Tom Coughlin was asked about all the new faces he has to look at in meetings this year and he immediately started talking about the players. He had to be halted mid-sentence so the question could be clarified and re-asked. About the coaches.
The Giants replaced three long-time offensive coaches this offseason, parting ways with offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, tight ends coach Mike Pope and running backs coach Jerald Ingram. They were replaced with new coordinator Ben McAdoo, running backs coach Craig Johnson, and quarterbacks coach Danny Langsford. Two of the three position coaches who remain with the Giants have changed titles so that only Pat Flaherty, offensive line coach, holds the same title as he did last year. That's quite a shake-up for a staff that had been relatively intact for close to a decade.
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So before the players could even come together and start working on their chemistry, the coaching staff had to build their own.
"We put a lot of time in together," McAdoo said. "The staff has been great. A lot of us haven't worked together in the past but it's a talented staff, a high-character staff and we spent a lot of time together before the players got here. It was a little bit of an extended offseason and that helped us as coaches. Certainly you want the players here as soon as you can get them here, but we spent a lot of time together and tossed around the ideas. We all like football, we all love football, we enjoy talking about it, and that goes a long way."
"I think we've got a good group of coaches here and we're all on the same page," said Kevin M. Gilbride, the tight ends coach who last year coached the Giants receivers. "It has not been a difficult transition. It feels like we're all growing together and that's a strong thing, a positive thing."
One of the things that drew the new staff closer together, Johnson said, was taking ownership of the playbook. Normally when an assistant arrives with a team there is already an offense in place. Here with the Giants, they were basically starting from scratch and creating a new system from all of their collective past experiences.
"Right now there are no fans in the stands so it's all good right now," Johnson said. "It's been great. I think we all have a common goal and I think it's led by Coach Coughlin. Our goal is to go out there and win the Super Bowl. With that in mind we put our egos aside and all for one we try to get to the goal of getting to and winning the Super Bowl."
"It takes time to get to know one another but the way that the changes were accepted on the offensive side of the ball and the attitude on everyone, as it should be, was very, very positive," Coughlin said.
That, of course, is not always the case. There are certainly times when a coaching staff can be in discord.
"That's never going to happen," Coughlin insisted. "That's not going to happen. Everybody's going to be on the same page, which is just a tribute to the quality of the individuals and their understanding and belief in what we're doing."