Head Coach Ben McAdoo
May 23, 2016
Q: General impressions on how the team looked and how your day went?
A: We’ve been building up through phase two to get ready for today. Obviously, mechanically we need to clean some things up - too many pre-snap penalties today. The defense was flying around pretty good, playing with some good energy and emotion. They had a good day today. No turnovers – that’s always encouraging from the offensive side, but from the defensive side you want to get the ball out.
Q: Now that you’re in OTA’s now, is there something specific you’re looking to take from it?
A: The objectives from OTA’s is really learning and improving. 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.
Q: How do you make those individual assessments right now, or is it too early?
A: The preseason games are the most important. Training camp padded practices are second. But everything counts. We’re evaluating everything with these guys and every day counts, every meeting counts, every practice session helps. You need to be cautious evaluating players when they’re just running around in their underwear.
Q: You had Eli Apple out with the starting group. What did you see from him?
A: We’ll go in and we’ll take a look at the tape. We’re not going to rush to any evaluations on guys. 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.
Q: How does this OTA as a head coach compare with previous OTA’s as the offensive coordinator?
A: My focus is more big picture than it is just looking at the offensive side of the ball. Spending my time with the special teams and jumping around to each individual position, spending some time with the tackling drills early in the LT period and ball security.
Q: Do you believe in a pecking order where veterans take priority or do you put guys where you think they are right away?
A: You used to believe that way. The offseason got a lot shorter and I think you need to be aggressive with young players and put them out there and see what they can do and see how they handle being in a pressure situation and see if they’ll respond. Again, where we’re at now is just the ground floor.
Q: You said they used to have more time in the offseason?
A: You used to have a lot more time in the offseason. You used to have five more weeks, I believe it was, in the offseason. Training camp used to be a lot longer and you used to get on the field a bunch more in training camp than you (do) now. I think you may have to push some guys into some situations that are uncomfortable and find out who’s comfortable being uncomfortable.
Q: Before you could just put the veteran up there and see how it plays out?
A: See how it shakes out.
Q: What’s the thinking behind naming it the LT period?
A: The game is about the ball. 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.
Q: Does it still feel like a lot of firsts for you, or are you past that in your mental approach?
A: I’m over it.
Q: Did Sterling Shepard work exclusively with the second group?
A: He was sprinkled in, whether it was in the jog-through or team periods, with the ones a little bit and I believe he had a rep or two with the threes. We’re using all of those guys. We roll receivers in. You want to make sure they get a taste with each group there, the young guys especially.
Q: What did you see from him?
A: He just got back. He missed the end of last week. He was at the rookie premier, which is obviously necessary for our business now. He’s made a good impression. He’s conscientious in the classroom and he’s a guy that’s learning out here on the field. They have to be able to take what they learn in the classroom and get it to translate on the field and that’s what he’s working to do right now.
Q: How much of a challenge is it going to be for Paul Perkins because he can’t be here until mini camp?
A: It’s going to be tough for Paul. He’s a smart, conscientious young man. He’s out there working at it. I know he wants to be here. He’s chomping at the bit, but he’s got to take care of his business out in California and when he gets the chance to get back here, I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.
Q: It’s still in the voluntary phase, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn’t here today.
A: DRC wasn’t able to make it today. We look forward to getting him back here as soon as we can.
Q: Do you expect to have him here this week?
A: It’s a voluntary opportunity, OTA’s. If he’s here, we’ll coach him. If he’s not, we wish him nothing but the best.
Q: Have you heard from him?
A: Like I said, this is a voluntary camp. We want all of our guys here. We feel it’s important to developing the team and building fundamentals and working on communication and we can’t wait to get DRC back.
Q: With the emphasis placed on defense, are you starting to see the group coming together?
A: It’s early. It’s early right now and it takes time. You have to go through something together to build that type of camaraderie that we’re looking for. It takes time. We have to go through something together for that to happen and we’re not going to rush it. It takes time.
Q: Victor Cruz didn’t participate much in the drills. Is that part of the plan?
A: Right now, we’re looking for him to get back here and he’s working to get back to training camp. Small steps.
Q: How do you envision using Will Johnson? Is he a fullback, a tight end or both?
Q: What was it about him that made you bring him in?
A: We like Will. We feel he has some versatility on offense and special teams and he’s been a good addition so far.
Q: With the way you built up the defensive line, are Nikita Whitlock’s pass rushing days behind him?
A: I’m not going to answer any questions that are related to personnel and scheme right now. That doesn’t help anybody here.
Q: Nat Berhe stepped in with the first team defense. What have you seen from him?
A: I think, like the rest of the guys, it’s his second year in the system and I think it’s coming a little bit easier for him. They’re communicating well back there and he looks good right now.
Q: What are your impressions of Victor Cruz? He made his reputation before you got here.
A: Before he went down in 2014, he was really taking ownership of the offense. He was starting to come along and the thinking was disappearing for him. It’s a shame the injury happened and right now we’re looking for him to get back out here.
Q: Jason Pierre-Paul picked off Eli at one point during the walk-thru, and even though Eli just lobbed the ball, what do you think of that?
A: Nice catch.
Q: You seem comfortable in this role. Did you talk to any of your former head coaches like Coughlin or McCarthy before today started?
A: I’ve been doing this my whole life. This is an opportunity that I dreamed of and I’m just out here attacking the job.