As he gets ready for his first year on the job, New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo knows that rebuilding the defense needs to be a priority. McAdoo, who was previously the offensive coordinator, believes that the team has upgraded the defense due to a collaborative effort within the organization to strike quickly in free agency and secure the players the franchise felt would fit best with Big Blue.
"Give credit to the Mara family and the Tisch family; they bought in and they gave us great support," McAdoo said. "Everything worked the way we want it to work. Give Jerry (Reese) credit with the vision of being able to go out and get his hands on those guys on defense, and (assistant general manager) Kevin Abrams for getting the deals done."
On March 9, the Giants signed defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins to revitalize the defense. The team also re-signed former Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is expected to play without a club on his right hand and be fully healthy for offseason activities. McAdoo believes that outside of quarterback, the trenches are a major key to building a good team.
"On both sides of the ball upfront, you have to be physical, and we have to have guys that play to our identity - sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise," McAdoo said. "We’re getting there."
McAdoo added that there is more to fixing the Giants than a free agent spending spree. It also requires drafting well and mentoring the younger players on the roster so that they take the next step in their progression.
"We have to develop some young guys as well. All the answers aren’t in free agency," McAdoo said. "We added some nice pieces there, but we have some young players on the roster now we have to develop, and do our due diligence in the draft as well."
While the Giants signed several players in free agency who figure to play big roles in the upcoming season and beyond, two names familiar to fans could be instrumental to the success of the offensive and defensive units. Those are Pierre-Paul and wide receiver Victor Cruz. McAdoo believes that each player will come back "motivated," and he's looking forward to the impact he knows the two former Pro Bowl players are capable of making.
"Sitting down with JPP the other day, you could tell he’s got a great look in his eye and he’s motivated and he’s hungry," McAdoo said. "Being able to train for an entire offseason and get out there for the offseason and for camp, he’ll be full-go, he’ll be disruptive, and we look forward and we’re glad we have him back."
"Glad to have Victor back. He’s motivated and there’s nothing like a motivated player who’s been counted out by a lot of people in a lot of regards. We look forward to the impact he can make," McAdoo said.