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Should New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo be the offensive play-caller?

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Ben McAdoo
Ben McAdoo
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ben McAdoo is now the New York Giants head coach. Will he also continue to be the team's offensive play-caller? McAdoo hasn't committed one way or the other, and for that matter, the Giants have not officially announced the hiring of any assistant coaches.

It is expected that Mike Sullivan will be the offensive coordinator. Sullivan first learned offense in the Kevin Gilbride system and spent two years running a similar style as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last season, when Sullivan returned to the Giants as quarterbacks coach, was his only exposure to the West Coast-based scheme the Giants have run with McAdoo as offensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Will McAdoo call the plays? Will he turn that duty over to Sullivan?

There are pros and cons to a head coach calling his own plays. Let's look at them.


This is McAdoo's offense. He has two years invested in building it, and in calling plays for and building a rapport with Eli Manning. Calling those plays is a big part of what got him the head-coaching job. To keep offensive continuity, McAdoo calling the plays might be the right way to go. McAdoo knows the system and what Manning is comfortable with better than anyone. The other positive about this is that from the public perspective when a play goes awry you don't have to wonder if the call came from the head coach or the offensive coordinator. It is clear who made the play call.


McAdoo is a rookie head coach. Setting up an offensive game plan, installing it and fine tuning it is a full-time job. It is what you have an offensive coordinator for. If you are going to call your own plays as a head coach you run several risks. First, you run the risk of not being completely in tune with your quarterback and offensive coordinator, the people who created and have to execute the game plan. Second, and probably most importantly, as the head coach you are responsible for much more than the offense. Can you be the play-caller and still devote adequate time, effort and energy to helping your defense and special teams prepare for the upcoming game? Finally, what about game management? As an offensive coordinator, your focus is always on one side of the ball. Can you manage all aspects of a game, including defense, special teams, clock management, personnel and anything else that has to be dealt with during a game if you are also calling the plays?

Final thoughts

I don't know the right answer, nor do I know what McAdoo will decide to do. In then, my guess is the head coach will double as play-caller. It can be done. Some coaches do it very well. Others try it and fail miserably. Would you rather see McAdoo call the plays, or delegate the responsibility in his first season as an NFL head coach?