EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ben McAdoo plans to mix and match what he learned with the Green Bay Packers with parts of the Kevin Gilbride's playbook in coming up with a new offense for the New York Giants.
Speaking with media on Thursday for the first time since being appointed as the Giants' offensive coordinator last month, McAdoo sounded similar to coach Tom Coughlin in stressing the importance of playing smart, tough and error-free football.
The 36-year-old former Packers quarterback coach didn't lay out much of his offense, in large part because the Giants (7-9) have so many question marks heading into next season. Much of his time on Thursday was spent with Coughlin and the other coaches on the revamped offensive staff, who will try to improve a team that ranked 28th in the NFL in both yards (307.5) and points per game (18.4) in 2013.
McAdoo has outstanding credentials, having worked with Packers coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay's offense was third in the league in yards a game (400.3) and tied for eighth in scoring (26.1 points).
Eli Manning is coming off a season in which he threw a career-high 27 interceptions. Running back David Wilson is returning from a neck injury. The line is old and banged up and receiver Hakeem Nicks is a free agent and might not be back.
"At this point we're starting to build what we're going to look like," McAdoo said. "Every offensive system is its own living, breathing organism. At the end of the day, you have to make sure you're flexible enough. It depends on what type of personnel you feed it to see what it's going to look like. It's a little early to know what we're going to look like right now."
McAdoo said the Giants would use some aspects of the West Coast offense, but not all. He probably will use more screen passes than Gilbride, try to expand the role of the tight end and demand that his running backs block for Manning.
The revised offense will be determined over the next few months and tweaked once the players and Manning start using it.
"Really as the offseason and training camp goes on, every offensive system tailors toward the strength of the starting quarterback, what he does well and he doesn't do well in the pass game," McAdoo said. "The runs are directly related to the runners. At the end of the day, your system is built around your personnel, not the other way around. "
This will be McAdoo's first job as an offensive coordinator, so he also will be learning.
"I'm confident. I've been groomed for this position," McAdoo said. "It's something that we train our coaches and our quarterbacks for. We've done it in Green Bay and it's something that I feel very confident about. I'm excited for the opportunity, but at the end of the day, play calling isn't just about one guy pulling plays out of a hat. It's the process that you go through during the week.
"A lot of it has to do with game planning and has to do with ranking plays in the plan. Everyone's involved with it, not just coaches, not just the head coach but the players as well."
McAdoo's believe he can change things with an offense that features Manning and receiver Victor Cruz.
"I know that the offense here in the past has had a ton of success," said McAdoo, who added players will start next season with a clean slate. "Last year they didn't play as well as they would have liked. At the same point in time, it's important for everyone to understand that we're going to move forward, we're going to learn from the past, and we're going to work so that doesn't happen again."
The biggest question mark for the Giants might be the offensive line. Right guard Chris Snee and center David Baas are coming off injuries. Left tackle Will Beatty broke a leg in the regular-season finale. Guard Kevin Boothe is a free agent and veteran David Diehl retired.
"When the door closes for someone, it opens for another," McAdoo said. "There are going to be plenty of guys lined up at the door to get a spot. We look forward to helping them improve and developing guys and seeing where we could take this thing."