Ben McAdoo has kept a pretty low profile since the New York Giants fired him as head coach on Dec. 4, with four games remaining in what turned out to be a dismal 3-13 season, the franchise’s worst in 34 years. But now he’s breaking his silence, and he actually seems quite thrilled with all the moves the Giants have made since they replaced him with Pat Shurmur, to the point where he made a bold prediction during a chat with the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.
“I think they’re gonna win the division,” he said.
While neither the Cowboys nor the Redskins are coming off particularly strong seasons — both missed the playoffs — the NFC East also features the Eagles, who happen to be the defending Super Bowl champions. But McAdoo seems to think that actually could be their downfall.
“I think Philly, how much success has Philly had?” he said. “I think they’re gonna have a hard time handling success. Dallas, I like their offensive line, but how long have we been saying that? Their defense, they got a bunch of young guys playing DB, Sean Lee is banged up a lot, and their D-line, they got a bunch of guys getting in trouble all the time. And Washington is Washington, right?”
To play Devil’s Advocate, repeating as Super Bowl champion is difficult: It’s only been done eight times, and not since the Patriots in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. But then again, going from the cellar to the division title takes a certain set of circumstances, too. The Dolphins went from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 and an AFC East title in 2008, a.k.a. the year Tom Brady’s season was ended midway through the first quarter of his first game, and the year Brett Favre threw a league-high 22 interceptions for the Jets. The Colts went from 3-13 in 1998 to 13-3 in 1999, but they had a guy named Peyton Manning at quarterback. The Rams improved from 4-12 in 1998 to 13-3 and a Super Bowl title in 1999. Unearthing a quarterback like Kurt Warner and having him deliver the ball to players like Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt will do that.
The Giants “unearthed” running back Saquon Barkley in the draft — a move praised by McAdoo, who agreed with the decision not to draft a quarterback — and rejiggered their offensive line by signing left tackle Nate Solder to a massive free agent contract. But Eli Manning still will be the quarterback, even though he’s 37 years old and even though McAdoo benched him last season in favor of Geno Smith. He’ll be throwing the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., who played in just four games last season because of ankle problems. But at least opposing defenses won’t know what’s coming with Shurmer at the helm. If you recall from last season, Beckham said that opposing defenders had told him that they knew what was coming because McAdoo’s offense was so predictable.
McAdoo addressed that issue as well in a separate interview with Peter King, saying he should have worked more on keeping the sometimes-volatile Beckham on an even keel and less on designing the offense to run entirely around the wide receiver.
“I needed to be better for him personally, as a coordinator and head coach,” McAdoo told King, according to an excerpt from King’s forthcoming debut column at NBC Sports. “I was too busy trying to scheme ways to get him the ball, especially early in my time in New York, that I didn’t step back and see the big picture the way I should have.”
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