PHOENIX — Ben McAdoo seems alternately amused, befuddled and irritated whenever the media questions him about his dual roles with the Giants as coach and offensive play-caller, as it often does.
How he reacts when John Mara asks him about it only those men truly know, but it became clear on Sunday that the two have had a few conversations regarding the topic and whether it is too much responsibility for a young first-time head coach.
“We’ve questioned him about it a couple of times,” Mara, the Giants’ co-owner, said at the NFL’s Annual Meetings in Arizona. “He’s still comfortable doing it. I think he still thinks about passing it off to [offensive coordinator] Mike Sullivan, but I think he’s still [confident]. Mike McCarthy still does it and that was kind of his mentor.”
So no ultimatum from the boss?
“If he’s comfortable doing it, it’s fine with us,” Mara said, “as long as he feels like he can manage the game properly.”
As for a review of McAdoo’s first year as head coach, Mara seemed pleased if not ecstatic.
“You never know when you have a new coach,” Mara said. “I think he adapted to it very well. I still think he’s still young, he still has more that he has to learn, as I’m sure he would be the first to tell you. But we were certainly very pleased with his first year. He hit the ground running and he did very well.”
The Giants won 11 games and made the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 season. Perhaps the biggest shock of the season was the underperformance of the offense — McAdoo’s area of expertise — during the entire campaign. The Giants never scored more than 30 points in any game.
“Well, there were a lot of things,” Mara said of McAdoo’s explanation of the offensive dropoff. “Our running game was not very good last year and I think that was the result of a lot of things. We tried to address that this offseason, I mean, bringing in [Rhett] Ellison, who’s a really good blocking tight end. That’s something we really haven’t had here for a while, that will help us. I think we still need to add another running back at some point in time. [D.J.] Fluker will certainly help us as far as running the ball. There are a lot of guys who can play better than they did. I think adding Brandon Marshall will help us too, because now it gives us that other threat out there.
“I certainly expect to see a better offense next year,” he said.