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The McAdoo Report: Momentum comes from preparation

Posted Nov 18, 2016

The McAdoo report, Giants.com’s exclusive weekly interview with head coach Ben McAdoo:


Q: You have a four-game winning streak. Do you believe you can carry momentum from one week to the next in the NFL?

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McAdoo: “I believe in putting a solid week of preparation in. I think that pays off on Sundays or Mondays, whenever you play.”

Q: The Giants’ six wins have been by a total 21 points, and you’re 3-1 in games decided by three points or less. Are poise and execution the keys to playing well at the end of close games? What kind of mindset do the players have when they win close games?

McAdoo: “I think the guys believe. When you put in a good week of practice, you study your opponent well and know the plan well, you can go out and trust your teammates and play with confidence. That helps.”

Q: Do you sense that the more you win the close games, the more confidence you get? Down the stretch, the players believe they’re going to find a way to win the game?

McAdoo: “Yes. Each week is obviously a new week. We do believe we’re going to win the close games. We have confidence. Guys don’t waver or watch the scoreboard. They’re aware of the situations. We talk about being aware of the situations and not watching the scoreboard. Just playing the play. I think that has a lot to do with it at the end of games. Just play the play you’re on. Don’t necessarily worry about the clock or the scoreboard, or any of those types of things. Just focus on your job and trusting your teammates.”

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about your aggressive decision-making. The winning touchdown on fourth down Monday night (in the 21-20 victory against Cincinnati) is a case in point. You went for it on another fourth down and Eli (Manning) was sacked. You also went for the jugular after the (Landon) Collins interception and Eli’s pass was picked off. Is that part of doing business when you’re aggressive? Do you take the bad with the good sometimes?

McAdoo: “No. We don’t want to take the bad with the good. That’s not a part of it. We want to be aggressive, but we want to be able to execute and put ourselves in positive situations. That goes back to practice. If we practice the situation well and we execute in practice, then you’re more confident in the game going into the situation and giving yourself a chance to be successful.”

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Q: Eli has 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions over the last four games. Do you want Eli to take chances? I’m sure you don’t want the interceptions, but do you want him to think about taking his shots?

McAdoo: “Yes. We talk all the time about being aggressive. I want him to play the game aggressively. I want him to see it and I want him to go after it when he knows what’s coming. I want him to stay within the family, so to speak, in the concept that we’re working to do that. So we can get everything on film that we can. I want him to be aggressive. We understand that you’re going to miss some throws in this league, that’s a part of it. The defense is going to make some plays, that’s a part of it. What we can’t have is turnovers based on decision-making. If it’s not there, you have to go onto number two. If two is not there, you have to work to number three. You can’t turn the ball over based on decision-making. That’s probably the biggest thing. He’s been solid there.”

Q: Is there a line between making sure he’s careful, but not taking his aggressiveness away?

McAdoo: “Yes. I don’t want him to be careful. You’re not going to play that position well playing careful. We want to play aggressively and be in attack mode. We don’t want to be careful by any stretch of the imagination. We want to go after what we see. We understand that you’re going to miss some throws, that’s part of it. We have to make good decisions pre-snap and when the ball is snapped. If it’s not there, check it down. If you have to throw it away, throw it away. If you have to take a sack, you can take a sack, too. What we don’t want to do is make poor decisions. It’s about choosing our words properly, too. It’s not, ‘We can’t have turnovers.” It’s about taking care of the football and being a good decision-maker.”

Q: Against Philadelphia, when you were protecting a lead late in the game, you had Paul Perkins in the backfield, and you threw the ball on third-and-four. (The pass was intercepted.) On Monday night, you were protecting a late lead, had Rashad Jennings in the game, and ran the ball on third-and-six (for a 9-yard gain). Did you view those situations as similar?


McAdoo: “Yes. I think both end of the game situations were very similar. We felt that we had two quality plays in both situations. One we executed and one we didn’t. One happened to be a hand off and one happened to be a pass. They were two plays that we went after and felt good about. We thought we had a chance to be successful in both of them.”


