Ben McAdoo was the second youngest head coach in the NFL when he succeeded Tom Coughlin. Coughlin won two Super Bowls leading the New York Football Giants and any coach following him would have their work cut out for them.
The team performed beyond expectations in McAdoo’s first year. They won 11 games and made their first postseason appearance since winning Super Bowl XLVI. In spite of their Wild Card Playoff exit, there was cause for much optimism as the Giants entered 2017. The optimism evaporated quickly.
The Giants’ 2017 season was a tragedy of errors that included monumental blunders by the front office, coaching staff, and players and just plain ol’ bad luck. After the mishandling of Eli Manning’s benching, McAdoo became just the third head coach in Giants history to be fired in the middle of a season.
There are multiple sources of regret McAdoo has thought of in the seven months since his ignominious departure from the Meadowlands. However, there is one regret that stands out above all others: the handling of Odell Beckham Jr.
McAdoo revealed he feels he failed Beckham as a coach in an upcoming interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King.
“I needed to be better for him personally as a coordinator and head coach,” McAdoo told King. “I was too busy trying to scheme ways to get him the ball, especially in my early time in New York, that I didn’t step back and see the big picture the way I should have.”
McAdoo was almost the polar opposite of Coughlin when it came to matters of discipline. There is no way the Dog Urination Touchdown Celebration would have happened under Coughlin’s watch without swift consequences.
As for the contention that McAdoo was “busy trying to scheme ways to get him the ball”, even that is questionable. Beckham did average 13.2 yards per reception and scored 20 touchdowns in 20 games with McAdoo. However, McAdoo’s own lack of offensive innovation did not confuse opposing defenses.
In 2016, the Giants used 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) a league-high 92 percent of the time. Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough spoke of a conversation he had with then-Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther about how easy it was to prepare for McAdoo’s version of the West Coast offense in a Week 10 21-20 Giants victory.
“He was just like, ‘You know, we know a lot of what you’re going’,” Beckham said.
McAdoo will probably work in the NFL again. He turned 41 on Monday, young enough for his Giants tenure to be a footnote depending on what happens in his coaching career. He has had time to think about everything that went wrong in his 29 games with the Giants…and everything did go wrong.
Even if his relationship with Beckham were different, it wouldn’t have been enough to save his job given the dumpster fire that was the New York Giants’ 2017 season.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.