Ben McAdoo is a busy man. He's installing a new offense, forming opinions on personnel, and preparing himself for his first season as an NFL play-caller. But hanging over his head all summer has been a deadline that is fast approaching. In less than four weeks, the Giants open their regular season against the Lions and McAdoo, the Giants' offensive coordinator, wants the system to be at 100 percent of its capability by then.
"The biggest challenge," he said on Tuesday, "is time."
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Which is passing quickly. The Giants are almost halfway through their preseason, a period of time that was extended because of their inclusion in the Hall of Fame Game. McAdoo, speaking for the first time during training camp, said the offense is "making small strides" and growing, and the installation is about on the pace he expected it to be.
But like the tempo he hopes to achieve when he goes to a no-huddle look, the progress is never going to be quite fast enough for him.
"I try to stay calm, as calm as I can be," he said. "I think it helps. I think it helps the players and the coaches around you. It helps you think clearly. I'm not someone who is very patient by nature, that's something I have to work at."
If he needs inspiration to slow his respiration, he need only turn to Eli Manning. The quarterback, unlike his coordinator, seems utterly unfazed by the looming season, lack of preseason production, or any of the other concerns that have been voiced about the system.
"I would think that would be a good thing to have to work on if you are around Eli," Tom Coughlin said of Easy E influencing ManicAdoo. "If anything rubs off, it will be that."
McAdoo has been able to draw on Manning's famously collected nature.
"The response of the players and coaches the other night helped," McAdoo said. "We showed that we can overcome some adversity . . . We have a level-headed offensive group. There's a lot of character there. Anytime you can hang your hat on character you like your chances."
The plays still have to work, though. Both McAdoo and Manning say that is coming along.
"We're getting more comfortable with everything going on," Manning said. "I feel good, I thought we've had some good practices lately, making good decisions, picking up on things."
Will it be ready for the opener? Guard Geoff Schwartz played in Kansas City last season where they installed a new offense. He said it took 10 weeks before the players there felt comfortable with the system. Thanks to the Chiefs' defense the team started the season 9-0, but the Giants, coming off last year's 0-6 start, cannot afford to wait until mid-November to see this offense jell. General manager Jerry Reese already has placed a strong emphasis on a fast start to the season.
"I hope everything is set and ready for opening night," Manning said.
The clock is ticking. And if McAdoo thinks he's impatient, wait until he sees and hears Giants fans if his new system stalls out of the gate.