The McAdoo Report, Giants.com's exclusive weekly interview with head coach Ben McAdoo:
Q: When you're in playoff contention but have clinched nothing, every game gets more important. You have a lot of players here that haven't been through this before. Do you want them to have a greater sense of urgency about the next game, or do you want them to treat it as if it's just another game. How do you want them to approach these big late-season games?
McAdoo: "You only get one a week, so they're all important. You need to focus in on your preparation and not worry about the noise outside of the building. It's all about your preparation. You can't show up for the game and think, 'Well, it's an important game, I have to play harder.' It's about the way you prepare during the course of the week. Everything we do during the course of a week is about winning the game on Sunday. You prepare that way. If you don't win the game, it feels like you flushed a whole week of your life down the toilet. To me, staying in the moment and focusing on your preparation is what's important. Doing whatever you have to do to put yourself in position to play at a high level on Sunday."
Q: Your coaching background is on offense, you call the plays here. Last Sunday, you defeated Dallas with a terrific performance by your defense, and one of the most important players was the punter. Have you had a change of thinking in how you want to win games or how you have to win games? Sometimes you don't do it on offense, you do it with defense and special teams.
McAdoo: "I think that anytime you play championship-level defense and coverage teams, kickoff and punt coverage, you're going to be in a lot of football games and have the opportunity to win those games in the end. It's important that you play a complete team game. Find ways to score enough points to win. The phases that are carrying you, you need to fuel them."
Q: Are there things that you would normally like to do in the offense, but like in the game the other day, it's just not prudent to do it? You just let the defense and special teams units do it?
McAdoo: "It's important to play team football. That's what's best for the football team. We did that a little bit in the ball game on Sunday night."
Q: You're not a punter, but you have certainly watched your share of them through the years. How significant is it to have a guy like Brad Wing, who can kick it long when you need to, direct it to either side, and drop it inside the 10 with a short kick?
McAdoo: "It's big. I think it's huge. He's a weapon for us, like I've said. Like I said before, I like to go for it on every fourth down. When you have Brad, it impacts your decision-making and you have to use him as a weapon. He's a very competitive player. I like that about him. He holds himself to a high standard as far as downing the ball inside the 20, inside the 10, inside the five. I like that about him. He and I have open lines of communication. We talk about where it's best to punt the ball from. That was a big part of the game the other night."
Q: Your point differential in the first half is minus-17 and in the second half, it's plus-28. You're doing a lot of good things in the second half, but are you a little unhappy with the first half?
McAdoo: "You're splitting hairs. I think it's a couple of plays here and there. We know they all come down to the fourth quarter. We need to make sure that we put ourselves in position to win the ball game in the fourth quarter."
Q: Where did the rule of 53 come from and why 53 (combined rushing attempts and pass completions)?
McAdoo: "Fifty-three meaningful touches gives you a high-percentage opportunity to win the game. Control the ball, control the game. It's a combination of completions and rushes. It goes back to our time in Green Bay."
Q: How come it's 53?
McAdoo: "That was the number that it significantly swung to help keep your defense watching and your offense playing. Controlling the ball and the winning percentage went up."
Q: You've been asked about Eli Manning this week. When Eli met the media on Tuesday, he was asked if he is struggling. Eli has played here for 13 years. He certainly knows when he's not playing his best and probably knows what he needs to do to fix it. As the head coach, what do you do with someone that has that much experience?
McAdoo: "I have to be consistent and he has to be consistent. That's the key. He prepares at a high level. As high as anyone that I've ever been around and I've been around some good ones, coaches and players. He just needs to be consistent with his preparation. Like I said before, when things go well, the quarterback gets a lot of credit. When things aren't going well, he gets a lot of the blame. We just stay consistent with our preparation, prepare and work at a high level and we'll cash in on Sunday."
Q: When Janoris Jenkins is taking care of a receiver or covering an area by himself, how does that help out everybody else in the secondary?
McAdoo: "I think Janoris is a competitive guy. I think that rubs off on everyone in the secondary, on the defense and on the team. He has those competitive juices flowing out there and he plays with a lot of passion. I think that helps us as a team."
Q: When did Romeo Okwara first catch your eye?
McAdoo: "It was in (training) camp, because he had an injury for most of the spring. We didn't really get to see much of him until camp. That's when he really started coming around and learning the techniques. He's just a guy that was a conscientious young player who had the size and the length. He had some talent and came from a good program (Notre Dame). Really bought into the techniques and fundamentals we were teaching. Just continued to grow."
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Q: Once you got him in games, you could see that?
McAdoo: "Once you got him in games, you could see that it's not too big for him."
Q: He played almost the entire game against Dallas. Was that similar to a running back who gets into a groove, and you just keep getting him the ball? Did you want to stay with the hot hand?
McAdoo: "Yes. He was a guy that was tough to take off the field. You let him play."
Q: This week, you play the Detroit Lions. (Quarterback) Matthew Stafford is their key offensive player, but they have an interesting blend of players. They're the only team with five players that have more than 40 receptions. They all seem to do something different.
McAdoo: "They come in all shapes and sizes. They all have talents. They're all players that would probably be featured in other places. With the collection of guys they have, they have a pretty unique group and a guy that's pretty special delivering the ball. (Wide receiver) Marvin Jones, we looked at him as a free agent. He's a very talented player. He doesn't just go long; he can really stick his foot in the ground and separate. (Anquan) Boldin is tough playing inside. He's a completion waiting to happen. (Golden) Tate can do a lot of different things for you, short, deep, in the backfield, whatever the case may be. (Running back Theo) Riddick is a guy that is a matchup challenge coming out of the backfield getting screens and burst routes. He can run away a little bit. (Tight end Eric) Ebron is a young, developing player. He's a big target and can run down the middle of the field. Put the fear in two-deep coverage."
Q: Coaches like to say that sacks are overrated. Ezekiel Ansah does not have a sack this year, yet he's been a dominant defensive player. Is he an example of what you talk about when you say sacks are overrated?
McAdoo: "He's a very good example of that. You watch the film and you wouldn't think that. To me, he's very disruptive. He's got a tremendous amount of length and speed. He plays with a tremendous motor. I think they all play with a good motor up front. He's going to be a challenge. His length and motor present problems."
Q: They have Haloti Ngata inside and Kerry Hyder is playing very well, also. Is the strength of their defense up front?
McAdoo: "Yes, it starts upfront. They'll try and squeeze you. They play the wide-nine as they try and play with width and work hard up the field. Try and get to the quarterback first and play everything else along the way. Their secondary and the linebackers are doing a nice job playing to the front. They're well-coordinated."
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