and that’s something that’s important to me. He can still crack the whip if need be, and that’s hard to find in today’s league. He’ll do a tremendous job. As far as the injuries go, you can’t just point to one thing. Injuries, you have to look at a variety of things that impact injuries. Whether it’s the way we practice, whether it’s the way we hydrate, the way we sleep, the way we recover—you just can’t point to one thing and say that’s going to cure everything as far as the injuries go. But we’re going to look at a variety of things there.”
9. MCADOO WILL BOUNCE IDEAS OFF COUGHLIN
Including instructions not to change the clocks from being five minutes fast in the building, Coughlin and McAdoo have spoken numerous times since the transition. While McAdoo said that he’s not trying to be Coughlin because “he’s already taken,” they will bounce ideas off each other.
“No, not awkward at all,” McAdoo said. “I respect Tom. I have talked to him a few different times since he left. I feel we have a strong relationship. I’m going to bounce ideas off Tom as long as I can bounce ideas off of Tom. He’s someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I’m grateful for everything that I learned from him.”
10. GIANTS NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THE BALL
While the Giants look for future playmakers at the combine, the main objective is to end the drought of three consecutive seasons with losing records. McAdoo knows the formula, and it means getting back to basics.
“The game’s about the ball, number one, so we need to take care of the ball better,” McAdoo said. “The next thing we need to do is we need to extract the ball better, we need to take it away. After that, we’re going to spend a lot of time on blocking and tackling. If we can take care of those things we’ll be able to find some more wins.”