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Valentine’s Views: Ben McAdoo proving he never should have been a head coach

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I have tried not to do this, but I really can’t help but blast the former Giants coach

New York Giants vs Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Pat Traina did a wonderful job on Monday taking us point-by-point through the odious and misguided remarks made by former New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo in an interview with Peter King. In her understated style, about the harshest thing Traina said about the ex-coach is that he was “out of touch.”

This morning on ESPN Radio’s “Get Up” with Mike Greenberg and Michelle Beadle, Louis Riddick didn’t take the soft, even-handed approach. He shredded McAdoo:

“Sounds like a guy who shouldn’t have been a head coach. It sounds like a guy who quite honestly just doesn’t have any idea as far as how relationships are supposed to be conducted, especially when you’re talking about a franchise quarterback and multiple time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and someone who deserves a little bit more respect than after the fact you giving the explanation of well maybe my bedside manner was a little bit lacking and wasn’t up to par. That’s ridiculous.”

Riddick, who interviewed for the Giants’ GM job that went to Dave Gettleman, wasn’t done:

“I don’t really know what Ben McAdoo was trying to do with coming out and making some of the statements that he’s made on a wide range of topics. To me, it just sounds very misinformed, unprepared, just like his head-coaching tenure was.”

Here is the full Riddick segment:

Valentine’s View

Quite honestly, I have been putting off writing an opinionated piece regarding McAdoo and his remarks ever since the first of them surfaced last week. I can’t, however, let Traina, Riddick and anyone else who is rightfully piling on McAdoo have all the fun.

My view comes to this. First, I agree completely with Riddick that McAdoo never should have been a head coach in the first place.

It is laughable now to think about McAdoo in his ill-fitting suit (yeah, probably a cheap shot) at his introductory press conference telling the media that despite being one of the league’s youngest head coaches he thought it had taken too long for him to get a top job.

Laughable now because after what we saw in nearly two full seasons it is obvious that McAdoo wasn’t ready. He didn’t have the experience or the skill set to handle the full breadth of the job, nor the personality to build the relationships needed to be successful.

He was in over his head. Way, way over his head.

Yes, the Giants made the playoffs during his first season. In my view, though, McAdoo had nothing to do with it. John Mara’s checkbook, Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, and just enough individual brilliance from Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. got them there. Not McAdoo’s play-calling.

McAdoo, though, had a lot to do with why things crumbled in 2017. His handling of Beckham and his lack of ability to build rapport with players brought about a lack of discipline. He talked about toughness, but ran perhaps the softest training camp you will ever see. He talked about wanting players to be comfortable being uncomfortable, but refused to accept responsibility or make real adjustments when things failed.

The biggest problem? In his mind success was about him, failure was about the players.

McAdoo talked about not being able to convince players and coaches that the 2016 success wouldn’t automatically carry over. That’s because he seemed to believe that it would, that he had the answers, had this head-coaching thing figured out and was now a star. Slicked-back hair and all.

McAdoo’s remarks this week also tell me that he still doesn’t get it. He told King that he had thus far written a 209-page “manifesto” on things he had learned from being fired. I have to wonder how big the type face is because he really doesn’t seem to have learned much.

He still has no clue how badly he botched the Eli Manning situation.

McAdoo told King:

Right or wrong, I am at peace with how I handled the decision to play quarterbacks other than Eli Manning down the stretch of last season. At the time, we were 2-9, beat up, and I told Eli we wanted to see the other quarterbacks on the roster—including our promising rookie, Davis Webb. I was not ending Eli’s career with the Giants; I was making sure we knew what we had behind him with a high draft choice prior to a big quarterback draft. I gave him the option to start the games to keep his streak alive. I understand why he said no, and he was a true pro about it. My bedside manner hurt me that week. I’m working on that. I do think it was special how his former teammates and the fans rallied around him that week. But if there’s one thing I want fans of the Giants to know, it’s that I made this call to try to make the Giants stronger for the future. It probably got me fired, but I believe I did the right thing for the right reasons.

Bedside manner? Right reasons? Stronger for the future? Give me a break! Then, why wasn’t Webb playing?

Truth is, at 2-9 and going nowhere Manning probably should not have been playing in those final five games. Neither, though, should Geno Smith. The only acceptable reason for removing Manning from the lineup was to play Webb, to get him experience and get a true read on whether you needed a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Yet, McAdoo left Webb unprepared to play having gotten nothing but scout team reps all season. I’ve written this on Twitter, but I wholeheartedly believe that McAdoo has never been a Manning fan and part of him wanted to take something important from Eli before the Giants took the coaching job from him.

McAdoo’s shots this week at Ereck Flowers, other NFC East teams, even indirectly at former GM Jerry Reese, have convinced me of another thing about McAdoo. While he continues to say self-aggrandizing things like “I was born for this,” and he could end up with another head-coaching opportunity some day, I can’t imagine giving it to him if I was an NFL GM or owner. He can write a War and Peace-sized manifesto if he wants, but I’m not sure he will ever have the personality and flexibility to handle the job.

While I was writing this, Chris Pflum messaged me with a thought I have to share because I agree with it. So, the final word in this ‘Valentine’s Views’ is going to the “Raptor:”

“I keep coming back to what I thought when I did those “Have The Giants Improved?” Posts: Whatever the change in personnel, draft, FA, additions or subtractions... The single biggest improvement the Giants have made is moving on from McAdoo.

“More than anything, if they play better, I can’t help but think that it will be because of the guy with the whistle.”