Head coach Ben McAdoo made a number of dubious offensive play-calls during the Giants' season-ending 38-13 loss in Green Bay on Sunday.
Among them was his decision to run the ball three straight times with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter and the Giants, who were leading 3-0 at the time, on the Packers' 11 yard line facing a 1st and 15.
McAdoo called for three Rashad Jennings rushes up the middle as the Giants went three and out.
Then, with 42 seconds left in the second quarter and the Giants -- who were trailing, 7-6 -- facing a 3rd and 1 at their own 41-yard line, McAdoo opted to run the ball with Bobby Rainey -- the team's third option behind Jennings and Paul Perkins.
Rainey was stuffed, the Giants punted, and the result was Aaron Rodgers' Hail Mary touchdown pass to end the half that gave the Packers a 14-6 lead.
"It's a tough way to end the season," McAdoo said. "We struggled to play complete football in all three phases and we didn't handle the ball particularly well. We didn't handle the ball well enough to win against a good team."
The Giants' playcalling has been suspect all season, and if you listen to sportstalk radio, many prominent hosts will tell you that it doesn't really matter. They cite execution of the game plan as being more important. But when the plays are predictable and and the execution is shoddy, everything falls apart. So, playcalling does matter.
In Sunday's loss to Green Bay, the Giants came out like gangbusters, throwing the ball all over the place. They just couldn't hang on to it. Both Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard dropped would-betouchdowns. When that happens, McAdoo abandons those plays and tries something different. Why? If the execution was better the Giants would have built a 14 or 20 to nothing cushion in the first half. Those plays worked but he failed to go back to them.
McAdoo also has the habit of getting all of his offensive players involved. That's not a bad thing but it's the timing of those substitutions that irk Giant fans.
The decision to give the ball to Rainey on 3rd and 1 on the Giants' 41 right after the two minute warning was a curious one. Rainey had not carried the football all game until that point. His first touch was on the previous play, an eight-yard reception, which is his strength.
When it came to the short yardage attempt, McAdoo should have sent in Jennings or Perkins to handle it. The Packers knew the Giants were going to run it, so why not put your best runners in? Bad choice, but perhaps he was preoccupied with the next call rather than changing up the personnel.
I know McAdoo comes from a background where offensive-minded head coaches call the game (see Mike McCarthy). But in his case, it hasn't worked. It's not that he can't call plays -- he did it last year as the OC and the Giants' offfense was ranked eighth overall in the NFL. The task just doesn't seem to fit him as a head coach, at least at this time. In my opinion, he should let his OC, Mike Sullivan, or QB coach, Frank Cignetti, handle the responsibilites. He can always intercede if needed. It's still his game plan.
McAdoo is head coaching material, no doubt, but the multiple hats on gameday might just be a bit too much for him at this stage of his career. By saddling himself with the minutia of playcalling, he takes away from seeing the overall picture as head coach. At this stage, he needs to let go. It's hurting the team.