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Ben McAdoo: Giants will “evaluate” Adrian Peterson

That does not necessarily mean the Giants are interested, though most will take it that way

NFL: Combine
Ben McAdoo at the combine.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Wednesday that the Giants will “take a look” at running back Adrian Peterson in free agency.

“We’ll go take a look at him, we’ll evaluate him, we’ll get a grade on anyone who’s available,” McAdoo said during a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Peterson, a future Hall of Famer who will be a free agent after the Minnesota Vikings refused to pick up his $18 million 2017 option, has said multiple times he would play for the Giants. The view here has consistently been, and will continue to be, that the Giants need to look in a different direction.

There will be some, of course, who will read McAdoo’s statement and run with a “the Giants are interested in Adrian Peterson” angle.

Not here.

I don’t believe anyone should read anything into McAdoo’s statement. This is basically McAdoo saying “never say never,” as he is fond of doing, or GM Jerry Reese saying “we investigate everything.” Which he is fond of doing.

It is what the Giants do. They will evaluate Peterson, just like they will evaluate every player on the market. Will they spend money on an oft-injured running back who will be 32 next season, doesn’t fit their offense, has a suspension in his past for a child abuse incident and probably will want more money than the Giants should spend on a running back?

I can’t see it.

Here is McAdoo talking about free agency in a different context, but still in a way that could reflect his thoughts on Peterson.

“If you have a chance to hit with some clean players that you feel good about that can make you better then you take your shot. If not, you move on and you look forward to the draft,” he said. “Whether its free agency or the draft you try to come up with the best players that you can that makes the most sense for the long-term health of the organization.”

In that context, chasing Peterson would seem to be an odd move.

Here are a few other takeaways from McAdoo’s remarks.

Ereck Flowers is, well, an offensive lineman

McAdoo wasn’t giving any hints as to where beleaguered Ereck Flowers would line up next season.

“Right now it’s March 1st. He’s an offensive lineman for the New York Giants,” McAdoo said.

The coach also pointed out that Flowers, still only 22, is younger than many of the players who will be participating in the combine.

“I have a ton of confidence in Ereck. He’s all in, he’s working at it. You can make a case that he could be here right now preparing to go out there and run in the combine. He’s a young player that has a lot of room to grow and we expect him to grow,” McAdoo said. “I have confidence that’s he’s gonna grow. Where he ends up is where he ends up. Right now he’s playing left tackle like he’s always played for us and we’ll go from there.”

So, Ben, about your 2016 offense

Remember that tongue-in-cheek post where I said GM Jerry Reese wouldn’t answer a question about last year’s offense? Well, here’s what McAdoo said Wednesday when asked about changing the play-calling duties next season.

“You can keep asking the question, I enjoy when you ask the question. But, I’m not gonna answer that question.”

What about changes to the scheme?

“Well, I think we did a better job this year than years past of going forward when we ran the ball. Now we didn’t win the down the way we’re capable of winning the down. We weren’t as explosive the way we need to be. But we were going forward as a result of that. Our line to gain on third down, I think we were third in the league. So we had third downs that were makeable, and we didn’t execute the way we need to execute there. Then you go back and take a look at explosivity, how you can be more explosive. And there are things that we’re gonna work on schematically to try and get that done, but they’re tough to generate. Everyone works at being explosive on offense. It’s about execution.”

On releasing Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings

“That’s a tough part of the business,” McAdoo said. “That’s not why you get into coaching.”

Of Cruz, McAdoo added “Once a Giants always a Giant. He’s a big part of Giants history.”

On the combine

McAdoo admitted he has done little film study of the draft prospects at this point, having done mostly team and free agent evaluations. He said he will be putting names to faces this week.

“Medical part is huge, that’s the most important thing. Seeing how guys carry themselves in the interview process, really just meeting them for the first time. See ‘em move around a little bit, you can take some notes there,” McAdoo said of what he hopes to gain this week.