These are definitely Ben McAdoo’s New York Giants.
When he was hired to replace two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin, his boss the two previous seasons, McAdoo promised to be himself, to do do things his way, to not be afraid of the shadow of the potential Hall of Fame coach.
“Everybody else is already taken, including Tom, so I can’t worry about being in Tom’s shadow, I got to be comfortable in my own skin and I am that,” McAdoo said on the January day he was introduced as the 17th head coach of the Giants.
In the six and one-half months since McAdoo has done just that, in ways big and small.
The Quest Diagnostics Training Center clocks remain five minutes ahead in honor of Coughlin. Eli Manning is still the quarterback. Steve Spagnuolo, hired twice by Coughlin, is still the defensive coordinator. There are, of course, many others who played for Coughlin and running back Rashad Jennings said a few days ago that the former coach “is there in spirit.”
These are not, however, Coughlin’s Giants.
There is a largely new coaching staff. There is a new schedule, a new weight room with a revised conditioning program, new drills and a different tempo at practice. There is also new hope.
“We’re very optimistic about our football team.We think we’ve upgraded, we like our coaching staff, we like the direction that Ben is taking us right now,” general manager Jerry Reese said on Sunday.
For his part, McAdoo said in the spring that he “just out here attacking the job.”
Many of the changes should have been expected. Of course a new coach is going to have his own ideas on how to run practice, set the schedule, etc. What has actually been startling has been to see McAdoo allow a glimpse into the inner sanctum, the behind-the scenes stuff that media and the fans usually don’t get to experience. And certainly never got to see, or would ever have gotten to see, under Coughlin.
As camp opened, McAdoo gave the team’s web site an exclusive inside look at what went on Friday before the team hit the field, including a peak at the staff meeting and a listen to part of the early-morning team meeting. He also gave an exclusive interview to Jenny Vrentas of MMQB that revealed more about who he is and how he has chosen to go about his first head-coaching job.
Reese spoke optimistically on Sunday about the “really good football team” he believes he has assembled for the 2016 season. Only time will tell if Reese is right. He certainly spent enough money.
No matter how much talent the GM has assembled, though, it won’t matter if his 39-year-old rookie coach can’t figure out how to bring all of the pieces together.
If we have learned anything so far it is that McAdoo is without a doubt “comfortable in his own skin.” Everything we have seen thus far indicates that he is also up to the task.