Eli Manning has been in the NFL for 14 seasons. Evan Engram has been here for one game.
Both players, though, came away from the aftermath of last week’s loss to the Cowboys with the same reaction: You can’t take it personally.
They were talking about the response from the Giants coaches, who apparently spared no one’s pride or ego in delivering the blunt assessment that what the players put on the field for their opener was just not good enough. That included everyone from the two-time Super Bowl MVP to the undrafted rookies making their NFL debuts.
Ben McAdoo on Saturday said there was definitely some blunt analysis when the team — players and coaches — got together to watch the film. He said it was “point blank.”
“We don’t have time to handle things with kid gloves here,” McAdoo said. “We’re going to be open and honest with our communication, critical of ourselves as coaches and we expect the players to be critical of themselves. That’s the best way you can improve, especially Week 1 to 2, but each and every week.”
Was the message heard? McAdoo seemed pleased by the results so far.
“We had a great week of practice,” he said. “[Friday] was a tremendous day. Our tempo was good, our energy was good. We had some physicality. We had some things to clean up like we always do after each practice, but the players and the coaches are on point.”
Now it just has to show up on Monday night against the Lions.
“It’s part of losing a game,” Manning said of the tongue-lashing. “You’re going to analyze and you can’t get too sensitive after the first game. You’re going to get coached up and there’s things we can clean up, for sure, but you can’t get defensive, can’t get sensitive. You just have to be confident in what you’re doing, understand what you need to fix and then go play fast.”
Engram said he was “curious to get the vibe and what the mood was” after the loss, the first of his career.
“We were real with each other,” he said. “We put the mistakes on the board. We were going to get them corrected and that was the biggest thing . . . In this game, to be successful and to bounce back, you can’t take it personal.”
The coaches were not immune to that kind of criticism, either.
“We didn’t find a path to victory,” McAdoo said. “That’s my number one job. Gotta do a better job there.”
McAdoo said even without the dose of straight-shooting tough love that the players received this week, there should naturally be a significant progression from the opening game to the second.
“It’s similar to the preseason from Week 1 to Week 2,” McAdoo said. “In the regular season from Week 1 to Week 2, you get a chance to make a big jump and not just with fundamentals, but your physicality, the run game, offenses in general because defenses are ahead of the game, especially early in the season.”
The coaches’ reaction was just there to spur that expected gain.
Said McAdoo of the harsh film study: “We came in together looking to get better.”
Monday night, we’ll see if it achieved that goal.