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The McAdoo Report: "Complete team football" needed


The McAdoo Report, an exclusive weekly interview with Giants head coach Ben McAdoo.

Q: When you have a team that's not playing to its capabilities, is your most important job as a coach strategic or emotional? You don't want these guys getting down on themselves after two games.

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McAdoo: "I agree. In the meeting (Wednesday), we talked about challenging each other and stepping up and being accountable to each other, and playing as one instead of independent contractors. We need our complete team football to show up to have a chance of winning on Sunday (in Philadelphia)."

Q: Is that as important in your mind than, for lack of a better phrase, a strategic plan?

McAdoo: "I think everything is important. I think week in and week out, you have to put the players in a position to be successful. When the ball is snapped, the players have to execute. But, also, the mental makeup of the team is definitely important."

Q: Do you ever use negative motivation – for example, telling the players you can't afford to go 0-3? Or do you try to keep it positive at all times?

McAdoo: "We don't really talk about that. We talk about going out and putting our best foot forward, and preparing and doing everything we can to give ourselves a chance to win on Sunday. That's the most important thing. You learn from the past, but carrying it forward doesn't always help you. I think there are lessons to be learned from the past, but you've got to learn from them as you move forward. That's the most important thing."

Q: As a coach, how do you deal with a situation like this? Do you prioritize by saying if we fix A, it will help fix B and C?

McAdoo: "Each man in the building has a job to do, and I expect them to do their job at the best of their ability this week. Players and coaches."

Q: You said you would consider not calling the offensive plays. Is that difficult for you, because you trained for a long time to call plays, you've had a lot of success calling plays. Is it tough for you to even contemplate doing that?

McAdoo: "No, whatever is best for the team to have success is important to me. It's not ego. I don't have an ego in this thing. It's what I have to do to help the team be successful. If giving up plays means we can score one more point a game or one more yard a game, then I am willing to do it. I am not saying I am going to do it."

Q: Some people were taken back that you were so blunt about Eli Manning's "sloppy quarterback play." Manning said people are getting too sensitive. Is that how you've always been with players – you are direct, you are blunt, this is what I think, this is what you need to do?

McAdoo: "That's the only way to operate. Usually it doesn't happen in the media, but when we don't get the ball snapped and the play clock runs out, that's not good football. Looking back on it, I can make the decision faster, I can get the call in faster. I always look at myself critically, but it is up to Eli to get the ball snapped. That's every quarterback everywhere since the beginning of time, since there was a play clock. That's the case."

Q: He stressed yesterday that you and he have a great relationship and that he told you when you arrived that he wants to be coached, and if he "screws up" to let him know. Have you guys always had that kind of give and take? I'm sure you've had private conversations where you've been very blunt with him, too.

McAdoo: "I think there's accountability when you're a two-time winning Super Bowl quarterback you can be called out and not have hard feelings and understand how to take coaching, because he understands the game and wants to be coached and knows that's how you stay in the game and keep sharp. I think that helps your team from an accountability standpoint."

Q: You were saying yesterday you haven't had enough plays in normal down and distance situations. As you watch the tape, have you had opportunities to create more of those situations?

McAdoo: "I think it's a complete team game. It's the ultimate team game. Starting a game with two three-and-outs two weeks ago against a ball possession outfit in Dallas, and we started last game (against Detroit) with a three-and-out. We had a chance to execute and move the ball and we didn't get it done. There are plays to be made. Sure, there are better calls that could come in, but it's all tied together. It's a rhythm thing, it's a confidence thing, it's a game of confidence even at this level, and we need to figure that out in a hurry."

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Q: When did Calvin Munson know he was going to start at middle linebacker?

McAdoo: "We got Calvin reps later in the week. At the end of the Thursday practice, he started getting some reps in there with the defense. He got Friday and Saturday, but as soon as we knew B.J. (Goodson) was going to be out of the ballgame, he knew he was up and his number was called and he didn't flinch."

