Giants’ shakeup is a “fire in their rear end,” Coughlin says


Ben McAdoo, with Green Bay Packers players, in 2012. That’s (from left to right), Jeff Saturday, Aaron Rodgers, T.J. Lang and McAdoo. (Mike Roemer /  AP file)

The New York Giants hired an offensive coordinator, a guy who is expected to shake things up and eliminate any complacency that may have festered after they won two Super Bowls in four seasons. And that wasn’t the only shakeup to the staff.

The new guy, Ben McAdoo, comes from the Green Bay Packers, where he was the quarterbacks coach. He is tasked with shaking up the offense, restoring Eli Manning’s prowess and turning up the heat beneath Coach Tom Coughlin.

“Here’s what I expect,” Coughlin said (via Giants.com). “I think the players will respond to this. We’re going to try to compromise the system with what we have here. However, there will be change. And that change will be very positive and very well-received by our team and our players.

“And if our players are scrambling around to learn a new system — good. That’s another fire in their rear end.”

McAdoo replaces long-time offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who retired after the season ended. On Wednesday, the Giants parted with Mike Pope, their long-time tight ends coach (via Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1), and Jerald Ingram, the running backs coach, as they seek to re-energize the staff. McAdoo, who is only 36, was a hot commodity; the Baltimore Sun reported that the Ravens had hoped to interview him as they seek a replacement for offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who was hired Tuesday to coach the Detroit Lions. He also interviewed for the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator job and the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching job.

The Giants, though, snapped him up as they begin preparing for Life After Coughlin in their methodical, reasonable way. Although he has won two Super Bowls, the team, hammered by early-season injuries, lost its first six games before overcoming some of its ennui and finishing 7-9. Giants ownership is patient, but that kind of mediocrity is going to be addressed. McAdoo, who developed under Mike McCarthy, is regarded as a future head coach and has a big endorsement from Aaron Rodgers.

“Any opportunity he gets he deserves,” Rodgers said on his radio show last week (via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News). “He’s a guy that works extremely hard. We had a long talk and I just continued to echo the things that I felt about him and appreciate about him. Ultimately I have always needed a guy who gets me prepared every week, that can give me the opportunities to reach my potential. Ben did that every day the last two seasons for me and the other quarterbacks in the room. … He’s a guy who wants to learn and takes to heard the things I say or the things he hears from [offensive coordinator] Tom [Clements] and tried to become a better quarterbacks coach every day. And he did.”

McAdoo has never called plays, though. He’ll get help there from Coughlin, who will turn 68 next summer and has one more year left on his contract. There’s a sense that a gentle transition is unfolding, but Coughlin said in December that he’s still “a young guy in this business. Everyone wants to know what is next for me. Well, I hope it’s coaching the New York Giants. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about me and my circumstance and my situation. It’s about our team and where we’re going.”

That means seeing what McAdoo brings and getting him to help Manning, who struggled last season.

“Think about what they overcame this year in Green Bay,” Coughlin told Giants.com. The Packers lost Rodgers to a broken collarbone on Nov. 4 and earned a playoff berth with Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn at quarterback for eight games.

“He’s a western Pennsylvania guy who has earned everything and he’s earned it the hard way,” Coughlin said. “He’s a smart guy. He’s done it the right way. He’s not a flashy guy. He’s a smart, intelligent guy to work with. He works very, very hard. He’s got the dirt under his fingernails. He’s my kind of guy. He’s got the blue-collar work ethic.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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