Ben McAdoo, the newly hired Giants offensive coordinator, spoke with the media for the first time Thursday and expressed how excited he is to get to work and help rebuild the offense.
The former Packers quarterbacks coach is a neophyte to this position, as he’s never called plays, let alone been a coordinator. But he feels as if he’s ready to take that next step up the rung in the coaching ranks.
“I’m confident. I’ve been groomed for this position. It’s something that we train our coaches for. We’ve done it in Green Bay and it’s something that I feel very confident about [and] I’m excited for the opportunity,” said McAdoo. “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.”
McAdoo’s work with Aaron Rodgers is what led Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese to deem he was the right man to succeed Kevin Gilbride.
First order of business in fixing an offense owner John Mara said was “broken” is to see if he can help Manning break his doldrums. Manning threw a league-high 27 interceptions last season, some due to a porous offensive line but many because the quarterback locked in on receivers and displayed less than stellar footwork in the pocket.
“First and foremost, we hang our hat on fundamentals. That’s going to be the focal point for everybody,” said McAdoo, who noted he actually met Manning for the first time at the 2012 Pro Bowl and had a chance to pick his brain then. “The second thing is we want to take care of the football. Taking care of the football is the biggest factor in winning and losing games [and] fundamentals can help you there. At the same point in time, everybody on the offensive side of the ball needs to play better. … That being said, everyone comes in with a clean slate.”
McAdoo spoke glowingly of Manning, but was careful not to compare him with Rodgers — especially since he’s yet to officially work with his new quarterback. But he said during the interview process, he spoke with Manning and got a sense the two are already on the same page.
“At this point in time, we’re going to abide by the letter of the law as far as the rules go [so we can’t get going] here [until] on the 21st of April. That’s when we’ll start putting the system in. And as Eli gets his hands on it and has a chance to get comfortable with it, we’ll make tweaks here and there. We’re really excited,” said McAdoo. “As the offseason and training camp goes on, every offensive system tailors towards the strength of the starting quarterback, what he does well and he doesn’t do well in the pass game. … At the end of the day, your system is built around your personnel, not the other way around.”
One thing Manning didn’t do particularly well was execute the screen game.
Giants fans likely remember the Week 1 interception return by the Cowboys’ Brandon Carr which bounced off Da’Rel Scott’s hands on a screen pass and sealed a loss that became an omen of bad things to come.
“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. We’ll have different types of screens, whether they’re sidewalk screens or half screens, so fourth and so on, just like everybody else in the league,” McAdoo said, noting he’ll borrow what he learned in 10 years at Green Bay and add that to what the Giants did well under Gilbride. “[The offense] will bridge a lot of the two. The West Coast offense, most teams in the league have West Coast principles built into their offense, and we’ll be one of them. … This is going to be a new operation on offense.”
The Giants only tallied 99 yards on screens last year, a number McAdoo wants to improve.
New York has missed the playoffs the last two campaigns – and the blame for last season’s 7-9 flameout mainly fell at the feet of the offense.
McAdoo said it’s his mission to make sure his unit pulls its weight in the upcoming season.
“We’re gonna have an identity [which is] sound, smart and tough,” said McAdoo. “We’re going to work so that  doesn’t happen again.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.