You will never guess what the primary topic of conversation was Friday when New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo spoke to the media. Considering that the focus all week, ever since GM Jerry Reese said the offense was "too cautious," has been on the team's need for more big plays, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what McAdoo was asked about.
"We want to be more explosive. We are looking for explosive plays," McAdoo said. "We feel that [explosive plays] are a part of great execution and extra effort. Regardless of how they come you want to be more explosive."
By most any measure, the Giants have gotten the short end of the stick this season when it comes to those explosive plays. Eli Manning has gone just 5-of-22 on passes of 20 yards or longer. The Giants have given up 35 explosive plays (29th) and made only 20 (30th). They have only 18 passes and two running plays of longer than 20 yards.
McAdoo, it turns out, has his own measuring stick for explosive plays generated.
"Right now we're at about 10.3 percent of our plays [being explosive]. We are short about 2.7 percent of our goal. Anything above that we will take. We are working on that," McAdoo said.
McAdoo did not define what an explosive play was by his account, saying only that it is "different depending on what type of play call it is."
That would indicate that it isn't based on plays that generate 20 yards or more. Rather, it is likely a system based on whether or not the play generated more than the expected yardage. McAdoo indicated that 2.7 percent "is a fairly substantial number."
"We need to execute better. The thing that has been hurting us the past couple weeks is that we are not getting enough plays. Our goal is 70-plus plays a game," McAdoo said. "There is a good picture of what it looks like when we play well, when we execute and we come out on top in games. The number one thing is we have a 70-plus play average. Maybe about 71 or just under when we play well and come out on top. We need attempts at the plate. That is number one and that starts with execution, whether it is running or whether it is screens, whether it is passing the ball or whether it is third down execution. We need more attempts at the plate."
The Giants ran 64 offensive plays against the Philadelphia Eagles and 63 against the Dallas Cowboys. In their three wins they ran 71 plays against the Houston Texans, 81 against the Washington Redskins and 68 against the Atlanta Falcons. That is an average of 76.6 plays.
"We have to do a better job playing disciplined football and doing it with poise and making sure regardless of what happened on the last play it doesn’t affect the next play," McAdoo said. "We are always going to put ourselves in position to execute, not get behind the chains so we are not chasing things that aren’t there. When you win the down and you have a chance to move the chains you get more attempts at the plate. Things usually work out a little better that way."
Asked specifically about incorporating more vertical throws, McAdoo said "maybe you can, maybe you can't."
"A lot of things go into that. Anytime you call a play, a pass play, it fits into a different category. It could be a down the field throw. It could be a shot play. It could be a completion mentality call. It could be a seam beater. The coverage, the access, the match-up, the protection and his feet tell him [the quarterback] where to go with the ball. The play call doesn’t tell him where to go with the ball," McAdoo said. "The last thing we want to do is force anything. We want to let the game come to us. We are not going to press. You don’t get anywhere pressing."