BOCA RATON, Fla. — Ben McAdoo has been crafting his first remarks to his first full team for years. At some point this spring, he’ll finally get to deliver them.
He’s been coach of the Giants for nearly three months, but because of the way the NFL’s offseason is structured he has yet to meet with his team as a whole. He’s had conversations with individual players, sure, but there has been no inaugural address to the troops.
When he does have the opportunity to speak to the entire roster — sometime after April 11, when players report for the voluntary offseason program — McAdoo said he knows exactly what he will say. And like almost every other aspect of his new title, it’s not something he’ll be winging, or even something he’s been thinking about only since he took the job in January.
“It’s something I’ve been putting together since probably 2008, 2009,” he said of his long-term vision for himself as a head coach. “Thinking about it each year, talking to different coaches, different players, people in the industry. You just start to catalogue things, and when you get a chance to get your hands on an opportunity, you want to attack it. You don’t want to take the job, you don’t want to take this opportunity not to lose it, you want to take it and attack it. That’s what put you in the chair, and that’s how we’re going to go about it.”
McAdoo is already putting his thumbprint on the culture of the franchise, even while his predecessor Tom Coughlin remains a mainstay at the facility (and, McAdoo insists, a welcome resource). At the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday at the NFL’s annual meetings, he outlined two areas in particular that already have changed. They coincide with two areas that hampered the Giants in recent years: training to avoid injuries and end-of-game management.
After being among the most injured teams in the league the past three seasons, the Giants are renovating their weight room under the vision of new strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman.
“We wanted to be a little more forward-thinking down there,” McAdoo said. “Open it up a little bit down there, do a little but more movement-based, a little bit more stick and move, so to speak. Like the way you play the game.”
As for the in-game situations that played a large role in 2015’s 6-10 record — more than a few games hinged on ill-fated decision-making by coaches and players — McAdoo said he is establishing a “game management team” that will meet on Fridays or Saturdays to discuss strategies for crunch time. It will be similar to the system used in Green Bay when McAdoo was an assistant there; the Giants did not have such a formal group to tackle those matters under Coughlin.
“We’ll make sure we’re on the same page going into the game and we’re seeing the same things as the game develops,” McAdoo said. “It’s like anything else, it starts with communication first.”
McAdoo has changed the days the team will practice, and said he will adjust the start times of the workouts (but not the end times). Other changes will take place, and be more visible as the season progresses. But even with all of the turnover in roster and style, McAdoo continues to insist that the transition from Coughlin’s style to his own is “evolution, not revolution.”
“We’ve made some changes recently,” McAdoo said. “If it’s working and we’ve had success with it, I don’t think you need to kick it to the curb. But we do need to tweak some things and make some adjustments, and we’ll do that.”
They may seem sudden or jarring for the players when they arrive in a few weeks and to regular observers of the team. But for McAdoo, he is simply putting into practice a plan he’s been devising for years.
It’s just that now he gets a chance to use it.
Notes & quotes: McAdoo would not say who will call the offensive plays in 2016, but noted he “loves” that part of coaching and suggested that new head coaches with an offensive background are better suited to deal with in-game issues while calling plays than defensive-minded coaches. Translation: Expect McAdoo to be making the calls . . . McAdoo said he is excited to work with Eli Manning for a third year after two as his offensive coordinator. “Eli, I still think his best football is in front of him,” McAdoo said. “I still think he’s going to take another jump.” . . . McAdoo joked about the guidance he has received from his players — Victor Cruz in particular — after his wardrobe malfunction at his inaugural news conference in January when he wore an oversized suit because of recent weight loss. “We have a great locker room,” McAdoo said regarding the fashion sense of the players. “Communication goes both ways. I’m not sensitive. They have something that can help me out, bring it on!”