Q: Odell (Beckham. Jr.) had 10 catches the other day, but gained 97 yards, which is well under his average. But he showed no signs of frustration or annoyance. He just took what they gave him. Did you see that as well and is that a further sign of his growth?

McAdoo: “They certainly made it tough on him to get down the field. He had a couple of opportunities to get down the field, but we weren’t able to get him the rock. That’s how it goes in this league. We’re going to face good defenses and teams that are going to try and eliminate him and take him out of the game. They did everything they could to try and take him out of the game. To get him 10 touches was challenging. He was very detailed and did the job underneath. He made some tough catches in some traffic. Helped us move the chains.”

Q: Your rushing offense has received a lot of attention, but your run defense has not. You’ve held four consecutive opponents to less than 100 yards on the ground. Has your run defense been something you’ve been relatively pleased with? 

McAdoo: “Every week, yes. Every week, you talk about stopping the run. That’s the starting point for really every game plan on defense. If you stop the run, the things that go with the run are less successful. Being the guy who calls plays on offense, I understand that the things that come off of the run game are just as important as the run game. When you have it taken away, it makes it more challenging.”

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Q: You think your run defense has been good the last few games?

McAdoo: “Yes. I’m not going to sit here and pat ourselves on the back. We’re preparing for a game this week. It’s always encouraging to stop the run. We have another big challenge ahead of us this week (against Chicago).”

Q: For a guy who has played tackle basically his entire career, is it a difficult transition for Marshall Newhouse to play guard?

McAdoo: “No question. Not only does it speak volumes about his preparation and his work ethic, but he’s a smart football player that has played a lot of football. Not only to be able to switch sides, but to go inside, it’s a challenge. He certainly rose to the occasion and did a nice job in there for us.”

Q: How do you approach the short week after the Monday night game? Do you try to get extra rest for the players? Did you start on Chicago on Monday when you had a few hours before the Bengals game?

McAdoo: “Yes. We had a jump start on Chicago. The position coaches did. The coordinators and the head coach did not, but the position coaches got a jump start on them. A lot of the ground work was laid when we got together on Tuesday morning. The players, we got a little bit of extra rest on Wednesday and they had Tuesday off. Thursday, we had to show up early in the morning ready to work.”

Q: Is the game plan instillation and the mental work on a normal schedule?

McAdoo: “Mentally, it’s a little bit different. You don’t get a chance to jump start them on Tuesday like you normally would. It’s no excuse. We have a job to do and we’ll be ready to do it come Sunday.”


Q: The word on the Bears is they’re better than their (2-7) record. When you look at them on tape, what do you see?

McAdoo: “I see a good team. Going against (quarterback) Jay Cutler a bunch of times, I know how dangerous he can be. He’s a good player and can make all the throws. The defense is also very well-coached. It’s coming into their own. They spent some money up front and they’ve used some draft picks up there as well. You can see those guys getting healthy and starting to come together. Their front seven is very talented and very long. They can move.”

Q: Do you see (rookie) Jordan Howard as a big, strong runner?

McAdoo: “Yes, and he runs that way. His style reflects that he’s a big runner. He runs big. He can handle a load. We have to make sure that we stop the run this week. That’s a big emphasis for us.”

Q: Zach Miller is a capable tight end. When you watch Cutler on tape, is he looking for Zach a lot?

McAdoo: “Anytime you have a threat that can run down the middle of the field, it helps your pass game, especially against split-safety looks. They’ve played a lot of different quarterbacks, but he looks like he’s becoming a favorite target of Jay’s.”

Q: How big of a difference have Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan made in their defense?

McAdoo: “They do a nice job. They’re communicators. You can see that on film. They do a good job gelling everything together. They have a lot of players from different backgrounds. Whether they’re coming out of college or from different teams, they’re helping get everything gelled together and you can see it on film.”