Moment of truth for McAdoo

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. Photo: William Hauser/USA Today Sports

In the NFL, Week 2 becomes a must-win game for an 0-1 team.

A loss would mean 0-2, and it could fester to 0-3 or 0-4 with winning being hard and losing being easy. Teams that are 0-2 have a hard time making the playoffs 90 percent of the time.

This is the burden the Giants have to deal with heading to their Monday night matchup against the Detroit Lions in their home opener. The last thing they want is to hear fans boo them on national television with the team having Super Bowl expectations.

The spotlight focuses on second-year Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. Not only he has to rally his players to bounce back from an awful 19-3 season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but he has to get his offense started after an inept performance this past Sunday night.

We still don’t know what McAdoo is as coach despite the local media’s coronation of him as the next Vince Lombardi because he sounds smart and he is a football junkie. Yes, he won 11 games last year in his first year as the Giants head coach, but his team flamed out against the Packers in the wild-card round, and his offense was terrible the entire season. If Odell Beckham Jr. did not play like the dynamic playmaker he is, the Giants would have missed the playoffs.

The Giants fans don’t have an opinion of McAdoo. They are not going to judge him after one season. They want him to sustain his success, not to mention responding to adversity.

McAdoo is facing his first crisis as coach. That’s what happens when there are expectations and standards that have to be met. No one signed up for the Giants being 0-1 while putting on a poor display of football.

We will find out about the second-year Giants head coach on Monday night. It was easy to coach last year when he never had any crisis. He had no expectations, and the Giants were winning. The second year is always the hard part for a relatively new coach since he has to either sustain his success or improve from an awful season. In McAdoo’s case, he has to show improvement as coach.

He can start by making the offense much better. There’s no excuse for Eli Manning to be struggling, and there’s no reason for the Giants wide receivers, most notably Brandon Marshall, not be involved on offense. The Giants may not have the playmakers to be an elite team, but it’s on him to make them better and get them involved. After all, his expertise is offense, right?

He also has to figure out the offensive line. Either he has to coach them better or he has to find ways to put other guys in a position to succeed by putting them in different slots. He can’t be riding the same guys again after a horrible performance against the Cowboys that contributed to Manning not having time to throw the football.

McAdoo has to lead. Too often, he appears like a coach that is clueless on sidelines. He comes off as a head coach that is coaching a team that is on autopilot rather than doing something and making adjustments during the game. It was inexcusable that he could not figure out what to do with the offense with Beckham not playing Sunday night. It was like he expected his wide receiver to play through his ankle injury, and when he couldn’t play, the coach had no idea what to do. This is not what the Giants are paying him to do as a head coach.

He failed on Sunday for having his team unprepared. It seemed like the Giants thought this game would be easy against the Cowboys. It was like the Cowboys wanted it more than the Giants. The Giants knew they had to match the Cowboys’ intensity with the idea they want to avenge being swept by their NFC East nemesis. They played like they were not ready to play with missed assignments by the offensive line and the wide receivers not being in sync with Manning.

One loss is nothing to be upset about. It happens with anything can happen on Opening Week. Now, it’s on McAdoo to make sure this does not go out of control. It starts and ends with him. He is the head coach. He oversees everything, and if he wants to be an offensive coordinator and coach, then he is fair game in being on the spotlight.

Monday night will be a true test of who McAdoo is. This is where he is being counted on for leadership. This is where he earns his money.

It’s been easy for him so far, but honeymoons never last forever with coaches since fans expect more.

That’s the way it goes when coaches sign up for the job. He knew this going in when he took the Giants job.

It’s time for the former Packers offensive coordinator to show what he’s got.

His credibility depends on it.

 

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