The McAdoo Report, Giants.com's exclusive weekly interview with head coach Ben McAdoo:
Note: The Giants, seeded fifth in the NFC playoffs, will visit the fourth-seeded Green Bay Packers Sunday in a wild card game in Lambeau Field.
Q: We talked when the season began about the speed and intensity of the games ramping after the preseason. You've been on the sidelines for a lot of postseason games. Is the same true when you go from the regular season to the postseason?
McAdoo: "We talked on Tuesday to the players about how the speed and the physicality of the game goes up. We always talk about winning your one-on-one matchups. The degree to which one will go to win their one-on-one matchup really goes up in these types of games. You can really see and feel the intensity."
Q: What is the most important thing you do to execute well in frigid weather?
McAdoo: "I think it's more challenging in a practice environment than it is in a game environment. In a game environment, you're out there for short bursts and then you're on the bench. The benches are heated and the sidelines are somewhat warmer. The most important thing is just focusing on the game. It's not about the elements, it's about preparing, anticipating, executing, and then being ready to adjust during the course of the game. That's what makes these games so special. It could come down to one play. One play changes the game, changes your season, changes the course of history. You have to be really dialed into what we're doing."
Q: You have a lot of guys that haven't played in weather like this. Do you address it? Or do you prepare for it just like any other game?
McAdoo: "Good. You ask me about it and it's good. Weather is good. The weather is like 'Fight Club'. The first and second rule is we don't talk about 'Fight Club.' It's good; the weather is what it is."
Q: We've talked a lot this year about how you like to be aggressive, such as going for it on fourth down. Will your game management decisions be influenced by the stakes of the game, or do you want to treat it like any other game?
McAdoo: "They won't be influenced by the stakes of the game, but the conditions of the game always impact the decisions being made in the game."
*Q: You have about 15 guys that have been in the playoffs. Half of them have played in Super Bowls. Experience in any endeavor is usually considered important, but you said yesterday that it doesn't matter. How come experience doesn't matter in a game like this? *
McAdoo: "I'll take a prepared player over an experienced player any day of the week. Just because you're experienced doesn't mean you're prepared. I think you need to prepare so you can go out there and anticipate. You have an opportunity to execute, and it's a lot easier to adjust when you're prepared. To channel all that energy. There's a lot of energy in the building and out on that field. You have to channel that into your preparation in getting ready to go."
Q: You have repeatedly mentioned this week the importance of preparation. Is that how you've dealt with the players, too, that in a game of this magnitude, it's all about preparation?
McAdoo: "It is usually each and every week. It's about preparation. It's about getting ready for what we're going to see. Getting ready for what our job is and what the job of the man next to you is. What your one-on-one matchup is. How the man who fits with your one-on-one matchup is going to play. Being able to execute the plan."
Q: One of the players with a lot of postseason experience is Eli Manning, who has excelled in these situations and in this venue before. As a coach, is there a certain comfort going into a game like this with a quarterback that has done it in these situations and conditions?
McAdoo: "Eli and I have never gone through this process together as far as getting ready for a postseason game. We've gone through the process of going through games together. We're going to treat it just like any other ballgame. It's the ultimate team sport. It's not just going to take Eli preparing for the ballgame, it's going to take everyone preparing for the ballgame."
Q: Last week in Washington, the formula for victory was very strong defense, no turnovers, and you ran the ball well. But you still didn't score as many points as you would have liked. Do you think that could be a successful plan moving forward, or do you need to score more points in these games?
McAdoo: "I think every game is different. You have to come out and, obviously, playing great defense travels. That's important to us. Field position is an important part of the ballgame. Taking care of the football on offense is important. We hit the rule 53 (rushing attempts plus completions), that's important. You need to score enough points to win."
Q: Eli Apple and Sterling Shepard were your top two draft choices this year. But among the other rookies playing big roles, Paul Perkins was a fifth-round selection, and Andrew Adams, Romeo Okwara and Roger Lewis, Jr. were not drafted. How much confidence do you have in your rookies at this point?
