It’s back to work for The New York Giants and their coaches, and and the first taste of what it means to be in the NFL for the incoming draft class.
Giants’ head coach Ben McAdoo took questions about the new crop of rookies before practice begins this afternoon.
“We just want to introduce them to the offense, defense, and special teams,” McAdoo said, when asked what they were looking to accomplish this weekend. “Get out here and teach them how we practice, get an evaluation on some try-out guys who’ve come in. Those guys are always chomping at the bit, and give them an opportunity.”
Davis Webb, the Giants’ third round pick has largely dominated the discussion of their draft. The conversation around him is both concerned with his potential future as well as the players they didn’t draft.
Fittingly, Webb was the first topic brought up when McAdoo opened up for questions.
McAdoo said of what they looked to accomplish with Webb, “Really you just have a chance to teach him install one, introduce him to the system, so to speak, so he’s familiar with how we adjust things. Maneuver through the playbook, fundamentals are big. Talk to him about how we get away from center, how we seat the ball, just different things fundamentally. But a lot of things under center for him.”
The NFL playbook is daunting for many rookies, and reporters were wondering whether Webb has had a chance yet to dive into the plays he will be calling as quarterback.
“He may have had a chance early on to get his hands on it [the playbook] a little bit,” McAdoo said. “Sometimes you introduce it during the process, like down in Indianapolis you may take him through some things, see if he can spit it back to you, but really he’s been hands on here with it.”
Webb famously came from a spread offense at both Texas Tech and Cal, and he faces a learning steep learning curve as he adjusts to the Giants’ West Coast based offense. Fortunately, he sought coaching from quarterbacks coach and former Washington Redskins’ head coach Jim Zorn. McAdoo was complementary of his work since leaving college.
“He had some training going in to Indianapolis and in the off-season to get ready for the workouts and you can see that has definitely paid off for him. That helped him, so he’s familiar and he’s worked at it, but he had a good start.”
After that the questions turned to the Giants’ first round pick, tight end Evan Engram out of Ole Miss. There has been significant speculation regarding what Engram’s role will be for the Giants and whether or not his frame and college experience will be a hindrance for him.
“.We can’t hold against him what he’s been asked to do in a previous offense,” McAdoo said. “We have to develop him as we go along, see what he can handle, what he’s comfortable with, and see how we can push him to grow and be comfortable being uncomfortable. Where we start and where we finish may be two different things.”
When asked whether Engram’s perceived difficulties blocking will present a challenge for him or limit what he will be able to do for the Giants, McAdoo had this to say.
“No, everything’s different, everything is a challenge, McAdoo said. He’s coming from more of a spread-type offense where he played off the ball a ton. We’ll have him will have playing off the ball a little bit, we won’t just have him out there in 11 personnel, we’ll mix him in. Special teams will be big for him, that’ll be big early on. He has a chance to make an immediate impact as he learns and grows on the offensive side.”
“I don’t know what an H-back is,” McAdoo continued, when asked how Engram would be used and if he would play ‘h-back’ for the Giants. “He’ll play tight end for us, and we’ll use him where he’s comfortable and where he can grow.”
“He has big hands,” McAdoo said when asked what he has seen of Engram as a pass catcher. “The biggest challenge for him, at this level and especially here, is the timing and rhythm of the quarterback. He has to time his routes up with the quarterback, not necessarily the quarterback timing up when he’s open. That’s going to be different, the ball’s going to be on him a lot quicker than what he’s used to, even on the downfield stuff. So that’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but he has big, strong hands.”
But while McAdoo was a bit cautious in predicting how soon Engram would have an impact for the Giants, he didn’t mince words when it came to his potential.
“We’ll see,” McAdoo said. “We’ll see how fast he develops, how fast he grows, and how fast he learns. We think the sky’s the limit, we feel the sky’s the limit for him, but we’ll take it one day at a time.”
“We have a system of offense in place and we can play any personnel group under the sun with that offense,” McAdoo said, when asked how much time the coaching staff has spent trying to figure out ways to get Engram involved. “We try to use the players to their strengths as best we can, and we’ll have something in place for him if he becomes a big factor in the offense as a rookie.”
Reporters then asked about the Giants’ second round pick, Alabama defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. In particular, how his varied background and skill set could make him more than just another run-stuffing defensive tackle.
“He’s [Tomlinson] more athletic than he gets credit for,” McAdoo said. “And you know I think it’s an advantage for guys coming out that have played different sports and haven’t just been a one sport guy.”
Finally McAdoo was asked whether he was satisfied with the roster as it stands now. He said, “Am I satisfied with the roster? The scheme and the roster always are changing, every day.”
“Gotta be careful evaluating players running around in their underwear,” he added with a smile, wrapping up the presser.