How Ben McAdoo saves his job
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo returned from a bye week and talked about flushing his team’s 1-6 disaster and starting fresh.
“We need to move on to the second half,” he told his players upon their return to the team’s practice facility in East Rutherford on Monday. “Don’t hold onto what we did the first half, but let’s go out here and be the best team we can be in the second half of the season.”
Problem is when a toilet bowl is stained, no matter how many times you flush it, the stain remains until drastic cleansing measures are taken.
That’s the Giants 2017 season. They can talk about flushing what happened before the bye and starting anew. But the disastrous first three months will affect how they are perceived from here on.
It especially will shape the way McAdoo is viewed. After taking the Giants to 11 wins and the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2011, the second-year head coach finds his job in jeopardy after failing to live up to being a Super Bowl contender in 2017.
With almost zero hope of making the playoffs this season, McAdoo’s chance to remain the head coach in 2018 will depend on how the Giants perform from here.
When asked Monday if he felt he was coaching for his job, McAdoo gave an honest answer.
“Each and every day in this business, you have to prove yourself, and when I come in, I come to work,” he said. “I’m blessed to be here. It’s a great opportunity. I don’t think that way. I’m doing everything I can to help these players put a winning product on the field on Sunday.”
McAdoo said he spent the bye week evaluating schemes and personnel to figure out what has worked and what hasn’t. Figuring out the why is also important. He said there would be “subtle changes” in an attempt to improve production.
“We have good players,” he said. “We have to put them in a position to be successful.”
The Giants should look at their schedule and see a handful of potential wins starting with Sunday’s game against the Rams at MetLife Stadium. The Giants also face the 49ers, Redskins and Raiders over the next month and have a home game against the Chiefs.
Get four wins, and the Giants would be 5-7 heading into a final-four stretch against the Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals and Washington. Spilt those games and a 7-9 record might not be good enough for Jerry Reese to remain as general manager, but it could get McAdoo a temporary reprieve until a new general manager is appointed and the two decide whether they can work together. That might be McAdoo’s best-case scenario for staying.
On Monday, McAdoo said he and Reese are “tied at the hip.” That could be a perilous position with Reese expected to be the fall guy for missing the playoffs for what would be the fifth time in six years. McAdoo might be able to save himself with a strong finish, though the Giants will likely give any new GM the choice to retain or replace the head coach.
Right now, McAdoo’s résumé does not look good. The offensive guru has an offense that’s ranked 27th in the NFL. The defense that played so well in 2016 also is a disappointing 27th. The Giants don’t run the ball anymore and they don’t score points. They’ve forgotten how to win.
“Everything falls on my shoulders,” McAdoo said.
During his face-the-music press conference last week, Reese said McAdoo is “smarter than all of us,” and there were times when the head coach let you know it. His words sounded more humble Monday.
“In this business, it’s tough to win,” he said. “It’s also tough to be in the situation we’re in.”
It’s not really a fresh start. But where the Giants go from here will determine whether McAdoo will be around for 2018.