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The McAdoo Report: Only focus is winning


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

Q: This week you play the Steelers in Pittsburgh. You're a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, you have great pride in the region, you understand its football history. No offense, but I have a hard time believing this really doesn't mean any more to you to go there and coach in that area. You can say you're just focused on the Steelers, but does it really mean nothing to you to return to your home area as an NFL head coach?

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McAdoo: "To tell you the truth, I don't have a second to think about it. Everything we do here is focused. Our schedule is so detailed and we're so focused on what we're trying to get done during the course of the week to get ready to play a game against a good opponent. Maybe when I drive through the (Fort Pitt) tunnel, it may hit me there a little bit. Other than that, we're focused on winning the ballgame."

Q: Will you have a large contingent of family and friends there?

McAdoo: "My wife is doing a great job. Toni's outstanding in that regard. She's handling everything. I separated myself from those things. We tell people once I report to training camp that those types of communications are over."

Q: You talked the other day about December football. You've been in plenty of pennant races in the NFL. The players are certainly aware of what's at stake and the importance of these games. What can you do as a coach just to drive that message home? Is it not letting little things slide at practice? Is it raising your voice? What do you do as a coach to make sure they get that message?

McAdoo: "I think the most important thing is that I need to be consistent. That's number one. Number two is they need to get lost in the details. It's harder for them to do that than it is a coach, just because we're here all the time. They have a chance to go home in the evenings and get a day off a week. To me, they need to get lost in the details. Let the big picture take care of itself. December is important, but it won't define us by any stretch of the imagination. What's ahead of that will. To me, it's just about getting lost in the details. Letting the big picture take care of itself. We're focused on staying in the moment and handling the task at hand. Winning today."

Q: You have so many young players that haven't been through this, so you're going to rely on veteran leadership. But you really don't have that many guys that have actually been through it. There's Eli (Manning), Zak (DeOssie), JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), Victor (Cruz)…DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) has played in a couple of Super Bowls. Is Eli going to be the one to really set the example as far as how to conduct yourself and prepare.

McAdoo: "I think the leaders lead by example as far as the way you prepare. I believe that youth and inexperience pumps energy into the building. That helps the veterans. I think it really does work both ways. There's a quote in a movie that is escaping me now, but the quote is, 'Those who know don't care, and those who care don't know.' I think a combination of veteran leadership and a bunch of youth pumping energy into that veteran leadership is very healthy for a team. It's a nice combination."

Q: Eli apologized to Sterling Shepard for not getting him a catch in Cleveland. What do you think about a 13-year veteran quarterback going up to a rookie receiver and doing that? Do you think it was necessary for him to do that?

McAdoo: "I don't think it's necessary, but I think it's healthy. It's not like we weren't looking his way. Eli has to go wherever the call dictates by coverage and not force any balls in there. I think it's healthy. I think Eli prepares tremendously and Shepard is really learning how to do that. I think that'll bring a relationship closer together. I gave Shepard a big hug after that just to let him know we were still thinking about him. And he had a touch in the game (a 22-yard run)."

Q: You've held six consecutive opponents to less than 100 rushing yards. Does that success start with the defensive tackles, Johnathan Hankins and Damon Harrison?

McAdoo: "It does all start up front. Team defense is team defense. Team run defense is team run defense, but the big guys always lead the charge, especially playing inside out. They're playing at a high level for us. We've had some good plans and we've made it hard on teams, which helps us."

Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Steelers

Q: I don't think you were ever asked about Adam Gettis and how he played filling in last week at left guard.

McAdoo: "Adam came in and he did a nice job for us. Like I said, he's been in that room and in the system in other places. He really jumped right in with both feet. He wasn't a hundred percent but fought through it. He gave us a chance to win the ball game. Very grateful for Adam."

Q: How satisfying is it that you have been able to start four different players at left guard and have kept going and winning even though you're shuffling guys in and out there?

McAdoo: "It's probably the most important group that needs consistency as far as who's playing. It just shows you the type of communicator really that (center) Weston (Richburg) is. Weston does a great job as a communicator up front. He has a rapport with all those guys and it shows."

