LANDOVER, Md. — If the Giants need any convincing about whether offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo would be a capable replacement for Tom Coughlin, perhaps the endorsement of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might help. Or Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy.
After all, the two men know McAdoo well from his days with the Packers, and both are convinced that he’d make a terrific head coach.
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“Ben’s a great coach,” Rodgers told Newsday on Sunday a few minutes after leading Green Bay to a 35-18 win over Washington in an NFC wild-card playoff game. “He’s really advanced quickly, and the key is he’s got an excellent work ethic.”
McAdoo worked under McCarthy from 2006-13 before taking over as the Giants’ offensive coordinator in 2014. He was the Packers’ tight ends coach from 2006-11 and then was Rodgers’ quarterbacks coach in 2012-13 before succeeding Kevin Gilbride as the Giants’ offensive coordinator.
“He’s a grinder,” Rodgers said of McAdoo. “I’ve been around some grinders in my life. Mike McCarthy’s a grinder. [Former California coach] Jeff Tedford was a grinder. [McAdoo] puts in the work and he cares about it. We had a great time working together, him in kind of a new role as a quarterbacks coach, and we learned a lot from each other.”
Rodgers said McAdoo, now 38, “cares about it, and I think he improved his coaching ability. He improved his comfort in front of a room. Obviously, he’s done some good work as an offensive coordinator [with the Giants].”
McCarthy, who has known McAdoo since the two were with the Saints in 2004, believes McAdoo is uniquely suited to become a head coach.
“Ben is the ultimate preparation individual,” McCarthy said. “He’s prepared for this opportunity for a long time. He’s paid his dues. He’s earned his stripes. I’m real excited for the opportunities in front of him.”
Is he a better teacher or tactician?
“That’s a good question,” McCarthy said. “I’d have to say teacher, because I was never really able to see that here [because McAdoo didn’t call plays with the Packers]. But we watch a lot of film of the Giants, just because of the common concepts he uses with Eli [Manning].”
Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who is out for the season with a knee injury but continues to travel with the team, also endorsed McAdoo.
“He’s an extremely smart guy, and I think that’s something everyone took away when he was with Green Bay,” Nelson said. “He knows the game. I think he’s probably getting a lot of experience getting to know the Giants’ players, and if you can keep people in-house as much as possible and limit the changeover, that’s great. I think Ben would do a great job. He’s a great leader. He knows the game.”
Can McAdoo handle the New York market?
“I definitely think so,” McCarthy said. “Let’s be honest. In my opinion, it’s not about winning the press conference. I think that steadiness in handling the tough moments, which are going to come, is a big part of it. I think his personality, his disposition, his work ethic are perfect for that.”
And what about the media scrutiny?
“I don’t know about New York media,” Rodgers said, breaking into a smile. “It’s a tough media. But I think he can do it. Ben is a talented guy and he’s a fast learner. So as long as you guys aren’t too hard on him.”