All-Access: Inside Coach McAdoo's team meeting & more

Posted Jul 30, 2016

Giants coach Ben McAdoo began his first day of training camp as he will every day: sitting at his desk, devising plans both short and long-term. Although McAdoo will be visible at camp practices and on game day, it is at this desk – directly under a photo of the Lombardi Trophy all coaches aspire to hold – where he will complete so much of his daily grind out of public view. He will meet with players, assistant coaches, athletic trainers, equipment managers and other staffers, study tape of his team’s most recent workout and the upcoming opponent, prepare his address for the next team meeting, revise that day’s practice objectives, and refine his plan for the upcoming game.

As the morning begins, Coach McAdoo heads to the staff meeting room for his daily meeting with the coaches and support staff.

Photo from inside Coach McAdoo's full staff meeting on the first day of Training Camp.

All eyes were focused on the man sitting at the head of the long rectangular table. Thirty men - assistant coaches, coaching assistants, coaching interns, and support staff – were gathered in the second floor room of the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. They had grown quiet when the man, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo, entered the room and took his seat. In this room, the coaching staff makes personnel, strategic and logistical decisions almost every day. But this was no ordinary day, nor an ordinary staff meeting. This was McAdoo’s opening training camp staff meeting, and the Giants’ first-year head coach covered a long list of topics in 35 minutes.

McAdoo began the get-together not with a bold or sweeping statement, but with simple introductions of the five Bill Walsh Fellowship training camp coaching interns, who were seated against the wall to his right.

What followed was McAdoo essentially discussing an overview of the team’s season-long calendar with bullet points, beginning with highlighting several days in training camp. McAdoo mentioned the first full-padded practice on Aug. 3, and what should be the longest practice of camp (Aug. 6). The coach told the coaches what to expect the week prior to the preseason finale vs. New England, which he will approach differently than in the past.

The next subject raised was the team meeting calendar, notably the emphasis for each individual day. It included different fundamental drills specific coaches will focus on during a given day, as well as the situation of the day - third down, red zone, etc.

McAdoo also previewed what each practice will entail, including the number and duration of periods. He went over the field layouts for each practice – which of the three grass fields will serve as the main field, and what the breakout fields will be. Opportunities exist for improvisation as needed. During what McAdoo called “live periods,” coordinators Mike Sullivan on offense and Steve Spagnuolo on defense can work on areas they think demand the most attention. In essence, McAdoo said, “do what you need to do during these periods.”

The staff meeting was the first in a series of well, firsts, McAdoo has experienced this week.

After concluding the staff meeting, coach McAdoo and his assistants made their way downstairs to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center auditorium. That is the site of all team meetings, and McAdoo stood before his players for the first full-squad get-together of training camp. McAdoo reviewed basic team rules and voiced his expectations for this year’s Giants team.

Immediately following the team meeting, Giants players headed for meetings with their position coaches to review tape. The sessions lasted approximately one hour.

Photo from outside the WR and LB position rooms at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

These gatherings at the beginning of camp seldom change from year-to-year. The rooms are unusually crowded because each position is staffed with a group of players that is much larger at the start of camp than in the regular season. It includes veterans who are confident they will retain their starting jobs to rookie free agents hoping to overcome long odds and survive the final cut. But the position coaches will tell the players they will all be treated equally. They will stand in front of the room and say all jobs must be earned, everyone in the room will get a fair opportunity, and they will base their decisions solely on what they see in practice and preseason games. After the position coaches make their points, and the meetings conclude, the players make their way to the weight room for some quick flexibity work before the start of practice.

As the players make their way to the practice fields, coach McAdoo reviews that the fields are lined up correctly, and checks the script for the upcoming workout. Once the players are in formation for their pre-practice stretch, McAdoo is right where he belongs.

Following the conclusion of practice, coach McAdoo is led by the PR department to the media area where he recaps the day’s events and answers a myriad of player-related questions.

The first day is a microcosm of the entire training camp. McAdoo meets with his coaches. He meets with his players. The assistants meet with their players. The meetings end when practice begins, and commence again later in the day. It’s all part of the grind, but it is work that is vital as the Giants prepare for the 2016 season.