INDIANAPOLIS - There are many reasons why the Giants' offense sunk from a top-10 unit to near the bottom of the league last season.
And while Ben McAdoo wasn't willing to name them all yet, he pointed a finger in the direction of a big one:
It was stunning on Wednesday how the second-year Giants coach seemingly blamed the Giants' franchise quarterback for much of the team's offensive struggles. He cited turnovers as their biggest issue - and Manning was at least partially responsible for both of those - and even cited Manning for causing some of the protection issues that most observes blamed on the offensive line.
It started with a question about what he's learned about what went wrong with his offense now that he's had a chance to study the film. McAdoo immediately pointed to the Giants' 27 turnovers - which included 16 interceptions and four fumbles by Manning.
"We all know that turning the ball over 27 times isn't acceptable," McAdoo said from the NFL scouting combine. "We're fortunate to have the wins that we had turning the ball over the way we turned the ball over. So we can't turn the ball over that way. We need to handle the ball better, so we need to catch it better than we caught it, and we need to handle it in the pocket better."
As McAdoo noted, some of those issues were on the receiving ends of Manning's passes - too many passes that could've been caught or bounced off a receiver's hands. Some of them were also due to a breakdown in pressure, which caused Manning to lose his handle on the football or simply rush his throw.
But McAdoo said it was "an easy blame" to pin that all on his offensive line. "I think that's an easy one-liner you can throw out there and think you have all the answers. I don't necessarily agree with that. The offensive line they need to play better. I agree with that.
"[But] I think Eli needs to do a better job of playing with fast feet, and I think he needs to sit on that back foot in the pocket. We're seeing a lot of man coverage, so the receivers it's going to take a little time for them to get open, so everything may not be rhythmical. So he's got to play with fast feet, he's got to sit on his back foot and be ready to hitch into a throw. Things aren't always clean in this league, but you watch film of the end zones throughout the league and you're seeing a lot of dirty pockets."
McAdoo may have been quick to blame his quarterback, but he was also careful not to blame himself - or at least not his offensive scheme, which was largely the same one that resulted in two top-10 offenses when he was the Giants offensive coordinator in 2015-16. Asked if he saw anything in his scheme that needed to be fixed, McAdoo preferred to point to his players' execution.
"Well, I think we did a better job this year than years past of going forward when we ran the ball," McAdoo explained. "Now we didn't win the down the way we're capable of winning the down. We weren't as explosive the way we need to be. But we were going forward as a result of that. We had third downs that were makeable, and we didn't execute the way we need to execute there.
"Then you go back and take a look at explosivity, how you can be more explosive. And there are things that we're going to work on schematically to try and get that done, but they're tough to generate.
Everyone works at being explosive on offense. It's about execution."
Perhaps that's why McAdoo wouldn't address the play-calling, or whether he's considering giving up that job in 2017.
"Like I've said before, you can keep asking the question -- I enjoy when you ask the question," McAdoo said. "But I'm not going to answer that question."