Ben McAdoo, new offensive coordinator for the New York Giants, spoke to the New York media via conference call for the first time on Thursday. In a roughly 15-minute chat there were two immediate takeaways. First, his repeated talk about fundamentals makes it easy to see why head coach Tom Coughlin was drawn to McAdoo. Second, his talk about flexibility and fitting an offensive system around the strengths of the personnel should excite the fan base.
"We’re going to be sound, smart and tough. 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 the fundamentals," McAdoo said, uttering a refrain that seemed a constant theme for him. "We're starting to build what we're going to look like."
"Every offensive system is its own living, breathing organism. 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 gonna look like, and it's a little early to know what we're gonna look like right now. We're just at the beginning phases of what the roster's gonna look like."
McAdoo, as Coughlin had indicated earlier in the offseason, said the coaching staff is trying to meld the offensive philosophy the Giants have employed throughout the career of quarterback Eli Manning with the more West coast-oriented system McAdoo worked in as tight ends and quarterbacks coach with the Green Bay Packers.
"Most teams in the league do have West Coast principles in their offense and we'll be one of them," McAdoo said. "The offensive system here with the Giants has been in place for a long time, and the offensive system that I'm coming from I've been in for 10 years. Those two systems being in place as we merge them together and build towards the future we'll be multiple enough that we can use any type of personnel."
Co-owner John Mara famously referred to the offense as "broken" at the end of the 2013 season. McAdoo, of course, was not part of that and simply wants to move forward.
"Everybody on the offensive side of the ball needs to play better. With that being said everyone comes in with a clean slate. This is going to be a new operation on offense," McAdoo said. " It's important for everyone to understand that we're going to move forward, we're gonna learn from the past and we're gonna work so that doesn't happen again."
One of those players is Manning, who threw a career-worst 27 interceptions last season. McAdoo said he was "fond" of Manning and "excited to work with Eli," but did talk about fundamentals and turnovers when discussing the Giants' quarterback."First and foremost we hang our hat on fundamentals, and that's going to be the focal point. That's the first thing we're going to address," McAdoo said.
"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. Fundamentals can help you there."
McAdoo was asked about screen passes, on which Manning had only 99 yards passing last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
"We're definitely going to spend time in the screen game. It's something that will be a focal point in each install," McAdoo said.
Asked about running backs, McAdoo uttered a very Coughlin-esque response, and one someone like David Wilson should take to heart provided he is healthy enough to play.
"First and foremost the runner needs to be able to protect the quarterback," McAdoo said. "We'd like to have a complete back. Obviously it's ideal to have a guy who is functional out of the backfield catching the football, but at the end of they day if they can't protect the quarterback they have a hard time getting on the field."
McAdoo, 36, is a first-time coordinator. He left Green Bay, a place he called "a great place, a great organization with a head coach I’m very fond of and players I have a special bond with" for his opportunity with the Giants.
"I'm confident. I've been groomed for this position," McAdoo said. "I'm very excited to be here. Being able to come to an organization the class of professional sports, to work in an organization with a future Hall of Fame head coach and a two-time Super Bowl-winning QB is very rare. You don't get those type of opportunities."
Giants' fans hope he makes the most of the opportunity he now has.