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Ben McAdoo likes the pressure of being Giants’ new head coach

New York Giants senior vice president & general

New York Giants senior vice president & general manager Jerry Reese shakes hands with Giants head coach Ben McAdoo at a news conference on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Ben McAdoo called the transition “an evolution, not a revolution.”

Which is why the idea of an introductory news conference Friday to formally coronate the new coach of the Giants was an unnecessary formality. No introduction was required. He knows us, we know him.

McAdoo has been the Giants’ offensive coordinator for two seasons. Many of the key pieces of the coaching staff are remaining. As co-owner Steve Tisch said of interviewing McAdoo: “It’s not a first date.”

Even the clocks are staying the same. They will continue to run five minutes fast, McAdoo said, as a tribute to his predecessor, who famously set them that way and insisted they not be corrected.

In fact, the only discernible difference in the Giants is Tom Coughlin’s absence. And he’s not even completely gone. After three losing seasons that co-owner John Mara said “tears me up,” the Giants aren’t gutting the place. So far, it feels like a spring cleaning. All they’ve done is put the antique into storage.

“This is not about blaming Tom,” Mara said. “This was an organizational failure starting with me and working its way down. We all have to take some blame for that. Now it’s up to us to turn it around.”

Us . . . minus Coughlin. Or maybe with him, too.

Mara again said he hopes to keep Coughlin in the organization in some capacity now that he appears to be out of options to coach elsewhere. McAdoo said he’d welcome having him around. Coughlin was even at Giants headquarters Friday for his morning workout.

All of which further illustrates the belief that it wasn’t a coaching failure that led to the dismal 2015 season, even if that happened to be the casualty.

All of which further illustrates the belief that it wasn’t a coaching failure that led to the dismal 2015 season, even if that happened to be the casualty.

Tisch spoke about having “continuity” with the McAdoo hire, but is that what the franchise needs after three losing seasons and four without a playoff berth?

“Generically, I think I would say too much continuity could be an issue,” Tisch said of McAdoo’s hiring. “But [I’m] very confident that his game plan is going to be very, very effective and hopefully very successful.”

Just maybe not all that different.

McAdoo hit many of the right notes in his first news conference, even if it was through a somewhat monotone delivery. He spoke about his philosophies on leadership, his goals on the field and what he wants from his players. He deflected the idea that, at 38, he is not seasoned enough for this job and even said that, contradictory to his somewhat meteoric rise through the coaching ranks, “it took too long” for him to reach this point.

“I like the pressure,” he said of being the face of one of the NFL’s marquee franchises in a city he called “the capital of the world and the football capital of the world.”

“I think Ben is confident and not arrogant,” Tisch said. “He seems appropriately fearless.”

McAdoo will shake a few things up. He’ll have a fresh perspective on why injuries have been such a factor for the Giants in recent seasons. He said he’ll change the schedule a bit, even during the season, to relieve some of the doldrums of a 17-week voyage. He’ll certainly put his fingerprints on other areas not always viewable by the public.

The big changes for the Giants, though, if they do come, will take place during the next few months and not in these first two weeks of the offseason. The roster needs to be overhauled, particularly on defense. McAdoo comes from a Green Bay system in which free agency is seen as a vice, and Mara seemed to like that build-through-the-draft mentality. Given the Giants’ recent draft history, though, there have not been many blocks with which to build.

Mara said discussions will continue about changes in the personnel department in terms of structure and philosophy. He said McAdoo will have as much of a voice in the decision-making as head coaches with the Giants have always had, working closely with general manager Jerry Reese.

“The first thing we have to do is get him better players,” Mara said of McAdoo. “Listen, I know what our roster looks like. I know it has to get a hell of a lot better if we’re going to put the fifth trophy in the case.”

Mara said he believes the people in the building can win a championship, if for no other reason than they have done it before. That rationalization is getting weak, though, even for the man who keeps leaning on it.

“The last Super Bowl is a distant memory at this point,” Mara said. “We long ago lost the benefit of the doubt with our fans. That’s what happens when you have three losing seasons in a row. It goes back to the second half of the 2012 season, and the following three years have been miserable. It’s time to end that and start on a new course.”

Just don’t call what happened in the past two weeks a revolution.


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