When Ben McAdoo broke down the failures of the offense in Saturday’s deflating preseason loss to the Bills — and the issues on the offensive line in particular — he noted three areas where improvement can be made.
“Assignments, fundamentals and physicality need to pick up,” he said on a conference call Sunday.
The first two are matters of concentration and can be taught. The third? That can be a little trickier to elicit from a group of players. While every team wants offensive linemen who are wrecking balls swinging holes through defenses, a coach can’t just drill them to that characteristic. You can’t work someone tough, they either are or they aren’t.
In the case of the Giants, though, McAdoo believes they are. Just not all the time.
“I think there are some signs in practice . . . that the physicality is there and it shows up,” McAdoo said, referencing the half-line running drills the team does on an almost daily basis along with 9-on-8 and 8-on-7 drills that focus on contact and point of attack. “We have to keep working on it in practice and carry it over and it’s going to show up on game day. A lot of the mistakes that we’re making we’re not making in practice. We just need to have the confidence to carry those over to game day.”
It’s one of the most pressing issues the Giants face in the remaining two weeks of the preseason. They need to get their offensive line firing at full strength and relying on whatever level of physicality it possesses.
“That’s definitely something that we should be hanging our hat on,” starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse said after Saturday’s game. “I guess, at times, guys were a little bit tentative or whatever you want to call it. But that’s definitely something that we have to strike a match and get revved up.”
McAdoo said this week’s practices, which are designed to mimic a regular-season buildup, will include more attention on the violent aspects of the sport. That goes for all positions, on both sides of the ball. Even though he was impressed by the “tremendous effort and physicality” of the starting defense early in the game, there is clearly room for improvement everywhere.
“We have a lot of work to do, so we need to set our jaw and get back to work,” McAdoo said. “We’re going to have plenty of opportunities this week to develop our fundamentals and physicality and building up for the first game. We’ve seen some great things in practice, it hasn’t carried over to the games yet, but we still have some work to do.”
The Giants should get starting guard Justin Pugh back this week after he missed the game with a bruised shoulder. That will help. But McAdoo downplayed the idea of any significant personnel shifts on the line.
“We’re going to give guys opportunities to compete but at the same point in time, we’re not going to have any knee-jerk reactions,” he said. “No one is panicking in here. We’re not going to rush to judgment on anything. We’re going to go out there and get the pads on and we’re going to get to work.”
Notes & quotes: After first-year kicker Tom Obarski missed his 27-yard “golden opportunity” field-goal attempt wide left Saturday, the Giants are undoubtedly less confident in him handling opening day duties Sept. 11 in Dallas while Josh Brown serves his one-game suspension. McAdoo said he has not yet spoken with general manager Jerry Reese about bringing in another kicker, but added: “Never say never” . . . An MRI on wide receiver Dwayne Harris showed that his injured knee is “fine,” McAdoo said, although he expects Harris could be sore for a few days . . . Pugh (shoulder) and cornerback Eli Apple (knee) will begin the week doing individual drills in practice and progress from there . . . Despite missing a check in pass protection that led to a sack and forced fumble, McAdoo said he believes rookie running back Paul Perkins “is going to be just fine.”