HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO
Q: What do you usually get out of the combine and does that change for you now that you’re head coach compared to being a position coach or even a coordinator?
A: No, what you try to do as a coach is—you’ve knocked out free agency, you’re in the middle of scheme evaluations—you come down and you want to really get a first look at these guys. Have a chance to see them, have a chance to meet them, and wrap your hands around the, I guess, the draft class.
Q: Obviously you’re more a part of the decision making process. Will it change functionally?
A: No, you’re going to try to operate the same way: just take a look at the offense, defense, and special teams.
Q: You worked for two head coaches that have won Super Bowls and you’ve rose to be a head coach. What does that mean to you?
A: Well it gives you a blueprint. You get a chance to work with Mike [McCarthy] and work with Tom [Coughlin], see a couple of different ways, really, to go about your business. There are a couple different ways to skin a cat, and Tom and Mike are great examples of that.
Q: What’s the transition been like for you going from offensive coordinator to head coach?
A: It’s really large-scale leadership. 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.
Q: Rashad Jennings got going towards the end of the season when he was getting volume and the snaps were split as much between the runners. Is that something you plan on continuing into next year or do you plan on keeping that?
A: Oh, it’s early to say. We’re still in the process of evaluating the scheme. We looked at our players and looked at the free agents. We have a chance to go back and look at the draft film, we’re early in the process there. And take a look at some different teams in this league, take a look at teams in the college league, and put that research in, go in and implement in what you want to do, and then see what your roster looks like coming out of camp. That’s really how you decide how the carries fall, how you get those touches.
Q: Have you talked much to Victor Cruz? What’s your sense on what he will able to give you?
A: Yeah, I had a chance to get in touch with Victor; he was by the office the other day just kind of bouncing around, he was doing some rehab. He seems in good spirits, looks great, feels good. Hopefully we have a chance to get him healthy.
Q: Do you expect him to be on your team next year?
A: Absolutely. Right now we’re taking a look at things and he’s on the roster right now. If anything changes, I’ll be the first to know.
Q: What did your time in Green Bay mean? Do you have anything, two or three things, you got from Coach Mike that helped you get here?
A: Time in Green Bay—Green Bay is obviously a special place for me and my family--having a chance to win the Super Bowl there and be a part of some great teams and a great organization. You take a little bit from everywhere you’ve been and obviously I’m going to take a lot from Green Bay and a lot from my experience in two years with the Giants and some other places in the past. You take that and you mold it and you make it your own.
Q: Do you know what you’re going to do as far as calling plays?
A: You know what, that hasn’t been decided yet. 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.
Q: So you think we’ll know opening day or might we not even know opening day?
A: We may give everybody a call sheet on opening day. No, that’s something that we’re going to work through that process and whatever we feel is best for the Giants, that’s what we’re going to do.
Q: You’ve talked a lot about looking back at your team over this past month or so. What did you see when you looked back and what’s your assessment?
A: We’re still right in the middle of scheme evaluation. We haven’t hit the situational part of things yet. We worked through normal down and distance, obviously, the player evaluations. What’s interesting before you get to situations and you’re looking at the normal down and distance, we’ve had a lot of leads in games in the fourth quarter when you’re looking at the scoreboard in between plays. We have to end the game with the lead, and that’s going to be important to us. That’s not something that we’re going beat into the ground with these guys, but that’s something we have to learn from last year and find a way to close these games out.
Q: Did you get any updates on Jason’s [Pierre-Paul] surgery?
A: I spoke to Jason a couple of different times so far throughout the offseason. He seems in good spirits. He went through a procedure and we’ll have to see how that goes.
Q: Is playing without a club something that might be happening or is that something that might still be used moving forward?
A: That hasn’t been determined yet.
Q: Do you have a part of the combine now when you come here as a head coach that, I don’t want to say you look forward to, but you place more emphasis on now than maybe you did as an OC?
A: 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. 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. I think it’s good to get out and see them move around on the field and bend their knees a little bit, and get their hands on some footballs and see how they look there. You have a chance to put a name with a face and just take them off the sheet of paper and off the film and know who they are.
Q: Has Jerry [Reese] decided how things will go on draft day?
