GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Giants players have voiced strong support for first-year head coach Ben McAdoo from the first day of training camp, July 28, when running back Rashad Jennings praised “the way (McAdoo) commands attention in a room, how meticulous he is, and the respect level he has for every single person.”
The players’ belief in McAdoo seems genuine and shared throughout the locker room, which is why it would have been no surprise Sunday night if the Giants players went out to win one at Lambeau Field for “Coach Mac” — despite McAdoo downplaying his homecoming to his longtime Green Bay outpost (2006-13).
“Obviously, deep down, there’s a little extra,” left guard Justin Pugh said later this week of the natural desire McAdoo must have to win in Green Bay. “You go back and you’re going against the team that you used to coach, (where you) used to live. There is no way around that. Just going in and making sure you’re preparing and doing a little extra, whatever the extra is. I can see that happening. Coach Mac has been great. I love him.”
McAdoo’s refusal to acknowledge even a little emotion about returning to Green Bay, though, while admirable in his focus on the task at hand, is downright unnatural.
McAdoo’s answer to whether he feels a sense of nostalgia? “No.”
McAdoo’s answer to whether it will be special coaching against mentor Mike McCarthy? “No.”
“How can I ask this team to be disciplined and poised, and be committed to it, if I don’t have it myself?” McAdoo posed the question, opening a small window into why he removes emotion.
Ben McAdoo returns to Lambeau Field for the first time as Giants head coach.
(Frank Franklin II/AP)
OK, but McAdoo, 39, has to feel a tug on the heartstrings for a place where he coached tight ends (2006-11) and quarterbacks (2012-13), where he won Super Bowl XLV as a Packer assistant, and most of all, for the area where he married his wife, Toni, where the couple had daughter Larkin and son BJ — where they called home.
The city is perfectly suited for someone of McAdoo’s working-class upbringing, too. He hails from a small coal-mining town of Homer City, Pa., and carries the steely work ethic born from it, committed to his craft, head down, always on to the next challenge. That blue-collar mentality probably explains why McAdoo is able to pretend Green Bay is Anywhere, USA, in what would be an emotional return for most everyone else.
But more than anything, McAdoo’s deflection of this weekend being about him was likely an indication of just how big a game this was for the Giants, and for McAdoo in his first season, coming off consecutive losses.
McAdoo is young, but he’s been in the business long enough to understand the difference between a 3-2 record and a 2-3 record in the Big Apple, especially when that three in the loss column is a product of three straight defeats to wipe out any optimism created by a promising start.
“I have a job to do,” McAdoo said. “I’m consistent with the way I do my job.”
He is asking for consistency from his Giants, and he hadn’t received it from his players through four weeks, so it follows that McAdoo will continue to set the example he wants his players to emulate.
McAdoo served as quarterbacks coach for two seasons with the Packers after winning a Super Bowl.
McAdoo is trying to build something in New York, not dwell on past accomplishments in Green Bay.
His constant coach-speak, distaste for talking about himself, and sometimes terse answers are very clichéd football and clichéd NFL, often uninteresting and oversimplified.
But perhaps that is what the Giants players like about McAdoo so much: He is all about football, all about trying to find the best way for his team to win, all the time.
Amid the weekly Odell Beckham Jr. off-field distraction and now McAdoo’s homecoming to Green Bay, the coach has not wavered much from his goals, his demeanor and his support of his team.
To an outsider, his steely attitude may come off as unusual. But to the players in the locker room, there is clearly support for a leader on the sideline who is always doing his part the same way and never interested in making the story about him.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News