When New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo welcomes his Giants players back from their two-day break, he will present them with a new game plan, a new motivational method and an important reminder.
Finish plays .
The Giants’ inability to finish plays on defense in their 31-21 loss to the 49ers Sunday was one of the major takeaways McAdoo collected from his anticipated review of the game tape, and it’s something he believes needs to change if this team is to win another game this season.
“We have the knowledge to do what we’re asking the players to do, we have the skillsets, we felt like we put a good plan in place,” he said during his conference call with reporters Monday evening. “We looked good in practice all week whether it was building the wall, setting the edge, and tracking the hip. Our alignment, gap control, eye discipline, we have the knowledge and skillsets to do that.
“The thing that was disappointing that showed up on film is the desire to finish on a consistent basis. There were plays we were capable of making and the desire to finish wasn’t consistent.”
McAdoo had a theory about why that was.
“It’s something that almost looks like at times we’re waiting for someone else to make a play instead of just pulling the trigger and making the play ourselves,” McAdoo said of the inconsistent effort. “I need to coach them better and we need to do it better.”
McAdoo didn’t name names and in fact went as far as to say that it wasn’t every play and not every player, but naturally, the conversation turned to the performance of cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who at times looked as interested to be out there playing against the 49ers as he might look watching grass grow.
“I think he got caught up on a big body there,” McAdoo said when asked about Jenkins failure to make a tackle on tight end Garret Celek’s 47-yard touchdown catch. “He needs to find a way to get the big body on the ground.”
When asked if he was okay with Jenkins’ overall effort, McAdoo said, “Like I said, there were some players in the ballgame who need to show a consistent desire to finish better. I think the post ball in the game on third down is a tough play and a tough spot for him to be in against a player who has tremendous speed. And they’re going to make some plays on you.
“He had an opportunity on third down where he slipped, he could have come up and had a chance to pick the ball off if he had his footing there, I expect him to make that play and pick the ball off. It was unfortunate there. There were some opportunities on some balls on the perimeter where his desire to finish consistently needs to show up and we need to get the guys on the ground. We need to tackle better as a defensive unit and he was a part of it.”
Jenkins, who last week spoke to the media after returning from suspension, didn’t offer much in the way of whether he and McAdoo buried the hatchet over the events that led to his suspension. McAdoo, who has always said that he has an open-door policy, was asked if he would pursue a player who appeared to have an issue or if he would let such a conversation develop organically.
“I try to make my way through the roster each and every week as best as I can,” he said. “You try to build relationships with these players as best as you can.”
Moving forward, McAdoo didn’t sound like a coach who was about to bench Jenkins or any other player guilty of not finishing plays consistently, for that matter.
“I’m determined to find a way to get it fixed,” he said of the team’s struggles. “That’s where my focus is. No one expected our record to be what it is at this point and us to be playing the type of football that we’re playing at this point. But we are, and we are what our record says we are, and the film reflects it. We need to find a way to improve.”