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Ben McAdoo: Giants defense won’t rest next season

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo looks on against the

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo looks on against the Detroit Lions during their game at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

INDIANAPOLIS — Ben McAdoo does not want the defense to fall into the same trap in 2017 that the offense did in 2016.

“I know there were a lot of questions asked on how good our offense was going to be last year going into the season and as I said last year, that’s a loser’s mentality,” McAdoo said on Wednesday at the Combine. “If you think you can just show up and start where you left off, you’re not going to get very far for very long in this business.”

The defense, with the help of $200 million in free agency acquisitions, jumped from last in the league in 2015 to 10th overall in 2016 and was a big reason the Giants won 11 games. The offense, meanwhile, plummeted from eighth in 2015 to 25th.

So while several Giants players have expressed an interest in bringing the defense back as close to intact as possible for 2017 — and placing the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul signifies a desire from the organization to do that — McAdoo wants them to do more than just that.

“We’re not looking to play defense the way we played defense last year, we’re looking to get better,” the coach said. “We can’t show up thinking we have everything figured out on the defensive side of the ball. We need to make gains, marginal gains, maybe one percent gains, but we need to generate those. We can’t be too big to do the little things, and that needs to show up the first day we get together in April.”

Flowers just a lineman

Ereck Flowers has a position today as left tackle for the Giants. Whether that remains his title when the season starts will likely have to do with the moves the team makes in free agency and the draft.

“Right now it’s March 1,” McAdoo said, “so, he’s an offensive lineman for the New York Giants.”

General manager Jerry Reese said in January that the Giants would explore other position options for Flowers, the 2015 first-round pick. Flowers had struggles in his second season as left tackle.

“I have a ton of confidence in Ereck,” McAdoo said. “He’s a guy that he’s all in, he’s working at it . . . He’s a young player who has a lot of room to grow and we expect him to grow. We have confidence he’s going to grow. Where he ends up is where he ends up. Right now he’s playing left tackle like he’s always played for us and we’ll go from there.”

Giant steps

Panthers GM Dave Gettleman, a former executive with the Giants, said his meeting with free agent WR Victor Cruz “went well.” Cruz, 30, was released by the Giants and has said he hopes to continue playing. “Obviously I have a history with Victor and we just shared ideas and wanted to get a physical on him,” Gettleman said. “Had him sit with the coaches. “We’re just going to continue to discuss it.” . . . McAdoo said the Giants would be open to adding a fullback for 2017, a position they lacked last year after preseason injuries to Nikita Whitlock and Will Johnson. “Going into the season we had two players that we felt pretty good about playing fullback for us and neither of them stayed healthy and for one reason or another they weren’t part of the team,” he said. “So we had to go in another direction and we used what we had. We’ll continue to evaluate. If we feel there is someone out there that can help us, we will use him.”

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