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The McAdoo Report: Short Week Strategy


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

*Q: You play Thursday night in Philadelphia. How did you put together the game plan on such a short week? Did you start early? *

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McAdoo: "We have area experts on both sides of the ball. They have an opportunity to jump ahead the week before. Really get some ideas and brainstorm to get some things flowing. When you come in here Monday morning after the Lions game (the 17-6 victory last Sunday), you're ready to jump right into the meat and potatoes of the planning part. All the ground work is laid. The game planning part of it, a lot of trust goes into the assistant coaches and area experts."

Q: How about the physical challenge? You have only three days between games. How do you approach it?

McAdoo: "It's a stick and move mentality. It's something that they're used to. You just have to be smart with how long they're on their feet and the type of strenuous activities they're doing on their feet. We like to get them up and in and out of the meeting rooms. This way they'll have a chance to look at some slides and look at some film. Move them out to the field and do some feet meets on the field. Then, you'll do a jog-through type practice. Just have to keep them moving around, so they have opportunities to see on their feet as well as in the classroom."

Q: Will you do a lot of mental work during the day Thursday because it's a night game, or do you want them to rest when you get down there?

McAdoo: "You want to get them as much sleep as you can get them. We do want to get them up the day of the game because it is a long day. Get them thinking about football a little bit, but not too much."

Q: The Giants have played many night games in Philly. You were there for two of them. They have not played well the last two years down there. The Eagles play better at home (4-2 this season) and feed off the crowd. This week, how much do you think about the recent games down there?

McAdoo: "We know it's a rivalry game, and there is a lot of tradition between both teams. It's going to be a physical battle. Obviously, anytime you play at home, you have an advantage. I'm sure their crowd will be behind them. We just need to focus on our preparation and going in playing the best game we can play."

Q: If you win, you're in the playoffs. You have a lot of players here that have never played in the postseason. It's a very exciting time for them. Do you try and feed that excitement? Is that part of the deal this week? Or would you prefer they not think about it?

McAdoo: "I think it's important that we don't take the cheese this week. I think it's important that we focus on the task at hand. Be where our feet are. Not worry about what's going on outside of the building. Don't worry about scenarios, the holidays coming up, don't worry about any of that other stuff. It has nothing to do with the ballgame on Thursday night."

Q: The defense has allowed one touchdown in the last 26 opposition possessions. What do you see when you look at the tape that shows why this defense is playing so well?

McAdoo: "I think they bought into each other and into the scheme. They stay in the moment and they play with great effort. I think that's important. I think we're tackling pretty well. To me, great defense is like nuts and bolts. It fits well together. Right now, the guys are fitting well together."

Q: As a playcaller, when a defense is playing that well, you can approach it two ways. You can take some chances, and if they don't work out, they won't hurt much because the defense will stop the opponent. Or you can conclude you don't need to take chances, because the defense is playing so well. Against Detroit, it appeared you were in the "we don't have to take any chances" mode and seldom threw the ball downfield. Can you go either way on that when you have a defense playing really well?

McAdoo: "Yes, I think you can go either way. It depends on the defense that you're playing, what they're doing schematically, and how they're built. The conditions certainly factor. They play a part whether it's rain or wind. The scheme also matters."

Q: In the Rule 53 (rushing attempts plus completions), you came up one short, but you still won the game.

McAdoo: "Came up one short. Left some opportunities out there, but we're working on it each and every week. The tempo was not as fast. Last week, we slowed it down a little bit. We felt that might help us in the ballgame. I think it did."

Q: We've talked about the run game all year. You ran the ball better last week, but one area where it came up short was in the four-minute offense. You had to give the ball up last week. Does that concern you that when you've tried to keep the ball at the end of the game, you haven't been able to do it?

McAdoo: "We've done it once, and we were pretty close on a couple other opportunities. Again, you learn from the past, you move forward and you focus on the opponent this week."

Q: Paul Perkins has been a nice change-of-pace back for you. What do you like about him?

McAdoo: "Just a young back and a conscientious player. Working hard at protections and works hard in special teams for us. He gives us a core player there. Special teams is important to him. That's where it starts. For these young guys, they have to understand if they play well on special teams, they get opportunities on offense and defense. If that starts to slip, then they lose their opportunities on offense and defense. He's done a nice job on teams, stepping in and playing a nice role for us on offense. He's growing."

Q: The offense ran the ball better last week with Justin Pugh back in the lineup. Was Pugh a stabilizing force in there? No one was complaining about Ereck Flowers after the game. You protected Eli Manning pretty well.

McAdoo: "I think that when you complete the ball at a high percentage and you get your rush attempts up, it makes you a better offense. It's good to have Justin in there as he works his way back. He missed a good amount of time. It's good to have him back in the fold."

Q: The defensive players invariably mention Damon Harrison when asked why they're playing so well. He's an important player as the nose tackle. How important has he been from a leadership standpoint?

McAdoo: "Snacks is a guy that is a leader by example. He will speak up when he feels it's necessary. He's a guy that holds himself accountable. He's his biggest critic. I think that's a great place to start with a leader."

Q: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has not started the last six games. He was replaced by a rookie (Eli Apple). He seems to thrive in his role, and he played well after (Janoris) Jenkins was injured the other day. What can you say about a nine-year veteran that willingly stepped aside, but is still playing well?

McAdoo: "We have more than two starting corners. It just depends on which package we're in. DRC is a guy that we lean on inside and outside. He plays a variety of roles for us and can handle those roles. You saw him step up last week when Jackrabbit went out of the game. I don't know how fast he was running to catch (Golden) Tate there at the end, but he was running at a pretty good speed and pretty good clip (on a 67-yard gain). It gave us a chance to keep playing defense, and we got the turnover."

Q: The Eagles lead the NFL in time of possession. Last week, they ran the ball 38 times (for 169 yards). They will have (tackle) Lane Johnson back from suspension, and if (Allen) Barbre plays, they'll have the line they began the season with. Do you expect them to run the ball a lot to keep the pressure off (rookie quarterback) Carson Wentz?

McAdoo: "Yes, absolutely. They're getting their line back. They're running the ball very well and possessing the ball. We have to win the down in the run game on the defensive side. It's going to be more than just the defensive line this week. They do a nice job. They'll challenge us schematically there. We have to have confidence in our group to get the job done."

Q: They have a strong defensive front. How much of a challenge do they present to you, especially against your run game?

McAdoo: "They play very well up front. There will be some carryover from the scheme we saw last week with Detroit. They play a lot of the wide nine, but they're loaded up front. One of the best front fours in the game."

Q: Philadelphia is number one in the league in kickoff return average and number two in punt returns. How on point do your coverage teams have to be this week?

McAdoo: "We have been covering the ball well and that has to continue. They're always good on special teams. They're creative there, are physical and can run. We'll have to play our best football."

A look at the expected starters for the Giants' Week 16 opponent

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