Fourth-quarter play calls. That seems like a topic the New York Giants, especially offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, has had to address frequently during the first four weeks of the 2015 NFL season. McAdoo had to that again this week when he addressed the media, and he forcefully defended the decision to have Eli Manning throw up 14 points and in chip-shot field-goal range late in Sunday's 24-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The play backfired, of course, turning into the only interception Manning has thrown this season.
"With over four minutes left in the game, it was a lot of time left in the game and until you start milking the clock in four-minute mode, you want to stay aggressive, keep your foot on the gas, and go for the knockout shot there," McAdoo said.
The play actually came just inside four minutes, with the Giants facing third-and-goal at the Buffalo 8-yard line and 3:51 remaining. McAdoo was asked what the difference between a 17 and 21-point lead was at that point in the game.
"Four points," McAdoo said. "We have confidence, we train the situation, we believe that we're going to go out there and execute the way we're capable. You have to give credit to the defense."
I wrote earlier this week that I disagreed with that choice. Let's leave it there and move on to some other takeaway from McAdoo as the Giants get ready to face the San Francisco 49ers.
On the play of the offensive line
"They're playing well together right now. They're doing a nice job communicating. Buffalo, they did an excellent job of creating some chaos. They have some noise, they do it with scheme, they have good players, and they're well coached. You have to be on the same page and we felt they did a nice job in pass protection communicating and keeping the quarterback clean long enough where he can get the ball out on time. ...
"They're like everybody else, under construction. We're all a work in progress and they're right there with us. They got better last week and we need to take another step this week. Just get a little bit better each week, find a way to win the games, and we'll be where we need to be."
On tight end without Daniel Fells
"Next man up. We just the develop the guys in the room and keep working on getting those better, and working. Larry [Donnell] is the lead dog in there right now and he's got to stand up, he's got to lead those guys. Kevin [Gilbride] does a great job with them, so whoever is in there, we're going to play with, we're going to develop them, and we trust them. They wouldn't be here if we didn't trust them. ... Larry does a nice job blocking and we're bringing the other guys along."
On the toughness of Ereck Flowers
"I think it's encouraging when you bring a guy in like Ereck who loves football. You can see that, that's evident, he doesn't want to miss, he's a tough guy, and we look forward to him getting healthy and continuing to develop and improving his technique."
On how offense, and play-calling, has changed
"The game has probably changed a little bit. You like to put as many big guys on the field as you can at the end of the game and run the ball. That's tougher to do now, you don't have as much time in pads as maybe you used to have, and that's not an excuse, that's just the reality. The game is played with more speed on the field and more in space, so with that being said, it's tougher on the quarterback because he has to deal with more adjustments and more moving things around him. There are more moving parts, so he has to be very crafty with his time."