Ben McAdoo may be behind the wheel of the Giants' offense, but the new coordinator said on Thursday that the players will be the GPS and tell him how to navigate the unit.
"Every offensive system is its own living, breathing organism," McAdoo said. "At the end of the day, you have to make sure you are flexible enough. It depends on what type of personnel you feed it for what it's going to look like. So it's a little early to know what we're going to look like now. We're just in the beginning phases of what the roster is going to look like."
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That doesn't mean McAdoo and the staff aren't able to put some basic principles into place while the front office decides whom to sign, draft and cut.
"We're going to be an offense that, we're going to have an identity first and foremost," he said. "We're going to be sound, smart and tough. We're going to be committed to discipline and poise. And at the end of the day, we're going to hang our hat on the fundamentals."
One player McAdoo knows he will have is Eli Manning, and he said the quarterback will play a large role in determining what the offense evolves into.
"As Eli gets his hands on it and has a chance to get comfortable with it, we'll make tweaks here and there," McAdoo said. "Really as the offseason and training camp goes on, every offensive system tailors toward the strengths of the starting quarterback, what he does well and what he doesn't do well . . . At the end of the day, this system is built around your personnel, not the other way around."
McAdoo touched on some of the variables in play. He described what he is looking for in a tight end, one of the positions the Giants will need to address this offseason. He described the anticipated changes on the offensive line as "opportunities" for younger players (while the Giants attempt to clear some cap space by asking Chris Snee and David Baas to take pay cuts).
He said the screen pass will be a "focal point" of the offense and added that the Giants will incorporate some West Coast offense philosophies in their overall system. He also said he was "groomed" to be a play-caller in the NFL under Packers coach Mike McCarthy; this will be his first season with that responsibility.
McAdoo replaces Kevin Gilbride, who helped win two Super Bowls but whose unit experienced a precipitous drop in 2013. That led Giants co-owner John Mara to describe the offense as "broken."
"It's important for everyone to understand that we're going to move forward, we're going to learn from the past and we're going to work so that that doesn't happen again," McAdoo said.
But it won't be McAdoo who does that. At least not alone.
"First things first," he said. "It's not my system, it's our system. And we're building it right now."