The McAdoo report, an exclusive weekly interview with Giants head coach Ben McAdoo:
Q: Several players said this week they are shocked to be 0-3. Are you trying to stress that you see signs of improvement, and there is a long way to go?
McAdoo: "I think for us right now, we need to focus on the details of our play. We need to learn the lessons that we've learned the first three weeks and focus on playing good football this week."
Q: A last-second loss (like the Giants' 27-24 defeat in Philadelphia) is always difficult, but did you see a lot of good things when you watched the tape? Were there positives that you could build on?
McAdoo: "I think there were some encouraging things that we saw on film. Obviously, it's a tough way to lose to a division opponent on the road. You fight so hard to get back in the game after it being a two-score game. That's probably the biggest thing for us as a team. That kind of game shows the type of fight that you have and the players that you have. We have a lot of fight left in us, and that's a great place to start."
Q: Why do you think the offense took off in the fourth quarter (when the Giants scored all 24 of their points)?
McAdoo: "We just finished drives. I think the offense really moved the ball during the course of the first half. We had a dropped ball on a third down, we had an interception, we had plenty of opportunities to score points, because we were moving the ball consistently. We just weren't finishing drives. So we had errors that we were in control of, whether it was a short-yardage error or the dropped ball on a third down, and then the interception down in the red zone hurt us. We had three drives that we were in control of with an opportunity to put points on the board, and we didn't do it. And then the fourth down we didn't convert there (at the Eagles' one-yard line just before halftime). There were four opportunities right there where we were moving the ball and we just didn't get points out of them, which hurts you."
Q: Your passing game put up a lot of numbers. You didn't run the ball as well as you wanted. What is your approach as you move onto the next game? Try to build on the passing game or try to get the running game going?
McAdoo: "We obviously want to run the football. That's important to us, but we need to get the ball in the hands of the people who can make the plays for us. The players who can change the game and can change the score for us. But running the ball helps us stay balanced, it helps us play with physicality, and it helps us in pass protection as well."
Q: You gave up 193 yards rushing yards last week, which is very uncharacteristic for your defense. They seemed to go to Olivier Vernon's side a lot when he left the game. Do you think that had a lot to do with it, did the defense just not play the run well?
McAdoo: "You can't just point to one thing when you give up 193 yards rushing. The biggest thing for us is we need to destroy blocks better, and we need to tackle better. We had too many missed tackles, and everybody is a part of the run game. It's not just the defensive line, it's not just the linebackers, but the defensive backs' fit in there as well. We need to tackle better."
Q: On Odell's (Beckham) second touchdown, Jalen Mills was right next to him. You often hear the phrase about a great receiver, "when he's covered he's open." Is Odell one of those receivers? And is that always a good thing? Sometimes you might force the ball to him.
McAdoo: "If Odell is one-on-one, throw it to him. If he's one-on-one, throw him the ball. We have that much confidence in him. I'm pretty sure if you ask Eli (Manning), he has that much confidence in him. So if he's one-on-one, he's a guy you want to throw to."
Q: So when he's covered by one defender, he's open?
McAdoo: "That makes sense to me."
Q: Sterling Shepard appeared to score on consecutive plays just prior to halftime, but neither touchdown counted. What would you tell him to do differently so they would be touchdowns?
McAdoo: "Well the first one, he could give himself a little more room from a technique standpoint by the way he attacks the defender. That will give him an opportunity to get a little more depth, so he is running the thing inside of the goal line instead of just short of the goal line or right at the goal line. That will help him there. On the second one, on the dropped ball in the corner where he hit the ground, professional athletes and receivers in this league are very talented. My thing for him would be to look the ball into the tuck and trust your feet, because you're a pro athlete and a receiver in this league, so you can catch the ball, look it in, secure it and roll on your side, and not necessarily look down to see if your feet are in bounds. Because once you look down, then you have a hard time securing the catch, because you're going to land on the ball. When you land on the ball, it's going to come out."
Q: This is the ultimate team game, but (punter) Brad Wing has been very hard on himself, blaming himself for the last two losses. He said one teammate who approached him was Eli Manning, who told him he's thrown interceptions on potential game-winning drives. Does Eli often exhibit that kind of leadership without us hearing about it?
