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The McAdoo Report: Responding to challenges


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


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The McAdoo Report,'s exclusive weekly interview with head coach Ben McAdoo:

Q: The game Sunday night in Denver represents your biggest challenge as a head coach. You're playing a good team in a difficult venue, you have inexperienced receivers, injuries to key players, a suspended player (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). Do you stick to your mantra that this is one of 16 games, or do you really present to the players that you have a special challenge?

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McAdoo: "It is one of sixteen. We talked as a team about playing a big game on a big stage. It's a great opportunity for a lot of the guys who probably didn't think they would be playing at this point, and that part of it is exciting for them. It's exciting for us. Nobody is giving us a chance in this ballgame. They're saying without Odell (Beckham, Jr.), we can't score points. Our defense lost its stinger and our special teams aren't showing up the way they are capable of showing up. So we need to go out on this big stage and prove that we're a good football team, and show the world what we're capable of doing."

Q: Have you been pleased with the way the players have responded? Not just to being 0-5, but the hit you took with all the injuries you suffered against the Chargers?

McAdoo: "I thought Wednesday was an excellent practice. We had a lot of energy, the offense was crisp, the ball hit the ground two times throughout the whole practice. We had a lot of new pieces in there working. We didn't miss a beat that way. We need to make sure we carry that over to the game, but guys have responded in a positive way with some energy."

Q: When you go through a challenging period as a team, you can stay the course and try to improve on what you're doing or you can change things up. Where do you lie on that spectrum? A little bit of each?

McAdoo: "Yeah, I think fundamentals, we're trying to get better. Sound, smart and tough. Committed to discipline. Poise, we're trying to improve it. We try to change things up a little bit to take the monotony out of things. Like (Thursday), we switched up the practice a little bit. We've been switching the meetings up a little bit, we've been changing up the messages with who's talking and when they're talking to the team. And really the night before the game, those meeting we've been changing them up a little bit, so it's a little bit of everything and anything. You never lose your core principles and what you believe in, but a little change-up is good and positivity is definitely the way to go."

Q: It's a cut-throat business, but you still have a fraternity of coaches, you still have friends and mentors in football. When you go through a tough time like this, do you get texts or calls from people you know saying, "hang in there, you'll get through this?"

McAdoo: "Tough times come, tough times go. Tough people last, and usually you hear from some other tough people when you're going through these types of times. Whether it's in this profession or whether it's in another professional sport. You hear from people who have gone through similar types of things and have found a way to rebound, or maybe have not found a way to rebound. But it's good to hear from mentors and familiar voices and talk to people who can help you out a little bit. But at the end of the day, it's inside this building. It's inside this building, inside the locker room with the players and the coaches and the rest of the building. Get everybody to continue to pull in the same direction and speaking the same language and believing."

Q: What do you like about Donte Deayon, who you signed off the practice squad to replace Rodgers-Cromartie?

McAdoo: "Donte Deayon brings a lot of energy to the game. He loves football, he gets football, and we're excited to go out there and give him an opportunity to compete."

Q: Losing four players at one position (wide receiver) as you did last week, have you ever been through something like that?

McAdoo: "I'm excited to get these young guys up and give them a chance to compete. T.K. (Tavarres King) is a guy that has been a workhorse for us. We had to let him go for a brief period of time. It's exciting that we can bring him back and give him an opportunity to go out and play. No one thought it would be like this, but it's exciting to get him out there and (Travis) Rudolph, giving Roger (Lewis) a bigger load as a receiver and getting (Ed) Eagan up there. It's exciting for the tight ends, I'm sure. So we're excited to go out and see where our program is and developing players and giving them a chance to go out and compete at a high level versus a tremendous defense."

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Q: How helpful is it that you brought in guys that know the system and you're not starting from scratch at this point in the season?

McAdoo: "I think it just shows you the strength of the program to be able to have the next-man-up mentality and trust that you have good, quality depth behind the players that won't be playing."

Q: Do you have to alter the way you game plan because you have inexperienced receivers?

McAdoo: "I think you have to look at things through a little bit of a different lens when you plan, but I'm going to keep that to myself."

Q: You mentioned Roger Lewis is going to take on a larger role. He's your most experienced receiver now. What do you like about Roger and what makes you think he is ready to take that on?

McAdoo: "Roger has been around here for two years now. He has the size, he has the speed, he's been in the system, it's not too big for him. I'm sure he's excited to go out there and prove that he can be a receiver and not just a special teams player; that he can play both roles as a special teamer and as a wide receiver in this league, and it will be great to watch."

Q: How important is it to have a calming influence like Eli (Manning) on the field this week and on Sunday night?

McAdoo: "That's Eli. One of his biggest strengths is he is very consistent with the way he handles things. That speaks volumes. The players will feed off of that and it will have a calming influence on them, and they'll have a chance to go out and play with a calm mind, which will be helpful in that type of venue."

Q: You didn't just lose wideouts, you lost your return specialist in Dwayne Harris.

McAdoo: "Travis (Rudolph) and (Ed) Eagan have been around here throughout training camp and so far this year, and they'll get an opportunity to showcase what they can do. Next man up. Don't worry about the guys you lost, we got to worry about the guys we have and coach them up."

Q: Why did you run the ball so much better last week? Did (substitute right guard) D.J. Fluker make that much of a difference?

McAdoo: "I think it was a little bit of everything. I think we blocked better up front, so you have to give credit to the offensive line, not just one man, but the whole group as a unit. The tight ends had a better day. We had four explosive runs (more than 10 yards). The receivers played a big factor in the explosive runs, springing them. Backs ran hard, we broke tackles; we had 102 yards after contact. Anytime you have 102 yards after contact, you had the backs run hard."

Q: You had a couple of false starts, defensive offsides, an illegal shift. Are those penalties a result of lack of concentration?

McAdoo: "They're focus, lack of concentration, we got to stay in the moment better. I talked to them about it yesterday. Staying in the moment better. Sometimes it looks that we're trying too hard instead of playing hard. Make sure you're focused, your concentration is where it needs to be and play hard when the ball is snapped."

Q: Usually when we discuss the opposing team, we start with the skill players. But with the Broncos, their offensive and defensive lines are outstanding. Is that where it starts with Denver?

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McAdoo: "They're giving up what, 50 yards rushing a game? They're very good on defense on all three levels, they're physical, they're fast, they tackle well. Very good defense. Offensive line, they re-built it somewhat and they're good up front. Added a first round pick at left tackle (Garrett Boles). He's playing at a good level for them. They work to run the ball and are physical running the ball and the play action comes off of it."

Q: What are your impressions of the Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian?

McAdoo: "Things that stand out are his footwork, his confidence, and throwing in rhythm with anticipation. He's able to extend plays, not just in the pocket with sliding and moving, but outside of the pocket. He's very good on the move and he's comfortable on the move. And, really, the play action game helps him tremendously when they get a run game going. He has those receiving threats down the field in (Emmanuel) Sanders and (Demaryius) Thomas, and that really helps him create separation."

Q: If you watched a tape of the Broncos defense and they weren't wearing numbers, would Von Miller stand out?

McAdoo: "Von Miller and (Shaq) Barrett on the other side, he flashes some, too. Von, his first step is impressive. It's like trying to block a 250-pound sprinter."

Q: Lastly, your coverage teams have to be on top of their game against their returners, (Cody) Latimer and (Isaiah) McKenzie.

McAdoo: "Absolutely. It will be a tough task, but we definitely feel confident in our coverage teams. We'll have to be smart with how we place the ball and how we hang it up there, but we're definitely confident in our coverage teams."

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