The New York Football Giants made great strides in Ben McAdoo’s first season as head coach last year, finishing 11-5 and qualifying for the postseason for the first time since winning Super Bowl XLVI. It was a successful season by all accounts, ending a three-year losing streak and giving hope to the fans for the foreseeable future.
But they left a lot on the table, logging in a disappointing effort against the Packers in Green Bay int he Wild Card round. As his team assembled for the beginning of their offseason program on Tuesday, McAdoo addressed his returning troops with a similar message that Bill Parcells delivered to his team back in 1986.
McAdoo wants the Giants to remember the humiliation and hurt they experienced in that playoff loss just like Parcells did with the Giants’ 1985 Divisional round loss to the Chicago Bears. He wants that to the flame that ignites this team and gets them to the next level.
“He definitely still wants that to be an image in our head, showing us that,” wide receiver Sterling Shepard said Tuesday night at an event in NYC as per Tom Rock of Newsday. “We’ve got to kind of put that in the rear view and move on from it too. It’s a balance. You kind of want to keep it in your head but keep it in the back, too.”
“We definitely have that bad taste in our mouth from the last game,” defensive end Romeo Okwara said at the same event as Shepard. “Had a lot of time to think about it. It’s nice to get back with the team and get back to work.”
McAdoo is constantly striving for improvement and he immediately went to work on ways to do that after the Giants’ season ended in early January. He is fully aware of the backslide his offense took in 2016 and pretty much gave GM Jerry Reese and his staff a shopping list of players he would like.
“We kept a running list of things if we had to do them again we’d do better,” McAdoo said at the NFL owners meetings in March. “In the offseason alone, there were over 100 things. And we’re not talking scheme here, not talking offense, defense, special teams. We’re just talking as a program, things that can get better.”
The Giants obviously need to score more on offense. They moved the ball well but gutted bogged down way too often in the red zone. Reese added four big pieces in free agency this year: WR Brandon Marshall, OL D.J. Fluker, RB Shaun Draughn and TE Rhett Ellison, four players that will help them improve in what former head coach Tom Coughlin calls the “green zone”.
They are expected to add even more pieces in the NFL Draft next week but McAdoo wants all who experienced the pain of the loss to Green Bay to channel that failure and use it to achieve success this season and beyond.
John Fennelly has been covering the New York Football Giants on the Internet since 1997. He has been published on dozens of prominent websites and in major periodicals and has been heard on sports talk radio stations all over the dial. Before embarking on his career as an accredited NFL journalist, John held several management positions in a successful 25-year career in the financial industry. Follow on Twitter: @John_Fennelly