When playing and coaching in New York, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells once famously said, “There are two things in New York, euphoria and disaster.”
Ben McAdoo has been the Giants’ offensive coordinator for all of just five regular season games so far, and yet the former Packers quarterback coach already has gotten a good taste of the city’s two extremes. New York’s performance offensively from the start of the preseason leading into the team’s regular season debut was nothing short of a disaster, and McAdoo took some heat for failing to have the offense look anything close to competent.
Since then, McAdoo has flipped the script and has been much more as advertised, from the excellent ground production of Rashad Jennings and the effective play of a new-look offensive line to the reinvention of Eli Manning as an efficient, accurate West Coast Offense style quarterback.
For McAdoo, the next challenge is one of adjusting. It started this past week against Atlanta, where the Falcons defense keyed in on Larry Donnell in the red zone and put in great effort to slow down Victor Cruz. Eli Manning and company passed the first test with flying colors.
“We were very methodical last week,” McAdoo said. “We did a nice job of not forcing the football to certain guys. We trusted everyone on the field and the ball went where it was supposed to go. That is very big and important and it shows that we can play with discipline and detail. If we have to go the long haul and have long drives and run the ball and take completions and not penalize ourselves, then we are capable of doing that.”
Adjusting to defenses keying in on certain players means that other players need to answer the call, and the Giants are looking to rookies Odell Beckham Jr. and Andre Williams to fill big roles in the coming weeks. Williams, expected to start for an injured Rashad Jennings, received positive reinforcement from McAdoo while the wait and see approach has been taken in regards to Beckham’s continued development.
“Andre has been preparing each and every week like he is going to be a starter,” said McAdoo. “We rotate those guys and he has had some opportunities and he has made the most of them. A lot of times he gets in at the end of games when the yards are tough to come by. Next man up. We believe he is ready. We trust him.”
No one questions Williams’ running ability, including McAdoo, who described his style as running “like he is going to tackle you”. Stepping up to replace the every-down reliability of Jennings will be the real challenge, given Williams’ much highlighted inexperience catching the football but also protecting the quarterback in passing situations as well.
Playing a 4-1 Eagles team on Sunday night, Ben McAdoo knows he needs his rookies to perform like veterans as to avoid the mistakes that a defense he described as “opportunistic” will capitalize on. But should the Giants take control of the NFC East, starting with a win on Sunday, McAdoo better get used to the euphoria.