The Giants' hiring of Ben McAdoo to be their new OC last offseason was met with mixed results. Many fans and pundits are still on the fence as to whether McAdoo is the right guy to carry the Giants' offense into the future.
Head coach Tom Coughlin is not one of those guys
"He has done good job. He’s a solid football coach and knows exactly what he is doing," Coughlin told reporters Friday. "He does a good job helping to coach the quarterbacks and the offense, his work ethic is very good."
Many questioned his playcalling early on in the season, which reeled in QB Eli Manning by shortening the receiver route tree, a strategy that has recently changed with the emergence of WR Odell Beckham, Jr. Some suggested to Coughlin that McAdoo has changed, or rather found, his playcalling rhythm.
"He has been, I think, pretty consistent with that," said Coughlin. "I think the fact that when you get in games sometimes and you are not successful with the balance that you are looking for, it is not easy. When you are not running as well as you would like to do that, to provide the kind of the balance. That falls just as much on my shoulders as anybody else."
McAdoo said this week that the offensive squad was making progress. He has not had full complement of personnel to work with, but he is not using injuries or inexperience as an excuse for any shortcomings. The group he sends out every Sunday is expected to get the job done.
"We are always chasing consistency," said McAdoo. "The more time you spend together, the more time you can grow and see consistent improvement. We are looking for that over the final two games, especially this week. It is about consistency. Each play, each quarter, each half and each game, we are looking to put it all together."
McAdoo himself still seems to be a bit of a mystery. When he arrived here from Green Bay last spring, Giants fans knew very little about him. They are still trying to put their finger on where his strengths and weaknesses lie. He was asked this week how he feels he has evolved as a first year coordinator and playcaller.
"That is a good question. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that," McAdoo said. "You learn what you learn along the way. You apply. You go back to conversations that you may have had along the way and in tough times, you think about players, not plays. Maybe that is something that you can apply going forward, especially in a long season. Other than that, that is the first thing that comes to mind."
The arrival of Beckham, who missed all of the offseason, preseason and first quadrant of the season, has been a godsend for McAdoo. He has had to make do without WR Victor Cruz, who was out early on, and with only sporadic appearances from RB Rashad Jennings. In addition, WR Rueben Randle has been slow to step up his game who has been outdone by Ffree agent pickup Preston Parker in the past month. It has been difficult for McAdoo to run his offense successfully while mixing and matching personnel on a weekly basis.
"We believe in the next man up mentality," McAdoo said. "We have a lot of guys who have stepped up and played some good football for us when Victor went down. Preston Parker is a guy who comes in and fights hard and he works hard and it is important to him. We respect that. There are a bunch of different guys who have stepped up and filled Victor’s shoes and done a nice job for us."
Beckham has solved a lot of the Giants' problems on offense this season. He is as welcome as a three-run homer is in baseball. He's made big plays, and lots of them. The focus now is to find out exactly how much Beckham can do.
"We need to continue to work with him in expanding his role and seeing what he can handle and really going through an offseason and seeing what he does well," said MacAdoo. "Where we are right now is we are putting game plans in and we have a good feel for what his strengths are and detailing his strengths and making sure we bring his weaknesses up and make those better. The offseason is the time where we will be able to help mold his game and see where we can go with him and his position."
As McAdoo tries to get the ball into Beckham's hands as much as possible, he is realizing the rookie's strengths as well as his weaknesses - though McAdoo wasn't quick to point those out.
"That wouldn’t be very smart for me to answer, now would it?" the OC said.
Perhaps Beckham doesn't have any. That would be a huge plus for McAdoo, the coach we are still trying to pin down.