The New York Giants’ new offense is still a work in progress, but if there is one thing that offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo wants to stress, it’s a commitment to the fundamentals.
“We’re going to be an offense that will have an identity,” he said via a conference call with reporters. “We want to be sound, tough and smart. We’re going to be committed to discipline and poise, and at the end of the day, we’re going to hang our hat on fundamentals.”
As for what that identity is going to be, McAdoo reiterated what head coach Tom Coughlin said last week at the combine about melding of what the Giants have run for years and the West Coast offense of which McAdoo was a part in Green Bay.
“Most teams in the league have West Coast principles built into their offense and we’ll be one of them,” he said. Obviously, we want to have a sound foundation. We feel we have that, and this point we’re starting to build what we’re going to look like,” McAdoo said.
“Every offensive system is its own living breathing organism and at the end of the day, you have to make sure you’re flexible enough. So it depends on what type of personnel you feed it to what it’s going to look like. It’s a little early to know what we’re going to look like right now; we’re just in the beginning phases of what the roster is going to look like.”
That doesn’t mean that McAdoo doesn’t have some expectations about how he hopes the personnel affects what he plans to do.
Starting with quarterback Eli Manning, who is coming off one of his worst seasons as a starter, McAdoo again stressed that a return to the fundamentals should fix a lot of what ailed the two-time Super Bowl MVP’s performance last season.
“First and foremost, we hang our hat on fundamentals,” he stressed. “That’s going to be the focal point. The second thing is we want to take care of the football. Taking care of the football is the biggest thing in terms of winning and losing games. Fundamentals will help you there.”
As the system is installed, McAdoo said that there will probably be tweaks made to suit Manning’s strengths and weaknesses.
“At the end of the day, your system is built around your personnel, not the other way around,” he said.
“As Eli gets his hands on (the system) and has a chance to get comfortable with it, we’ll make tweaks.”
McAdoo also outlined his expectations for any running back that he puts on the field.
“You’d like to have a complete back. Obviously, it’s ideal to have a guy who’s functional out of the backfield catching the football, but at the end of the day, if they can’t protect the quarterback, they’re going to have a hard time getting on the field.”
What about tight end, another position of need for the Giants?
“That’s a difficult position to evaluate,” he said. “They’re asked to do a lot of things in this league. To me, it was always the best position to coach and in this offense it’s the best position to play because you have to learn how to do everything and you have to learn how to do it well at a high level.
“You have to find players who you can plug in and figure out what they do best and make sure on the field that they’re doing what they do best.”
The biggest expectation McAdoo is looking for from the Giants is the return of the screen game.
“We’re definitely going to spend time in the screen game. It’s something that will be a focal point and needs to be installed,” he said.
“We’ll have different types of screens, whether they’re sidewalk screens or half screens, so forth and so on, just like everybody else in the league.”
In order to run a screen game, though, the Giants have to address the blocking up front. McAdoo hinted that the offensive line could see a lot of competition for spots this summer.
“When the door closes for someone, it opens for another. There are going to be plenty of guys lined up at the door to get a spot. We look forward to helping them improve and developing guys and seeing where we could take this thing.”
Here are a few more takeaways from McAdoo’s conference call with reporters:
On if he agreed with team CEO John Mara about the previous offense being “broken”: “I know that the offense here in the past has had a ton of success. Last year they didn’t play as well as they would have liked. It’s important for everyone to understand that we’re going to move forward. We’re going to learn from the past, and we’re going to work so that doesn’t happen again.”
On his confidence in calling plays despite never having done it before: “I’m confident. I’ve been groomed for this position. It’s something that we train our coaches and our quarterbacks for. We’ve done it in Green Bay and it’s something that I feel very confident about. I’m excited for the opportunity, but at the end of the day, play calling isn’t just about one guy pulling plays out of a hat. It’s the process that you go through during the week. A lot of it has to do with game planning and has to do with ranking plays in the plan. Everyone’s involved with it, not just coaches, not just the head coach but the players as well.”
On which offensive players he’s already met: “A lot of guys are in and out right now, so I haven’t had a chance to meet all of them. (Receiver) Victor (Cruz), we had over at the Pro Bowl and Eli, it’ll obviously be exciting to get going with those guys. (Fullback) Henry Hynoski, I’m familiar with–he played at Pitt and Southern Columbia High School. I’ve followed him since he was in high school really. A lot of other guys–(receiver) Rueben Randle, I had a chance to meet yesterday. He’s excited to get going. (Offensive lineman) Chris Snee has been in the weight room a ton, I’ve run into him and (offensive lineman) Kevin Boothe. It’s been great seeing them and I look forward to getting going.”