The beginning of OTA’s marked the first time that first-year Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is running things instead of serving as offensive coordinator.
“It is great,” said center Weston Richburg. “He is a guy that is going to stay consistent and I think he has, even though his title has changed. He brings a lot of excitement; as you can see, there is a lot of music and things going on out here that kind of keeps it up-tempo, but it has been great so far, a lot of energy from the guys and it has been fun.”
The relationship between McAdoo and veteran QB Eli Manning is a little different now. “He’s not in every meeting that we’re having, but he’s in there a decent amount of time and Coach Sullivan can handle a lot of things. He’s in there enough where if I have questions on plays that are coming in or certain checks or different things I want to do, he can still go through them. But Coach Sullivan is handling more of the offensive meeting than what it was last year.”
With McAdoo as the offensive coordinator in 2015, Manning threw for over 4,400 yards and 35 touchdowns. The new offensive coordinator is Mike Sullivan who is familiar to Manning. Sullivan was the Giants Wide Receivers coach from 2004-09 and then served as Quarterbacks coach from 2010-11. After leaving New York, Sullivan returned as QB coach in 2015.
Now McAdoo has branched out to the other side of the ball and has what he calls the “LT” period. “The game is about the ball,” McAdoo said. “The game is about blocking and tackling and the more we can do to emphasize those three things, it’s more important. In those three areas, this organization has a lot of rich tradition in each of those three areas. Putting names to the periods, putting a face with the period and with ball security and with tackling and with blocking, I think it hits home with players.”
Although the games are what fans remember, it’s all a result of what happens in the camps before the season begins. “The objectives from OTA’s is really learning and improving,” McAdoo said. “You want to develop the fundamentals as best you can without pads on, work on communication – detail our communication there. Guys are really jockeying for position as far as where it goes for reps in training camp and the preseason games, whether they’re available or accountable and understanding when we get to training camp, it’s about building the team and it’s about competing for jobs. It’s more about learning right now and improving.”
The first day also featured an Eli vs. Eli matchup of sorts. First-round pick Eli Apple was with the starters on defense as he tried to cause problems for the offense. Apple will be well prepared for anybody he faces in the regular season after seeing Odell Beckham Jr. in training camp. “It was interesting, for sure,” Apple said. “He runs his routes well. He’s a fast guy. It was fun going against him. They didn’t throw the ball his way when I was going against him, but you can tell with his explosiveness and how he gets out of his breaks. It’s impressive.”
Despite being a first-round pick, Apple did not catch Manning’s eye. “That wasn’t the intention,” Manning said. “That’s just the way sometimes what the plays and coverages are and going through my progressions. I’m not trying to go at a certain guy. Right now it’s just day one of OTA’s. We’re not going after matchups and picking on guys. We’re just working on the basics and going through your progressions.”
Coach McAdoo had Apple with the starters but will hold off on further evaluations until reviewing tape. “What we’re starting with right now is we’re throwing guys out there to give them a chance to compete somewhat in OTA’s. We’ve got to be smart using the word ‘compete’ but a chance to develop and a chance to improve. We’ll see more when we get a chance to look at the tape.”