A: Jerry and I, we’re attached at the hip. 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.
Q: What’s your evaluation of the depth of the wide receiver position behind Odell Beckham? How is Victor Cruz doing?
A: Victor Cruz had a successful procedure done. He feels good, he looks good, he’s coming along in rehab. 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.
Q: You have an obvious need at pass rusher. Do you think that Jason can still be a dominant pass rusher in this league? And am I right that it is a priority in finding pass rushers for you this offseason?
A: It was obvious when Jason came back last year how disruptive he was without playing football for a long time. 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.
Q: Is finding guys who can get to the quarterback tops on your to-do list this offseason?
A: Yeah, I mean, the quickest way to get better is up front on both sides of the ball. 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.
Q: Changing the strength and conditioning program on the team, is that related to the injuries that this team has had over the last few seasons?
A: No, Aaron Wellman and I, go back a little ways. 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.
Q: Not just in regards to the strength and conditioning, but how much change do you expect in the organization?
A: Well we’re going to change. Like I said before, I’m not going to try to be Tom. I’m not Tom. He’s already taken. But we’re going to evolve a little bit, it’s evolution, not revolution. If something works and we feel good about it and we like it, we’re going to stick with it. If not, we’re going to make some changes. There are some things that we’ve done in the past and we’ve kicked around a lot of ideas within the staff. We’re going to implement those moving forward, and we’re going to make it our own.
Q: How far along did your talks with the Eagles get before you took the job with the Giants?
A: I went down for an interview.
Q: They never offered you the job?
A: Never offered me the job.
Q: What did you see in Patrick [Graham]? We’re you at all surprised he was available?
A: Patrick had a chance to come down for an interview, showed tremendously well. We didn’t want to let him out of the building. We feel very fortunate to have him and I look forward to working with him.
Q: Did you have a second interview schedule with the Eagles?
A: There was a potential for a second interview.
Q: You guys released two offensive line—Will Beatty and Geoff Schwartz. What was the thinking behind that? Why was there not an effort made to try and maybe renegotiate with them and the decision was made to part ways?
A: First of all, we thank those men for their contributions to the Giants. This is a business, sometimes things don’t work out. We wish them nothing but the best.
Q: I guess Tom Coughlin has spent some time around the office since the change was made. Have you had much interaction with him? Has that been helpful or awkward?
A: No, not awkward at all. I respect Tom. 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.
Q: Can you talk about the run game for next year? It seemed like Rashad really got going towards the end of the year.
A: We’re going to take a look. Again, we studied our players. We’re going through, we’re studying our scheme right now. 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. 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.
Q: The Giants have been 6-10 the past two years…
A: Where we need to improve? The games about the ball, number one, so we need to take care of the ball better. 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.
Q: As far as the talent level, do you think the roster needs some major upgrades?
A: We need to add some pieces, yeah. When you look at things, we have a lot of guys right now on the roster who are free, so we need to address that. We need to add some pieces there, but they need to be the right pieces. We need to look out for the long term interest of the New York Giants and what’s best for the future of the New York Giants, number one.
Q: You’re a lot of money under the salary cap. What are you looking to accomplish in free agency as a coach?
A: Again, we evaluated guys, we had a big meeting earlier in the week. We need to do what’s in the best long term interest of the New York Giants and find some right pieces to add to the mix, whether it’s our own guys that we bring back or going out and bringing some other guys in. Again, free agency is free agency. It’s a combination between free agency and the draft on how you add players, how you acquire players. We just need to add some good pieces.
Q: During the combine, especially in the interviews, what are some things you will try to identify from players perhaps showing leadership or just showing qualities you look for?
A: You have to give the agents credit, they do a great job as far as coaching these guys up. They’re well-coached when they come in here. They have a pretty good idea of what’s going to be asked of them. Most of them—I would say 90 percent-plus—do a good job and they show well. It’s hard to find the crack in guys from an interview standpoint anymore, they do a nice job. You like to throw on some football and when you get into the interviews with him and see if they can talk ball and how they can communicate, how they can take criticism, and how they take praise, and do they change? Are they willing to learn, listen and grow?