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Ben McAdoo Hiring Reaction: New York Giants make bold, surprising move

The New York Giants Tuesday hired Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator. The move had to be considered a bit of a surprise.

Ben McAdoo
Ben McAdoo
Getty Images

The New York Giants Tuesday hired Ben McAdoo, formerly quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers, to replace the retired Kevin Gilbride as offensive coordinator. McAdoo, 36, thus becomes the man the Giants will entrust to rebuild an offense co-owner John Mara bitterly described as "broken" at the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Let's cut right to the chase here -- this is a move I was never convinced the Giants would make. I believe it is the right move, I just was never entirely convinced the conservative Giants, with an aging head coach and a long-held philosophy of staying with what they know, would actually do this.

'There will be change. And that change will be very positive and very well-received by our team and our players.' - Tom Coughlin

This was always a choice between staying with what the Giants knew and were comfortable with, or being bold and starting over. They could have easily done the comfortable thing by hiring Mike Sullivan. Sullivan, of course, learned offense from Gilbride while spending eight seasons with the Giants coaching wide receivers and quarterbacks, and the last two as Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator. McAdoo, with no connection to head coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants, no experience as a coordinator and coming from an offense much different than what the Giants are used to, represents starting over.

This is the right call by the Giants, but it is a somewhat risky and surprising one.

Tom Coughlin will be 68 years old when next season begins. He is close to the end of his coaching career, and 2014 could in fact be his last season. In Jacksonville and New York Coughlin has always utilized an offense dependent on the power run game, play-action pass and a reliance on the vertical passing game.

One of the concerns after two playoff-less seasons was whether or not the Giants -- especially Coughlin -- would embrace change as they tried to right the Giants' ship. That question was answered Tuesday evening. Coughlin sounds energized by the idea of embracing something new, and expects his team to be, as well.

"Here's what I expect," Coughlin said. "I think the players will respond to this. We're going to try to compromise the system with what we have here. However, there will be change. And that change will be very positive and very well-received by our team and our players. And if our players are scrambling around to learn a new system - good. That's another fire in their rear end."

If the Giants were ever going to change systems, this was the perfect time to do so. They need to change the personnel across the board on the offensive side -- the line, tight end, wide receiver, running back. With the exception of the quarterback, who is good enough but has not played well enough recently, the Giants need better players everywhere. What better time to change the approach than when you are basically forced to change many of the people, anyway?

The easy thing for the Giants to do would have been to go with Sullivan. Coughlin would have been comfortable. Quarterback Eli Manning would have been comfortable. Instead, they have taken the risky road. They will change their offense and entrust fixing Manning to a first-time coordinator.

Of all of the candidates -- Sullivan, Karl Dorrell and Dowell Loggains being the other three -- McAdoo was the only one being heavily sought after by other teams. What, ultimately, convinced Coughlin McAdoo is the man for the job?

"He's a smart guy. He's done it the right way. He's not a flashy guy. He's a smart, intelligent guy to work with. He works very, very hard. He's got the dirt under his fingernails. He's my kind of guy. He's got the blue-collar work ethic," Coughlin said.

Coughlin is, of course, legendary for his obsession with preparation, down to the smallest of details. No surprise then that Coughlin was impressed by how prepared McAdoo was when he interviewed him Monday.

"He's a very detail-oriented, meticulous teacher, a fundamentalist, first and foremost," Coughlin said. "I was very, very impressed by the presentation that he made, in terms of the fundamental details of his presentation, whether it is quarterback fundamentals, offensive philosophy. I was just very, very impressed with that.

"Whether he was the tight ends or the quarterbacks coach, he has prepared for this type of an interview for a long time. He comes with two notebooks, all the things he's put together and thought about and when given the opportunity, wanted to present."

Will this work? There are no guarantees, but a fresh start with a new set of ideas might be exactly what the doctor ordered for Manning and the "broken" Giants' offense.

McAdoo's Background

McAdoo began his coaching career at the high school level for four years in Pennsylvania. He moved to the college ranks in 2001 as a special teams and offensive assistant at Michigan State. From there he coached at Fairfield University, Pittsburgh and Akron before joining the New Orleans Saints in 2004.

The following year, he moved to San Francisco, where McCarthy was the offensive coordinator. When McCarthy was named head coach of the Packers in 2006, he took McAdoo with him. He remained with the Packers -- until Tuesday evening.