Eli Manning has spent the last 4 1/2 months trying to learn the Giants' offense. On Monday he begins the process of learning how to use it.
As the Giants assemble for the first time with the 53 players who likely will head to Detroit for the opener a week from Monday night, Manning said he is "curious" to see what kind of a game plan new coordinator Ben McAdoo puts together. This will be the first time Manning and any of the Giants will get to feel McAdoo's fingerprints and understand the way he thinks. After five preseason games in which there was little to no opponent-specific play-calling and preparation -- and little to no success from the starters -- they finally will get to put together a finished product.
"I'm curious about the whole process with talking to him, getting his thoughts on the week, on what we want to try to do," Manning said before the two-day mini-vacation. "What plays we like and what we're thinking, what we're going to try to do and just seeing how the week goes from third downs to green zone. I think I have a decent idea about it with training camp and everything going by, but it will be interesting to see how things will flow this week."
Tom Coughlin said McAdoo will be given plenty of leeway to be creative not only in the game plan but in the deployment of personnel.
"I expect that once we zoom in on an all-encompassing game plan that whatever we feel is necessary in order for us to win, you will see it," Coughlin said. "The effectiveness will be based on what the opponent does and what we think our people can do."
In terms of delivering the plays in the preseason, Manning said McAdoo has been on point. After hearing former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's New England voice in his ear for almost a decade, Manning joked earlier this summer that McAdoo's Western Pennsylvania accent necessitated some getting used to.
"He's been good," Manning said. "He's been good getting the play in quickly, getting it to the quarterback so we can get it in the huddle, get on the line of scrimmage and see everything. If we have to change it to another play, we always have enough time, so I think he's been decisive, has had a plan and stuck to it, and it's been good."
Now, though, that plan will be aimed at the Lions. There won't be any more runs for the sake of seeing what the offensive line can do or passes just to test young receivers in game situations. The extensive playbook that the Giants worked from this summer will be chopped down to a few dozen concise options.
With a first-time play-caller in McAdoo and an accomplished quarterback in Manning, there is sure to be a higher level of cooperation and conversation in that process than there was with Gilbride.
"I think hopefully Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, I'll have a chance to sit with coach McAdoo, get the game plan and kind of figure out what we're thinking going into the game," Manning said.
He made it clear that he is the player and McAdoo is the coach, however, and even if there is a give-and-take, the traditional hierarchy exists.
"I think coach McAdoo does a good job of asking me and asking all the quarterbacks what they like, what we're thinking, and kind of trying to run those plays first, the plays that we feel the most comfortable with or think are good," Manning said. "We try to do that and I try to, when making those decisions, try to talk to him also, see what he likes.
"It is his offense in a sense."