clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is the job of New York Giants head coach too big for Ben McAdoo?

It’s a fair question, and the answer is really up to him

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

James Kratch of NJ Advance Media on Thursday morning wrote a scathing takedown of Ben McAdoo is which he said the job of head coach of the New York Giants “looks too big” for McAdoo.

I couldn’t really disagree with Kratch, and that sent my scurrying back into the Big Blue View archives. Why? Because whether or not the job was too big for McAdoo, only 38 and with two years of experience as an offensive coordinator when he was named to succeed Tom Coughlin, was one of the primary questions I had at the time.

And I know that a number of times during the 2016 season I wrote complementary things lauding McAdoo for his approach to the job. I also said those same complementary things on a variety of podcasts and radio shows.

Here is an example, written at the beginning of his first training camp:

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.

There are a number of others. They are fascinating to me, but maybe not you. So, we will move on.

Thing is, being comfortable in your own skin in fine. It doesn’t, however, mean you are up to the task of coaching an NFL team, especially one in the glare of the New York/New Jersey media market.

Here is something else I have said before: McAdoo talks about the Giants being “sound, smart and tough. Committed to discipline and poise.” He also often says he wants them to be a “heavy-handed” football team.

They are none of those things. And that is squarely on him.

Last season, the Giants won 11 games with the defense and a favorable schedule providing him plenty of cover. When you look back, though, you see troubling signs that date back to last year. And they go beyond his stubborn “Only I can fix it” attitude toward the offense.

How can players have discipline when you don’t discipline them? Ereck Flowers was not disciplined for shoving a reporter in the locker room. Odell Beckham Jr. has never been disciplined by McAdoo despite a number of instances where he probably should have been.

How does he expect players to respect him when he says matter-of-factly that he is consistent because he treats everyone differently? It is hard to read that as meaning anything other than the rules being different based on the name plate above your locker.

How can players be tough when practices aren’t? I’ve had more than one person I respect tell me they thought training camp was soft. And it was. It seemed mostly designed to make sure players felt good, not to get them better and prepare them for the season. So, when the season started they looked unprepared. Shocker!

MacAdoo might be trying to put the discipline genie back in the bottle by suspending Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. How, though, do you explain suspending Rodgers-Cromartie for leaving the bench on Sunday and having nothing to say about Janoris Jenkins also heading to the locker room before the game was over?

Mistakes in the Xs and Os parts of the game, in-game management and even the running of training camp can probably be forgiven in the big picture. McAdoo is, after all, still a young coach. He should be expected to make some mistakes, to learn and grow on the job.

Is he, however, learning, growing and getting better? McAdoo has made some of his own problems, largely with his own hubris.

McAdoo said the other day that he is “Not concerned about perception. Concerned about reality.”

Perception, though, can be reality. Especially in a frenzied media market that has seized on the “fractured team” angle with the Giants, and isn’t about to let it go.

If Art Stapleton of The Record is right players appear to be united in their unhappiness with McAdoo.

Can the coach recover from this? Yes, but he is going to have to take a loooooong look in the mirror. He is going to have to understand that there is more to being a successful head coach than setting the schedule and picking the plays off his dinner menu. He is going to have to understand that he does share in the responsibility for the mess that the Giants have become, and that he won’t get a chance to be part of the solution until he realizes he doesn’t already have all the answers.