McAdoo: "Eli's experienced a lot of highs in this profession, and when you experience that many highs, you're obviously going to have some moments that you would like to have back that you learn from and you grow from. So who better to help educate younger players in this league than Eli? I know he does things behind the scenes, but I don't always get to hear or see them, either. That's just the way he goes about everything. In the locker room, with the media, with his teammates, that's the way he lives his life. He likes to be under the radar."
Q: People kind of think of Eli as a stationary quarterback who doesn't move in the pocket and changes little from week-to-week. But last week you incorporated more tempo into the game, and he played very well. Is Eli a little more flexible about playing different ways than we give him credit for?
McAdoo: "We saw in 2014. It was a challenge for him to change systems, but he was all in on it, and he really made a lot of progress and is still making progress, and still working on things and still learning. It's not that he's inflexible, it just takes time. He's motivated, he's focused, he's into the plan each and every week, and when you make subtle changes like that, he buys in and he works hard to execute."
Q: You have just two takeaways in three games, neither of them interceptions. You don't want anyone straying from their assignment, but is there anything you can do to take the ball away more often?
McAdoo: "Turnovers for defenses that makes messes, they come in bunches. It's like receivers when they get balls. They usually come in bunches. You can't go chasing them. That's the last thing you want to do. You don't want to go outside of the system and try to create them. You just want to do your job, do it at a high level and when your opportunities come, you have to be ready for them, you have to cash in on them. That's why the ball drills at this point in time in the season for the DBs are very important, because they don't have their chance to get their hands on a lot of footballs. So just capitalizing on those opportunities in practice, and when the game comes you'll get your opportunities. They'll come sooner rather than later, and cash in on them when they do come."
Q: It's often said that if a cornerback gives up a long pass, he has to forget about it immediately and move on. Does that hold true for a rough game? Eli Apple did not play his best game in Philadelphia, with two big pass interference penalties and being part of the coverage when the Eagles completed the pass that set up their game-winning field goal. He's a young player, but do you think he's already developed that mentality of being able to move on?
McAdoo: "I think if he hasn't shown that mentality, he wouldn't be here, and that's a big part of it. The players who really have confidence in this league are the guys who truly buy into that, and try to perfect that as they go through their career. I think that is important for a corner, it is important for Eli. The encouraging thing about Eli is you saw he didn't play the first deep ball in the game. Then he came back on the second deep ball and played it perfectly, in my mind. Whether that's pass interference or not pass interference, you can debate that, but I'll take that. I'll take that any day of the week the way he played the ball. You learn over the course of the game, that's huge for a player."
Q: J.T. Thomas was placed on injured reserve for the second year in a row after working so hard to come back from his torn ACL. Is it hard to see a player go through that?
McAdoo: "I feel for J.T. I know how hard he's worked to get himself back on the field this year. We had a couple hiccups last year and then to get back on the field this year and to be a big part of this team. To have that taken away is tough to swallow for him, and we wish him nothing but the best and a healthy recovery."
A look at the expected starters for the Buccaneers on Sunday
Q: Sunday's opponent, the Buccaneers, doesn't have its best running back, Doug Martin, but it seems to still have numerous offensive weapons.
McAdoo: "They have a very good skill group. They have size and athleticism and speed at the receiver and the tight end spots, and that makes anybody tough to defend. Then when your quarterback is a player who is capable of getting hot, has a ton of confidence and a big arm, you obviously have to be well-prepared."
Q: You talked about (Gerald) McCoy this week. The defense starts with him up front, but you can't overlook the linebackers, (Lavonte) David and (Kwon) Alexander.
McAdoo: "They are very good. They feed off of them. McCoy makes messes and they are fast and aggressive to the football. They do a great job of seeing the ball, getting the ball and they run. They are kind of like big safeties playing the linebacker spot, physical players, but they can fly."
Q: Very few of (Bryan) Anger's punts get returned and when they do, Josh Robinson, an outstanding gunner, is usually right there.
McAdoo: "Anger is a guy that is very good with his hang. He puts the ball where he wants to put it. So his location and his hang time give them a great advantage there."
Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Buccaneers