Q: I'm sure you would prefer not to punt nine times, but last week Brad Wing put five inside the 20 and three inside the 10. Has he become a really underrated weapon for you?

McAdoo: "Yes. It's not an underrated weapon, he's a weapon for us. I said it back in camp. I like to go for it on fourth down, but it's hard to go for it on fourth down when you have him sitting there. You know what he can do for your team as far as creating field position and making it tougher for the opponent. We did punt too many times in the ballgame, but we chose to punt. We had confidence in the offense to be able to go for it, but we thought the way the game was going on the road and the grass, to use Brad the way the defense was playing it would've been advantageous for us."

Q: Robbie Gould has missed the three extra points in the last two weeks. He's an accomplished, veteran player. As a coach, do you say something about having confidence in him, or do you leave kickers alone and let them do their own thing?

McAdoo: "No, I just told Robbie that I've seen him make a bunch of big kicks in the past. They're coming. I told him at some point in time we're going to call his number to really make a big one for us and we trust him to do it. Just keep swinging."

Q: Your red zone touchdown percentage (60.7) is at the top half of the league. But you have only had 26 trips inside the 20-yard line, the second-lowest figure in the league. You talked the other day that you want more opportunities. Is that one of the things you're referring to, getting down inside the 20? You're good when you get inside the 20 but you don't get there enough?

McAdoo: "Exactly. We're one and change maybe possession away a ball game from being able to score the type of points we want to score on a consistent basis. The turnover ratio has flipped from what it's been. We need to take care of the ball better. That's part of the self-inflicted wounds. You can't lose possessions and expect to get down there and score more. You need to be a little bit better on third down and we need to take advantage of the big play opportunities. We haven't hit the big play opportunities that we've had. We certainly feel that if we keep working them we'll have a chance to cash in on them. If you have a chance to score five times a ball game and three out of those five are touchdowns, you're sitting right where you need to be points wise."

Q: Yesterday was the first REM Thursday. The players came to work later so they could sleep longer. Do you think late in the year the players need additional rest?

McAdoo: "Yes. We flipped the REM Wednesdays halfway through the season. For this last quarter, the stretch run, we went to REM Thursdays. Again, just to pump some energy into the locker room, give them a little extra rest. We think it'll go a long way toward stacking some W's."

Q: Is the Steelers' big three - quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown - as good a trio as you've seen this year?

McAdoo: "You'll have a hard time finding better. Ben's done it in a lot of different spots with a lot of different players around him. He can make every throw. Sitting there, he's hard to get on the ground. Big, strong, smart quarterback. Bell is such a tremendous player. His skillset makes him a tough guy to defend. Whether he's running the ball, getting the ball on the perimeter or playing receiver, he's very talented. He does a great job for them in two-minute. He's a two-minute offense all in himself, really. He can take the ball down and score and they can use him in a variety of ways. Brown is a guy that when you think of great receivers you think of guys that can blow the top off. He certainly can do that. He's a tremendous route runner. Short to intermediate and he can handle the gadget and deceptive type of things. He can be a returner for you and is a tremendous type of player. He's really polished for his skill set."

Q: Brown and Bell have 53 percent of the touches since Bell made his season debut in Week 4. They're going to get the ball - is the goal not let them do anything damaging when they have it?

McAdoo: "Yes. We have to tackle well. We have to be at our best tackling. They're going to try and get the ball out of Ben's hands quickly. Get him some touches, hand it to him, throw it to him down the field. They'll have a variety of ways to try and get them the ball. We just have to tackle well."

Q: They've integrated a lot of youngsters into their defense. Are the inside linebackers – Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier – the key players?

McAdoo: "No question. Timmons has been playing a while and Shazier is really coming into his own. At the outside linebacker spot, they have a lot of playmakers as well. It's in the bricks there as far as that defensive scheme. They just kind of plug guys in. They have coaches there that have played in the system and they have players that have played in the system a long time. They help educate the younger players. They just keep raising those guys up in the system. They're very talented. They know where the strengths and the weaknesses are in the scheme and each player. They fit together nicely. They've really improved tremendously since the beginning of the year."

A look at the expected starters for the Giants' Week 13 opponent

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