McAdoo: "We put a lot of time and effort and energy into coaching the young players in the offseason and training camp, as well as playing them early in the season, knowing that there would be mistakes. We had an opportunity to trust the coaching staff and trust the players to fix those mistakes so they wouldn't happen. Increase their roles on special teams, offense and defense. We made progress, but this is really the time of year we need to cash in on those opportunities to play early in the season for those young players."
Q: Perkins ran for 102 yards in the victory in Washington. What does he give you?
McAdoo: "He's a bigger back than he probably gets credit for. He's a little thicker in the lowers. He has good anticipation and good instincts. He sees it pretty well and pretty cleanly. He had a nice day last week. He has to prepare this week and when he has an opportunity to catch the ball, cash in on it."
Q: Your secondary, whose members are now calling themselves the NYPD, the New York Pass Defense, is an interesting group. You have veterans like Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins), DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and (Leon) Hall, plus the young players (Landon Collins, Apple and Adams). Can you talk about how that group has come together to play at the high level we're seeing now?
McAdoo: "They're a group that works well together. I think the closeness of the group on and off the field is important. They trust each other and enjoy seeing each other have some success. It's a position that obviously has some good talent to it. They're well-coached, and it's exciting to be able to go out there and cover people the way they can cover people."
Q: It looks like DRC at age 30 is still improving.
McAdoo: "DRC is a guy that has really grown. I think he's excited to play with this team in the locker room. The young players give him some energy. It's encouraging to see young players get better and perform. He's one of our leaders."
Q: You always say that good defense starts with stopping the run. Is that true when you play a pass-first team like the Packers?
McAdoo: "Without a doubt. If you give Aaron (Rodgers) a run game, he's going to be very hard to stop. He takes a lot of pride in taking care of the football. He's very accurate with his throws. Very calculating with his decisions. If you give him a run game, you open up the whole playbook."
Q: You know him very well. He is so good at getting it outside the pocket and making plays on the move, making something out of seemingly nothing. Do you think he prefers to do that rather than stand in the pocket and throw the ball?
McAdoo: "I think he enjoys playing the game. It shows in the way he plays. I think the timing, precision and rhythm of things is something he's always been good at, and always worked hard at. When he's on time and in rhythm, he can be very deadly. When he is not in rhythm and they're not in rhythm and there aren't guys open on time, he can kill you by extending plays. That's really where he can hurt you. He can hurt you in the pocket and out of the pocket. He's worked very hard at getting there. He obviously has some talent, but he's put a lot of time and effort into improving his game."
*Q: He has three wide receivers with at least 60 catches apiece, and two tight ends with 30 each. Is this as good a group that he has had to throw to? *
McAdoo: "That's hard to say. I think you have to be on the inside to really know that. Just studying him on film, I know that they present some matchup problems and challenges."
Q: He's gotten them 130 yards this year by getting the opposition penalized for having 12 men on the field, or using a hard count to induce an offside. That's a lot of free 5-yard chunks. How do you combat that?
McAdoo: "It's got to be a complete effort on defense and special teams to be committed to discipline and poise. It's easier said than done. He spends a lot of time on the game within the game. He'll look for things. He'll look toward the sidelines heading into third down. He'll target certain players with his cadence. He does a fine job at it." Q: The two players who are the strength of their defensive front upfront, Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion, what kind of challenges do they present?
McAdoo: "Two different guys. Guion is a physical player. More of a pocket pusher. Daniels is an explosive guy. He has some twitch and a tremendous motor."
Q: They've had a lot of injuries at cornerback. Have their safeties, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett, held the secondary together?
McAdoo: "Yes, and you can put Micah (Hyde) in the mix as well. Those three guys, I know Morgan and I know Micah. They're very smart and instinctive players. They're good communicators. Nothing helps a player more than good communication."
These five players could make a key impact in Sunday's matchup with the Packers