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The McAdoo Report: Building off first win


The McAdoo Report,'s exclusive weekly interview with head coach Ben McAdoo:

Q: This is an interesting week, because you no longer have the pressure of trying to get your first win, and you have the bye week after the home game against Seattle on Sunday. How are you monitoring the players' mental preparation this week?

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McAdoo: "This week was one of our four west coast trips. We considered Denver a west coast trip. So we wanted to make sure we gave the players plenty of time on Monday and Tuesday to rest up for the week. We were smart about how we went about our business in Wednesday's practice. Half speed, half jog, so they had a lot of mental work on Wednesday. We put the pads on briefly on Thursday, then took them off halfway through. So we are factoring that into the equation. Playing on a Sunday night on a long flight coming back, but the players seem sharp and ready to go."

Q: You just answered part of my next question – you're cutting back on some of the physical work this week?

McAdoo: "We're taking health into consideration. Recovery is a big part of it. When you play a Sunday night game and you have a long flight after, you don't get back until late. We want to make sure we give the players as much of an opportunity at the beginning of the week to be fresh, to get their rest so they can recover and build them up as the week goes on."

Q: What was it like the other night not calling the plays? Did it seem strange to you? Did you feel like you had more time to do other things?

McAdoo: "I enjoy calling plays. That's fun for me. But I felt earlier in the week that more things would require my attention, so I wouldn't be able to prepare the way I normally would. Things that I could not delegate, I had to focus my attention on and playcalling was something that I could delegate. So I delegated it and it worked out for the best."

Q: Usually when we're on defense, you're looking at the sheet planning the next series. Were you still doing that or were you doing other things?

McAdoo: "I work hard at staying in the moment of the game. Whether we're on offense, whether we're on defense or special teams, you work hard at staying in the moment so you can contribute in all three phases. Whether it's grabbing a player, encouraging a player, correcting a player. Anything you can do to help the team. It was interesting on Sunday night for the first time in a long time not calling plays, where I guess I could move around with a little more energy and vigor than I usually can. Your normal coaching personality comes out a little bit more when you don't call the plays, simply because of thinking ahead from just a playcaller standpoint. You're always thinking ahead from a game management standpoint, but when you remove the actual calling of the plays, it changes some things. I guess your personality comes out a little bit more on the sideline. So that was fun for me."

Q: Was there ever a time where Sully (Mike Sullivan) made a call and you were like, "oh no, not that?"

McAdoo: "That's something that stays between us. We keep all of those conversations that happen on the headset personal and professional. But there were a couple times in the game where I started looking ahead to see if I could lend a hand. But you had to be smart that way if you're going to give someone an opportunity to call the game, you want to give them the opportunity to do that."

Q: The way that you won on Sunday night - running the ball, throwing to the tight end (Evan Engram), because you didn't have your wide receivers - do you think that says something about the coaching staff and the players' ability to change things on the fly and be flexible when different issues arise?

McAdoo: "That's what this league is about. Roles change and you have to reinvent yourself a few times, usually, during the course of a season. And when you have a staff and a locker room that is flexible and has integrity and is willing, that helps."

Q: Orleans Darkwa has been here since 2014 and has been very patient waiting for his opportunity to be a regular contributor. He has a patient personality, but is he a patient runner on the field?

McAdoo: "He's an instinctive runner. He knows where to run. I think his courses and the pace in the way he runs times up very well with the schemes. He understands the game, he understands where the hole is going to be, he knows where his reads are and he times his pace to the hole very well. And he's a bigger man. He's bigger than you would think, he's heavier than you would think just looking at him. And he hits the hole strong."

Q: Did you think it was to your advantage that the Broncos threw 54 passes the other night?

McAdoo: "Anytime that you outrush a team by 102 yards (148-46), anytime you win the battle of the hitting game, I think it helps. I think that situational football was big in the ballgame, too. I think the goal line stop by the defense, the coming out series right after that by the offense, and then the four-minute offensive series with points was very big in the ballgame."

Q: Jason Pierre-Paul had three sacks, he led the team in tackles. When he has a game like that and they have to start paying more attention to him, how does that help the entire defense?

McAdoo: "JPP is a very talented guy. Showed up production-wise in a big way the other night. He can do that and create messes all over the field. He's a guy that can wreck a game. He can go into a game and wreck a game for the opponent, and that's something that I'm attracted to when I watch him play. We try to bring out the best in him and it was great to see him play that well the other night."

Q: What did you think of Donte Deayon's first game?

McAdoo: "Donte provides a lot of energy for the whole team. He loves football. He gets football and he had a nice start to his NFL career the other night."

Q: When you look at him, do you say he's a good player for his size (listed at 5-9) or do you say he's a good player?

McAdoo: "I think he's a good player. Obviously, when you're evaluating players there is a certain height, weight and speed that you're looking for. It's no secret he doesn't fit into that. He carries that with him as a chip on his shoulder. He's not afraid to mention to me that he feels like he's getting taller as the season goes on. But he's an impactful young man."

Q: Probably no one outside of Green Bay can understand what Aaron Rodgers is going through after suffering another fractured collarbone. You were his quarterbacks coach when it happened four years ago. What were your thoughts when you heard he did that again?

McAdoo: "I'll say this, I think the whole game suffers and the league suffers when you lose a player like that. He's one of the best, if not the best player in the league, and my heart goes out to him and the organization."

Q: Seattle has a lot of defensive players that have been in the system for a long time. When you have a group with that much experience, is it hard to fool a defense?

McAdoo: "They've played a lot of football together, they have a lot of talented players, and the players get football. When you play together that long and you get football, you know where the weaknesses are in your scheme, the weaknesses tend to shrink a little bit. So they're a very good defense on all three levels. They have speed, they can impact a game, they tackle very well and they get their hands on a lot of footballs. So it will be a big challenge for us offensively."

*Q: You have a terrific safety here in Landon (Collins), but their duo of (Earl) Thomas and (Kam) Chancellor, is that about the best you've seen? *

McAdoo: "I'll have to look across the league, but it's definitely going to be a big challenge for us this weekend."

Q: They run so many designed rollouts and bootlegs with Russell Wilson, and he can do so much outside the pocket - how important is it this week to keep him bottled up?

McAdoo: "They move him around a little bit. That's no surprise. The other thing they're doing with him is they're playing a lot of empty. So they'll empty the backfield out, they'll drop him back and they'll let him create a little bit on the move. He can get the ball out on time, he has accuracy, he has touch. But when you spread everybody out and play a little bit of grass basketball, it allows him to create using the whole field with a bunch of space. And I think that's where he can really be dangerous. So we need to bottle him up, not just on the designed rollouts, but more from just dropping back and looking for someone to lose their lane and be ready to take advantage of it."

Q: A guy like that can frustrate a defense if he breaks loose and makes a big play. Is it important for your players not to get frustrated when that happens?

McAdoo: "Yeah, we always talk about staying in the moment and playing the next play. The most important play is the next one. You always have to flush the last ones, so that's just a part of our mental makeup."

Q: Most teams now split up the kickoff and punt return, but (Tyler) Lockett does both. He's been in the top 10 in the league in both in the last two years. Does his versatility and skill as a returner present issues for you?

McAdoo: "He's a very confident player. You saw that coming out. He's a very strong returner for not a large man. He knows where the crease is going to be. He can be a middle returner or he can be an edge returner. And he hits it, he hits it fast. He sees it and he trusts it and that's a big part of it."

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