When Ben McAdoo succeeded Tom Coughlin as Giants head coach, he said his goal was “to put a fifth (Lombardi) trophy in the case”.
In his first year, the results were astounding. McAdoo took a team that won a combined 12 games in the previous two seasons to the playoffs. Although the Giants entered last year’s postseason as the NFC’s fifth seed, their 11-5 finish put them in a three-way tie for the NFL’s third best regular season record.
After the Giants were eliminated by the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card Game, expectations rose that this team was ready to take the next step and become a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
McAdoo was hailed as an offensive genius before he was elevated to head coach. In Sunday night’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, McAdoo’s flaws as a head coach were on full display.
The Giants have failed to score at least 20 points in seven consecutive games going back to last season, six of those games with All-World wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup. Beckham didn’t play against Dallas and the Giants offense completely disintegrated, only managing a field goal against a Cowboys defense that no one would equate to the Steel Curtain, Purple People Eaters, or ’85 Bears.
McAdoo said in the offseason he identified 100 areas of improvement. The one area where he didn’t improve was the offensive line, a source of discontent in 2016 and looking as if they are picking up where they left off to start 2017. The Giants have a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in Eli Manning. Manning is at his best when the line provides protection and he can sit back comfortably and pick defenses apart.
McAdoo’s play calling in the opener was predictable and bland, allowing the Cowboys defense to abuse and exploit the Giants offense. When Beckham returns, McAdoo should call better plays and take more chances down the field. At the same time, an offense shouldn’t be predicated on one player, even one with Beckham’s skillset.
It isn’t even as if the Giants were blowing opponents out last season. Their highest margin of victory (14 points) was against the lowly Cleveland Browns. The sweep of the Cowboys were victories by one and three points. Last season, Giants fans were happy that the team was winning. This season, just winning is not good enough.
The defense carried the Giants to many of last year’s victories. Against the Cowboys, they were tired from being on the field too much. In order for the Giants to get in a position for that fifth Lombardi Trophy, the offense has to score points. Giants fans were made to believe the offense could do just that.
They added the veteran receiver Brandon Marshall and drafted tight end Evan Engram. They convinced us Paul Perkins could be the running back who could elevate a rushing attack near the bottom of the league last season. Marshall was only targeted four times against the Cowboys with one catch. Engram had four receptions for 44 yards in his first regular season game. As for Perkins, well, I gained more yards than Perkins taking my garbage from the backyard to the front of my house for pickup.
The Giants are in a win now mode, mostly because of last season and their quarterback is 36 years old. In order to win now, McAdoo needs to call better, more diverse plays. He can’t rely on the same four or five plays like he’s playing Madden NFL 18 with real players.
McAdoo knows exactly what has to happen in next Monday night’s game against the Detroit Lions.
“We need to find a way to win a ballgame this week and find a way to get better up front in a hurry,” he said.
McAdoo was hailed as an offensive genius…now he needs to prove it otherwise Giants fans and the New York media will tear him to shreds and rightfully so.