EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.** – Regrets? Ben McAdoo has … none.
Well, except for the Giants not scoring a late touchdown last week against the San Francisco 49ers. But regarding the plays the Giants ran to try to get into the end zone, McAdoo has no second thoughts.
The Giants' best chance to defeat San Francisco last Sunday expired when they were unable to score on four tries from the 49ers' four-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Eli Manning threw three fade passes - one to the right to Odell Beckham Jr. and two to the left to Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell - before a fourth-down pass to Preston Parker was tipped and intercepted, Manning's fifth pick of the day.
After the game and at his news conference the following afternoon, head coach Tom Coughlin was asked about McAdoo's play-calling. Today, the offensive coordinator spoke publicly about the last game for the first time at his weekly news conference.
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"(What) we talk about in our room (are) matchups," McAdoo said. "First things first, we had a play call that was a run with a potential throw if we got the matchup we wanted and they took the box away and we took the matchup (on the throw to Beckham). It happened two other times in the series. Each time we liked the matchup. It's a league of matchups. If we throw it a little bit better, we protect it a little bit better and we go up and make the plays that we've been making in the past, then we're singing a little different tune. At the same point in time, I'm not going to stand up here and apologize for the play calling. I have faith in the perimeter players to go up and make those plays one-on-one and if we go out and we have the same set of plays and the same circumstance, I'll take those matchups any day."
McAdoo was asked how often Manning audibled out of a run and threw a pass in that series of downs.
"He chose a one-on-one matchup with a receiver as opposed to a dirty box on the first play and handing it to the runner," McAdoo said. Moments later, responding to another question about the second audible, McAdoo said, "It was later on in that series. It was one of the two plays later on at the end."
The play-calling would never have been questioned had the Giants scored a touchdown. On Monday, Coughlin said, "After looking at the tape, I think two of those balls should have been caught." He was referring to the passes thrown to Randle and Donnell. McAdoo was asked if he shared that opinion.
"I think that I will take those matchups any day of the week," McAdoo said. "I'd take them last week and I'll take them again this week. I have confidence and faith in those guys that they will go up and make the play."
Earlier in the game, Donnell had made a spectacular catch near midfield for a first down. He has other terrific receptions this season. But Donnell, who is a fulltime player for the first time this season, can certainly improve his consistency.
"I think Larry's a young player and he's learning to play each and every week and learning to play a lot of plays," McAdoo said. "He hasn't done that in the past. With that, we have to keep going to him. He has to continue to grow, continue to work in practice. He ran a good route there, the ball could have had a little more air on it, a little more juice on it. He was a little short with it but at the end of the day we expect him to make that play. We have confidence and I have confidence that he's going to make that play this week."
Another obvious concern for McAdoo was Manning's five interceptions. As Coughlin has said repeatedly, it's very hard for a team to win when it commits five turnovers. Manning had thrown only six interceptions in the first nine games.
"We took a step back," McAdoo said. "We'd been making some progress, not necessarily completing the ball at a high enough percentage, but we've been keeping it away from the opponent. Took a step back. We've had a good week so far and are looking forward to taking better care of the football."
Manning often faced pressure from the 49ers pass rush, but McAdoo was not using that as an excuse.
"The most important thing from the quarterback position is you need to take care of your decision-making," McAdoo said. "There are some times when things happen that are out of your control. The numbers all fall back on you as we know, but it's about decision-making. You're going to miss a throw, you're going to get hit and the ball's going to go out funny, you're going to try to pull something back at times. But when your decision making is wrong, those are things that can be prevented. There are a couple of those that fell under decision-making, not all of them. Things happen in games and unfortunately they happened in bunches on Sunday. We need to clean those up. But the decision-making, those type of interceptions, we need to eliminate those."
The right side of the line struggled when tackle Justin Pugh left the game with a quad injury and Charles Brown took his place next to John Jerry.
"We need to handle that situation better," McAdoo said. "We need to play better over there. They gave great effort but in this league, as we all know, that's not good enough. We need to handle the stunts better and execute a little better."
McAdoo was asked if he can do things during the game to help in that situation.
"Absolutely," he said. "We can run the ball better. We had some success running the ball early, but we were hit or miss. We weren't as consistent. We didn't handle the run-throughs well enough. We need to move the ball, we need to score points. When you turn the ball over and you're not running it well it makes it tough to protect. It stressed those guys out."
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