When you try to rank NFL head coaches, how do you place a guy who has never done the job before? That’s the dilemma faced by Elliot Harrison of NFL.com in his annual head coach power rankings. Harrison placed all of the first-time coaches at or near the bottom of his rankings.
Ben McAdoo of the New York Giants placed 28th, above Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles (32), Mike Mularkey of the Tennessee Titans (31), Adam Gase of the Miami Dolphins (30) and Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29). Mularkey is the only one with NFL head-coaching experience.
Seriously, what else are you supposed to do in a ranking like this? Placing McAdoo near the bottom doesn’t mean Harrison thinks he’s a terrible coach. Quite the contrary:
McAdoo ran the Giants' offense the past two seasons and, frankly, did a darn good job. Scoring points hasn't been the big problem in the Big Apple. Now, though, the defense is McAdoo's baby, too. Heck, they're all his babies to lead: Eli Manning, Eli Apple and a grab bag of free-agent acquisitions brought in to help the D not suck as bad. McAdoo surely will not enjoy the inevitable comparisons to Tom Coughlin, but at least it's different than the old find-a-tailor joke that spawned from his introductory press conference. Enough already with that noise. McAdoo took care of the suit issue. You're gonna like the way he looks. I guarantee it!
Valentine’s View: Coughlin, with two Super Bowls under his belt and a long track record of success, was always near the top of these rankings. Whatever. The job is McAdoo’s now, and what matters is what happens going forward, not what happened in the past.
McAdoo is off to a good start. I have said this before, including on the “Big Blue Chat” podcast, but the primary thing we learned about McAdoo this spring is that the job is not too big for him. He is comfortable in it. He said at his introductory press conference that he was the “right man for the job.”
“I like the pressure. This is what you live for. This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” McAdoo said at that first press conference. “It’s the capital of the world, it’s the football capital of the world. What could be better than this type of opportunity and this type of pressure? You prepare for it and I’ve been a guy that’s always been baptized by fire and I’m comfortable with it.”
McAdoo has not worried about the Coughlin shadow. He has done things his way. The players’ schedule is different now. Practice is different now. There is music all the time, there are different drills and during the spring there seemed to be a different energy. Shoot, even the way McAdoo handles the media is different. That doesn’t necessarily mean he doles out more info than Coughlin did. He doesn’t. He just doesn’t make the media wait around to hear him tell them pretty much nothing. Coughlin used to make media wait for him after practice, sometimes 10 minutes or so. McAdoo practically races reporters to the podium most days. Maybe he just wants to get that part of his day over with.
Asked during OTAs about his comfort level as a head coach, he shrugged off the question.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” McAdoo said. “This is an opportunity that I dreamed of and I’m just out here attacking the job.”
Will the Giants and their fan base end up liking the way McAdoo looks as a head coach? Ultimately, only the won-loss record will answer that question. Still, whether he’s ranked near the bottom or not, the signs have been good thus far.