The McAdoo Report, an exclusive weekly interview with Giants head coach Ben McAdoo.
Q: In your experience, are there overreactions following an opening game, good or bad? And as a coach, do you have to temper those and say, "It's just one game, you have 15 more to play."
McAdoo: "I think the important thing is you don't overreact to anything after Week 1. It's one game of 16. It's a long season. You talk about trusting the process. To throw the baby out with the bath water after one week makes no sense."
Q: Do you often see a significant improvement in communication, execution, etc. from Week 1 to Week 2?
McAdoo: "Yes, it's similar to the preseason from Week 1 to Week 2. In the regular season from Week 1 to Week 2, you get a chance to make a big jump and not just with fundamentals, but your physicality, the run game, offenses in general, because defenses are ahead of the game, especially early in the season. But communication, also, which is very important."
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Q: The offensive line has received a lot of criticism. Justin Pugh said the other day, "It's in our face, every time I turn around somebody is asking us what is wrong with the O-line." In a situation like that, do you say anything to those guys, like "You can either ignore it, or you can go out and do something about it?"
McAdoo: "We talked to them about not listening to the noise, about the only opinions that matter are the opinions in-house. We do recognize that we have a lot of work ahead, but we have confidence in our players and we are frank and we are honest about what we see on film and the grades with our players, so everyone's on the same page and knows where the emphasis needs to be to improve."
Q: Odell (Beckham, Jr.) had his weekly news conference yesterday and said it was the best he's felt since spraining his ankle while at the same time revealing it might be a "6-8 week thing." You get reports every day. In your mind, is he still day-to-day on the practice field and you're waiting for him to receive the okay from the medical staff?
McAdoo: "Listen, we are prepared for the future, but we take a lot of things day-to-day, and this is one thing that we take day-to-day. We'll get him the work that he needs and he can handle. Put him with the trainers, the medical staff, through the rehab and the conditioning and see how he wakes up the next day. If he improves, then he'll have a chance to do a little bit more. If he doesn't, then we will pull back a little bit. But it's a day-to-day thing."
Q: In the last four games last season, not counting the playoffs, your time of possession was more than 30 minutes in each game. In the loss the other night in Dallas, it was 25 minutes and change. How important is time of possession to you?
McAdoo: "Playing complementary team football is important to us. Playing the field position game, I feel, is essential to playing championship defense, and playing championship defense is the most important thing for this program because that's what's going to get us to where we want to go. The offense, you want to possess the ball, but it's a team stat, and I think number of plays is important. You want to have a high number of plays, you want to be able to possess the ball, but field position factors, the defense getting off the field so that the return team has a chance to function at a high-level factors, and the offense obviously getting first downs factors."
Keep an eye on these players in the Giants' home opener against the Lions
Q: The third down efficiency (33%, converting four of 12 opportunities) was not what you want it to be. How much of that in your mind was a first and second down issue, too? Or do you think you had manageable third downs, you just didn't take advantage of them?
McAdoo: "We had manageable third downs, especially early in the ballgame, and we had opportunities to convert on those third downs within the play. But breakdowns, again not in just one area, but breakdowns that were spread across the board, led to failure in those third downs. So we had manageable third downs, we had opportunities to convert the third downs, but the breakdowns made us unsuccessful on the third downs. So we have to eliminate those breakdowns. We are not going to eliminate them completely, but we have to take a step to get better from Week 1 to Week 2, and we will."
Q: You've talked a lot about Eli Manning's completion percentage, which was actually pretty high (76.3%) last week. But the average per attempt (5.8 yards) was not. Is there a tradeoff sometimes? Would you like to see the completion percentage a little lower if he takes some chances downfield and maybe gets some big plays? Or if it's just not there, do you not want him to take those chances?