Q: It's an interesting dynamic on the defense because you've got veteran guys, guys who have been All-Pros and Pro Bowlers, and now you have a rookie free agent in the middle calling the signals. How did that all work, and did you like the way everyone else responded to Calvin?

McAdoo: "I believe everyone on the defense raised their level and going into the game, that's what they talked about. We had opportunities for players to step up and assume a bigger role on the defensive side last week, and the veteran players talked about it openly and we expected them to raise their level of play and for the most part we did." 

Q: One guy who stood out was DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). With Janoris Jenkins inactive, he took numerous snaps both at corner and in the slot. How did he respond?

McAdoo: "The opening third down of the game, he came up and made a nice tackle. DRC is one of our leaders, he's one of our guys and he set the tone early in the ballgame and handled a high workload. Guys fed off of him."

Q: A big play in the game was Jamal Agnew's 88-yard punt return touchdown. What did you see on the punt return? Was the punt too good?

McAdoo: "No, essentially we flipped the field with the punt, we just have to make the tackle and we had guys in the vicinity. We had one missed tackle on the play, and then the fundamentals that we talk about from the first day didn't show up. The long stride, short stride nipped us in the butt there. We need to do a better job with our fundamentals of long stride, short stride; we were long striding, and when you give a guy like that a seam, he can take it a long way."

Q: If you had tackled him and the defense held, you would have had the ball in a one-score game. Did that break it open in your mind?

McAdoo: "It changed the complexion of the game and the fourth quarter certainly. We felt offensively we had opportunities to make plays. Didn't necessarily handle the ball well, throwing it and catching it. More so catching it. We had a go route that we dropped right before that, that would have given us a chance to move the chains and have a big play that would have gotten us maybe to midfield or so, and that hurt us. Then right after that, having the punt return for a touchdown really swung the momentum in their favor. We were still in the ballgame in the fourth quarter with a chance to go down and score and respond with a defensive stop, and get the ball back and go down and score to tie it up. So I never felt like we were out of the ballgame at that point, but it certainly swung the momentum in their favor."

Q: The day after the game on your conference call you talked about how Detroit played the run on the way to the quarterback. Is the Eagles defense similar in that regard?

McAdoo: "Yes, very similar in the way they play up front in their front four."

Q: With (Brandon) Graham and (Fletcher) Cox, who already have combined for 4.5 sacks, is this as good of a front as you're going to see?

McAdoo: "It's as good and as deep. When they bring that second group in, they don't get a lot of attention, but they are very good and they're very deep in the front four, both inside and out."

Q: How about in the back with (Malcom) Jenkins?

McAdoo: "He's sharp with his key and diagnose. He can recognize concepts and he's quick to react, and he'll take a chance and try to make a play on the ball, and we all know he can do that."

Q: How much has (Carson) Wentz improved in his ability to move around the pocket, out of the pocket, and keep plays alive?

McAdoo: "He seems like he has eyes in the back of his head now. He's very aggressive trying to keep the play alive, slide in the pocket, come out of the pocket, and he's not afraid to take a chance down the field and make a throw that's a long opportunity ball for his guys. Throw it up to those big playmakers, whether it's the receivers or the tight end, to give him a chance to make a play down the field. It's up there and high and he's definitely developing."

Q: "They've changed their perimeter game with (wide receivers) Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Do they look a lot different on tape to you?

McAdoo: "They have some speed out there and they have some size out there. They are friendly targets, both of those guys, for the quarterback. Whether he has a chance to throw him open or put the ball on the body, they can do a little bit of both. Don't forget about (tight end Zach) Ertz. He's a very talented player. He's a smart player. You can see it with the way he knows how to find the holes in the zones and run away. Friendly for the quarterback versus his man."

Q: Their return game is very good. The last three years they lead the league in both kickoff and punt return touchdowns. (Darren) Sproles is a lot of that, but is it just a good scheme? Good players?

McAdoo: "I think they are talented, physical, and they are fast and just the fundamental part of the game they do a very good job of it."

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