McAdoo catches up with Pack; Beckham seeks catches
Giants coach Ben McAdoo will catch up with old friends when he returns to Lambeau Field.
Odell Beckham Jr. just wants to make more catches. Maybe Beckham will start making headlines again for his receiving talents when the Giants visit the Green Bay Packers tonight. This week, the chatter around the league concerning Beckham has mainly been about the wideout’s tantrums. McAdoo wants Beckham to channel that frustration into production .
“No, I like him as a salty, competitive player. That’s when he plays at his best,” McAdoo said.
That hasn’t been the case the last two weeks for the Giants, who lost to Washington on Sept. 25, and Minnesota on Monday night.
Now comes a quick turnaround for another tough road trip to face the rested Packers, who are coming off a Week 4 bye. McAdoo’s history with Green Bay offers a unique perspective on the matchup. McAdoo was an assistant coach for eight seasons under Packers coach Mike McCarthy, spending six years overseeing the tight ends and his final two years at Lambeau mentoring quarterback Aaron Rodgers. McAdoo moved on to the Giants in 2014 to become offensive coordinator before getting his first shot as a head coach this season.
McAdoo is still familiar with some of the Packers’ personnel, and what McCarthy likes to do. Likewise, some of the Giants’ offensive looks bear similarities to how the Packers operate.
“But you have to be good on yourself and scout on both ends and realize it’s been a few years since Ben was here,” Rodgers said. “We’ve changed some things around.”
What hasn’t changed is the appreciation that McCarthy and Rodgers had for McAdoo’s time in Green Bay. Expect McAdoo to receive some good-natured ribbing, too.
“He’s also famous for his layering — you know the short sleeves under long sleeves under short sleeves, always appreciate that about him,” Rodgers quipped. “He’s quick with a quip right back at you and they can be cutting.”
Other notes and things to watch tonight:
EYES ON ODELL
Maybe this is the game that Beckham starts having fun again. The star wideout at midweek said in an interview with ESPN that he was “not having fun anymore” with football.
But Beckham’s frustrations won’t have an impact on how the Packers prepare for the receiver, McCarthy said.
“We’re focusing on the video, what each player’s strengths are ... Just really focusing on their schemes,” he said. The Packers’ pass defense has been porous the last couple weeks without top cornerback Sam Shields (concussion), allowing career highs to receivers to Detroit’s Marvin Jones and Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs over the last two games.
Beckham isn’t the only threat in the receiving corps, with rookie Sterling Shepard and veteran Victor Cruz also off to good starts with quarterback Eli Manning.
The production, though, hasn’t translated into points. The Giants are sixth in total yardage and 27th in scoring. “That’s just turnovers and obviously had a few games (when) we got in the red zone and weren’t able to get enough touchdowns and turned the ball over down there,” Manning said. “We’ve got to hold on to the ball and we just have to finish the drives.”
AIR FORCE, PART 2
Packers receiver Jordy Nelson seems to be acclimating into the offense just fine after missing the 2015 season with a knee injury. He has four touchdown catches in the first three games, though Nelson’s timing with Rodgers really seemed to return in a 34-27 win over Detroit before the bye.
Nelson caught two scores in that game. Keep an eye on whether the Giants will have Eli Apple (hamstring) and Dominique RodgersCromartie (groin) available against the Packers after both cornerbacks missed the Vikings game. Otherwise, Nelson could have another big day.
The Packers had key defenders return to practice this week following a bye, including linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (groin). It should only strengthen a run defense spearheaded by lineman Mike Daniels that’s holding opponents to a league-best 42.7 yards per game. The Giants are rushing for 93.8 yards per game, 19th in the league, and the availability of RB Rashad Jennings because of a thumb injury has been in question.
While pass coverage has been a problem for the Packers, the defense is getting good pressure on quarterbacks. Green Bay has a deep rotation of edge rushers led by Matthews and veteran Julius Peppers.