PHOENIX — Nearly three months after the Giants’ wide receivers spent time partying in nightclubs and yachts in Miami in the days before their playoff game against the Packers, Ben McAdoo finally expressed some disappointment in that decision.
The coach offered some harsh words about the players’ decision-making when they are away from practices and other team events when he met with the media at the NFL annual meeting in Arizona on Tuesday afternoon. While he did not directly address the infamous boat trip, it was fairly clear that the cruise remains on his mind as a teachable lesson.
“When we’re at work we have to focus on football and I think we do a very good job of that,” McAdoo said. “When our players are in the building they say yes to football. Now, when we’re not in the building we need to do a better job of saying no to some other things. And making sure everything we’re doing is aligned with our goal. I’m not saying we can’t be human beings. That’s a part of things, I guess. But we need to be focused on our football. When we leave the building, we need to say no to some of the things out there, some of the things that potentially don’t align with what we’re looking to do: Put the trophy in the case.”
Asked if boat trips fall into that category, McAdoo said: “Again, when we’re in the building we say yes to football. When we’re not in the building we need to do a better job of saying no to things that don’t align with our goal, reaching our goal.”
Told that people will interpret that statement as a repudiation of the trip in early January, he said sharply: “You can interpret what I say any way you want. Doesn’t matter to me one bit.”
It’s a departure from what McAdoo was saying at the end of the season in the days and week after the Miami trip. At the time he offered little criticism of the events. Now, though, he seems to be angrier about it than he was when it took place.
“What’s important are the men in the building,” he said. “Respect of your teammates is important. Just keeping your focus. If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
And there’s only one rabbit McAdoo wants. It’s silver and has a football shape on top of it.
“There’s only one goal in this game: To put the trophy in the case, the ring on the finger, a banner on the wall, a team picture on the team meeting room wall,” he said. “That’s it. We want to win it. That’s why we’re in it. That’s it. There’s nothing else.”
Notes & quotes: McAdoo said he has “a lot of confidence” in Ereck Flowers, who is entering his third year as the starting left tackle for the Giants. He said he’d like to add competition for Flowers at the position, but conceded that it is a “safe argument” that this year’s draft is lacking in players at that position who appear ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL . . . McAdoo was asked about the possibility of adding free agent RB Adrian Peterson to the roster at some point. “Never say never,” he said . . . The Giants play four games against teams in the West this season and have requested from the NFL that they put two of those games together at some point in their schedule. McAdoo said he would consider staying out West between such games if that request is granted. The schedule is expected to be released in mid to late April . . . McAdoo said he’d like to reduce the workload of defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, both of whom played virtually every snap in 2016 (until of course JPP’s season-ending injury) . . . McAdoo said he’d like to see the Giants use more variety in their personnel packages this season. Last year they played almost exclusively from three-receiver sets. He said the addition of TE/FB Rhett Ellison in free agency should help that diversity.