EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Ben McAdoo is a hard man to please.
In 2014, McAdoo's first season as offensive coordinator, the Giants finished 10th in the NFL in total offense with an average of 367.2 yards a game. That was a 59.7 yards-per-game improvement over their 2013 average of 307.5. The team totaled 5,875 net yards in 2014, the fourth-highest total in franchise history. The Giants' 336 first downs were the third-highest total in their history, and that included a record 218 passing first downs. The Giants set franchise records for completed passes with 383 (shattering the former mark of 359, set in 2011) and completion percentage with 63.1 (the former record of 62.9 was set in 2010).
So McAdoo had to be pleased with the offense's debut performance with him in charge, didn't he? Well, no, he didn't
"There isn't a lot that I look back and I am real happy about," McAdoo said today during a meeting with reporters following the Giants' rookie minicamp practice. "We didn't win enough ballgames (the Giants were 6-10). We don't like to spend a lot of time talking about that. We like to chase execution. I think the last six games we started to play the way that we wanted to play. We started to execute and produce the way we wanted to produce, the way we completed the ball and the number of plays in a game. We just have to continue to chase execution and start where we left off."
McAdoo has worked hard this offseason to make that goal a reality. Last year was spent installing the offense. This year has brought expansion and refinement, which he expects will result in improvement.
"We did a little more this offseason than we did last year because we had the cut-ups to go through," McAdoo said. "That took us four weeks and change. We went back and retooled the offense a little bit. We spent a lot of time on scheme and tying it into the personnel that we had and some of the new toys that we added. It is not a system anymore, it is our offense. We are excited to get that going."
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Asked why it's an offense as opposed to a system, McAdoo said, "That means it is tailored to the players we have in the room. It is about the players, not the plays. We tailored it. You put some stuff out in the storage shed that you may like, but you may not get to because it doesn't fit with who you are."
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The Giants have numerous offensive weapons for quarterback Eli Manning to work with. They include incumbent running backs Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams and free agent addition Shane Vereen and wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and newcomer Dwayne Harris. The team bolstered the offensive line by selecting tackle Ereck Flowers with its first-round draft choice.
Given all that, should the offense play at a high level at the start of the season after its strong finishing kick last season?
"It is a loser's mentality to think you can come in here and not miss a beat and pick up where you left off," McAdoo said. "Any success in this league is earned. If you come walking in thinking you don't have to do any work and you can pick up where you left off and we can execute the way we were at the end of the season, that is a loser's mindset."
As we said, McAdoo is a hard man to please.
What follows are his thoughts on several other offense-related topics:
On Manning's potential improvement in the offense this year:
"Usually when you put in changes or change the system or address fundamentals, it usually shows up in year two," McAdoo said. "I like the look in his eye. I am excited for what is on the plate this year."
- On what Vereen adds to the offense:
"He is a talented player," McAdoo said. "Unique skill set. He gets a lot of credit for what he does in the passing game. He is probably underappreciated as a pass protector and as a runner. We are glad to have him."
- On whether he'll move Beckham, who will a primary focus of opposing defenses each week, around in the offense:
"Everyone learns to play everywhere on the perimeter," McAdoo said. "Whether you are a running back, a tight end or a receiver, you need to learn concepts. You need to be able to execute those concepts. It doesn't matter if you are a back, a tight end or a receiver, you have to be able to play one, two and three receiver. We ask that of all our guys. Whether we pull that out each week depends on who we are seeing and how we are tailoring our plan."
- On where Flowers fits into the offensive line:
"We are going to play our best five and if he is one of them, he will find a spot," McAdoo said.
- McAdoo is not the only coach happy to have Harris, the former Dallas Cowboy. Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn welcomes the player who could be his primary kickoff and punt returner.
"It is good that it is someone we know so well," Quinn said. "(He) is someone who we played twice a year against all his time in Dallas. I respected coming out of college and how he plays and how physical he plays. He will add a good dimension. He is a returner that is also a gunner, so anytime you can get a guy that can do multiple jobs is a nice addition."
- Quinn was asked to evaluate the special teams' 2014 performances,
"I was pleased with some areas of it, but obviously other areas have to get better," he said. "I thought Josh (Brown) had a very solid year, one of his better years. I think his kickoffs continue to get better, which is a positive for him at his age and a tribute to how well he trains. I saw some sparks in the punt return game, especially when Odell got his feet wet and guys did a good job understanding the blocking. Kickoff was very solid. I was very pleased with that. Kickoff return – you are always trying to find some guys up front to block. I think we got better as the year went on. Punt is the one area that we did not meet our goal. You want to have a 40-yard net now and we are under that (38.6). We continue to emphasize with the hang time and the location of the punts. Get better at that and get better at covering it. I think we have done that with some of the acquisitions we have made."
- The Giants announced that sixth-round draft choice Geremy Davis, the wide receiver from Connecticut, has signed his contract. Only the team's top two draft choices – tackle Ereck Flowers (first round) and safety Landon Collins (second) – are unsigned.