McAdoo: "We don't want to throw the ball up for grabs. At the end of the game, there are points where you have to take some chances that you normally wouldn't take, but those are situationally based. With the way the game started and with the way the game progressed in the fourth quarter, those drives at the end of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth quarter would have been a check-down fest. To dump the ball underneath and take a bunch of completions, you would have had a chance to move the chains and chew some clock. But we had the interception on a drive where we are still in the ballgame (trailing by 13 with 7:49 remaining). We had a chance to go down and score. We were getting close to midfield and if we just dumped the ball down there and continued to get north and south after the catch, we have a chance to go down and put points on the board. Sometimes, that's what you have to do in those types of ballgames, where if they are dropping seven or eight with a lot of depth and rallying to the ball with vision, you have to set deep in the pocket, buy some time, and check the ball down and let the guys work for you there."
Q: Staying with that theme, Eli threw four passes to Brandon Marshall. Do you want your quarterback to try to get a weapon like that more involved in the game, or do you prefer it be within the flow of the game?
McAdoo: "Listen, you want to get everybody involved. You only play with one football and our opportunities early in the ballgame were few and far between. Brandon had a chance to be a target on a few opportunities where we had some breakdowns, we didn't have a chance to get the ball out. That would have moved the chains for us. It's just the way the game went. It's unfortunate, but it's part of football."
Q: (Second-round rookie) Dalvin Tomlinson started at defensive tackle. How did he play?
McAdoo: "Dalvin, the game wasn't too big for him. He did some things well, he had some things that he has to learn from and grow and continue to improve, and he will."
Q: Dalvin plays a physical position. (First-round tight end) Evan Engram also started at a position that might present more of a mental challenge. For rookies playing in their first game, do you think it is harder for them mentally or physically?
McAdoo: "I think there are a lot of adjustments that need to be made in that first game, especially in that type of atmosphere, on that type of fast track. I think they have to get used to the electricity, the physicality, the speed of the game, the adjustments that occur within the game. A lot of things changing, a lot of things happen quickly in pro football, but they definitely showed that it wasn't too big for them."
A look at the expected starters for the Lions on Monday night
Q: You just played the Lions five games ago and yet their lineup has significantly changed. None of the five offensive linemen who played last year are in the same spots, the top two running backs (Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick) didn't play last year, and they have a rookie receiver (Kenny Golladay) who scored two touchdowns in their opening victory last week. When you studied them this week, do they look much different than they did nine months ago?
McAdoo: "They are a different team. They are playing very well. They are hot. They had a nice come-from-behind win, which they can do. That has been (quarterback) Matthew Stafford's M.O. The quarterback's playing well, playing with a lot of confidence, extending plays. They possess some matchup problems for you, for anybody they play with the backs out of the backfield and the tight end with some size and speed in (Eric) Ebron, and the receivers that they do have. Whether it's a guy who is quick underneath or a big man that can run pretty well.
"On defense, it starts up front for them. They are doing a nice job of getting after the quarterback, pushing the pocket, and they mix in those wide nine fronts, which are a challenge. They squeeze the pocket and they squeeze the run at the same time. (Jarrad) Davis is a young linebacker who's continuing to grow and learn the pro game. They threw him in there right off the bat and he's developing for them. (Free safety Glover) Quin does a good job directing the secondary. They are very multiple. They have a lot of calls. Special teams is where they probably don't get as much attention as they deserve. They are very good on special teams. They have a bunch of core players. They roll maybe eight different guys in there that have a lot of value on special teams for them, and they are very good."
Q: Last year, you said their coverage teams were as good as any you had played. Are they still?
McAdoo: "They are still very good. They have safeties and linebackers, too many to mention, really, that jump off the charts. They have pro special teams players."
Q: It seems like every week you play a kicker who is one of the best. (Matt) Prater is pretty good.
McAdoo: "Yeah, Prater is pretty good. We are just out of the kickoff meeting, talking about not only is he good as a placekicker, but whether he kicks off or shares kickoff duties, he's dynamic with the placement of the ball and the hang (time)."