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Inside Ben McAdoo's prep for first NFL Draft

Posted Mar 22, 2016

Coach Ben McAdoo is preparing for his first NFL Draft since taking the reins of the Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It’s an understatement to say that Ben McAdoo is experiencing many firsts as he prepares for his initial season as a head coach. He selected the Giants’ assistant coaches and will lead all staff meetings, not just those attended by the offensive coaches. He has devised the offseason and training camp schedules. McAdoo will set the rules and the direction for the players.

Another change is occurring now as McAdoo prepares for the NFL Draft (which will be held April 28-30). Now he must study players on both sides of the ball, not just those that run, catch, throw and block.

>> MCADOO DISCUSSES PLAYER SIGNINGS

“I’m going to do my due diligence,” McAdoo said in a recent interview. “I’m looking at the defensive side of the ball right now; I’m going to start with the defensive side and I’ll catch up with the offense. It’s great to be able to be involved in the whole draft and to know these players. It was good to get a head start (at the scouting combine) in Indianapolis, where you can take a jersey number and a name and put it with a face and who they are, and kind of get a feel for, really, the way the draft’s going to look. So that was a good head start for us, and now we’re hitting the film. It’s an ongoing process, and it’s not really done until a couple days before the draft starts.”

Although the Giants have signed four free agents (Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, and Kennan Robinson) and retained Jason Pierre-Paul as they work toward rebuilding their defense, the organization has long preferred to build its roster with draft choices. The free agent spending notwithstanding, McAdoo strongly supports that philosophy.
 
“As a coach, you want young guys,” he said. “You want to go out, evaluate film of young players with all this potential, bring them in, and develop them. Whether they’re drafted players or they’re free agents coming in who weren’t part of the draft, they can be a big part of things. As you see, they end up playing, too, and you can win championships with them playing as rookies. So it’s our job to bring them in, take that raw talent and develop them, and that’s part of the fun of our job; that’s the thing we enjoy about this profession. Free agency is a piece of it, it’s a part of it. You can’t hang your hat on free agency. We added some nice pieces, we added some young players in free agency who can come in and make an impact for us, but we have to indoctrinate them into the program. We’re excited about the guys we added that way, but there’s no replacement for the draft.”

Draft preparation is just part of McAdoo’s full plate. After working as an offensive coach his entire career, McAdoo is taking an accelerated course in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense and Tom Quinn’s special teams schemes.

“I’m in the process of getting involved in defense and special teams, and that part has been exciting,” McAdoo said. “It’s been time-consuming, but that’s great; still spending my time in there with the offensive staff. The offense has to stay on track and continue to grow and get better. Look forward to making an impact on defense and special teams as well.”

McAdoo has settled comfortably into the role that falls on all head coaches, that of being the man everyone else in the organization turns to for answers – about his players, coaches, plans, expectations, background, and sometimes non-football issues.

“From a leadership perspective, I believe in leadership through service,” he said. “During business hours, I need to be here for the people in the building, whether it’s the staff or whether it’s the support staff, or whether it’s the other departments in the building. And then before hours and after hours, I can get done what I can do by myself. If I’m there for everybody else, it kind of takes care of itself. But we have a schedule set up in a way where I can spend time with each phase and not shortchange anyone.”

McAdoo discussed several other issues in a candid conversation.

•  On how often he meets with the coaching staff:

“We try to be smart with our time,” McAdoo said. “(Brett) Favre (whom he worked with when he coached for the Packers) used to call meetings in Green Bay, ‘Beatings.’ So we try to meet when we have to meet, but other than that, we try to keep things in small groups when we can do that, and make sure we’re making the most out of everybody’s time.”

•  On whether he has completed the offseason and training camp schedules.

“The whole offseason is scheduled through training camp,” he said. “We handed that out last week to the assistants. It was done when we got back from the combine, so that’s been plotted out. But we always know that we have to be ready to adjust and improvise at the drop of a hat.”

•  His thoughts about last season, when the Giants lost six games in which they held a lead or were tied in the fourth quarter.

“When you look at things, it’s not one area, it’s every area combined,” McAdoo said. “We need to play good football and we need to do it together. We need to complement each other well and always be on the same page. I feel that with the pieces we added and the direction we’re going here evaluating this draft, we’re going to add some good players to the mix. It’s up to us as coaches to all get on the same page and put us in position to close these games at the end.”

•  On whether the players will experience culture shock when they see the team’s new-look weight room, learn of the modifications he will make in the weekly schedule, coaching routines, etc.

“There’ll be some changes,” McAdoo said. “We’re going to have some things, whether it’s from the coaching perspective, whether it’s from the weight room perspective, nutritionally - we’re going to look at a lot of different things and change a lot of different things, tweak them. Again, it’s evolution not revolution, that’s what we’re sticking by. A lot of things we’ve changed here recently, but we’re just going to build on that a little bit,  and I think the players will appreciate it.”

•  On his eagerness to finally see the players when the offseason conditioning program begins on April 11, a bit less than three months since his introductory news conference.
 
“The players haven’t arrived yet, but we have to set the table for them,” McAdoo said. “It is exciting, we do have a lot going on. We’re transforming in a lot of areas, but we do look forward to getting the players back here and getting started.

“You get nine weeks with them in the offseason, and boy, you’d like to have at least 18, you’d like to have at least double that. That’s why you get into this profession, to be around the players, not be behind the desk. We certainly can use the time as a staff to get ready in our first year together, but definitely, getting the players back here, that’s going to be exciting.”