Giants’, Ea­gles’ coaches shar­ing rookie sto­ries

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Tom Canavan

Head­ing into their rookie sea­sons, the Ea­gles' Doug Ped­er­son and the Giants' Ben McA­doo knew there is a lot more to coach­ing than draw­ing up game plans, chang­ing per­son­nel and make those key late-game de­ci­sions.

Head­ing into their rookie sea­sons as NFL head coaches, Doug Ped­er­son of the Philadel­phia Ea­gles and Ben McA­doo of the New York Giants knew there is a lot more to it than draw­ing up game plans, chang­ing per­son­nel and make those key lategame de­ci­sions.

There is the non-foot­ball stuff, too. Both men have had to deal with that, even head­ing into this week’s game Sun­day.

The Ea­gles and Giants both go into the NFC East ri­valry game with 4-3 records, two games be­hind first-place Dal­las with nine games to go. The chance is there to get back to the play­offs.

Of course, they have to have to play bet­ter and avoid more in­juries. Then there is the other stuff.

Let’s start with McA­doo, the 39-year-old for­mer of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor who got the job when Tom Cough­lin left af­ter miss­ing the play­offs for a fourth straight year.

McA­doo has had to deal with Odell Beck­ham Jr.’s tantrums; the one-game sus­pen­sion of Josh Brown in the wake of a domestic abuse charge, and later his re­lease af­ter the kicker’s pro­longed his­tory of domestic vi­o­lence was dis­closed; and left tackle Ereck Flow­ers’ push­ing in­ci­dent with a re­porter af­ter a game in Green Bay.

“You knew go­ing in that there were go­ing to be dump­ster fires every day and you deal with them as they come,” McA­doo said. “A lot of things cross your desk that you don’t want to deal with, but it is part of the job and you han­dle it and you move on.

“You stay con­sis­tent, you stay in the mo­ment, and you keep ev­ery­one’s best in­ter­est in mind.”

Ped­er­son has had his share of prob­lems, the most re­cent the ar­rest of re­ceiver Josh Huff . He was charged Tues­day with pos­ses­sion of a hand­gun with­out a per­mit and hav­ing a small amount of mar­i­juana af­ter he was pulled over for speed­ing in New Jer­sey.

Ped­er­son spent al­most 11 min­utes Wed­nes­day an­swer­ing ques­tions about Huff and the ar­rest in­stead of talk­ing about the game with the Giants. Huff was re­leased on Thurs­day.

There was also Ea­gles linebacker Nigel Brad­ham, who faces a mis­de­meanor con­cealed weapons charge af­ter he was caught car­ry­ing a loaded gun at a Mi­ami air­port on Oct. 2.

“It’s kind of like you’re the fa­ther of your house. You just got to keep talk­ing to . your kids and just keep re­it­er­at­ing the im­por­tance of who you rep­re­sent, what you rep­re­sent, your fam­i­lies, the Philadel­phia Ea­gles, and you got to make smart choices,” Ped­er­son said. “It’s all about choices and con­se­quences in life. If you make bad choices, you’ve got to suf­fer the con­se­quences. So, we’ll just con­tinue to keep talk­ing about it.”

The coaches also are be­ing forced to be the face of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Giants man­age­ment has re­fused to talk to beat re­porters about the in­ci­dents, leav­ing McA­doo to be the voice of the fran­chise, just as Ped­er­son was this week for the Ea­gles.

It’s prob­a­bly not what they ex­pected when they de­cided to head into coach­ing.

Other things to watch Sun­day:

Safety Is­sues

The Giants hoped to come out of their bye week at full health, par­tic­u­larly at free safety. Nat Berhe (con­cus­sion) and Dar­ian Thomp­son (foot) were ex­pected back. Berhe was still in the pro­to­col and Thomp­son had a set­back Wed­nes­day. Ex­pect for­mer free agent An­drew Adams to make his fifth straight start.

Dink and Dunk

Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz com­pleted 32 passes for 202 yards against Dal­las, av­er­ag­ing 4.7 yards. He’s last in the NFL, av­er­ag­ing 4.97 yards per com­ple­tion. The only time the Ea­gles threw deep against the Cow­boys came when Huff caught a back­ward toss and fired down­field 30 yards to Jor­dan Matthews, who couldn’t make a tough catch.

They have only one of­fen­sive play for more than 30 yards in the past four games.

“We have to fig­ure out and find ways to get the ball, ob­vi­ously, down the field,” Ped­er­son said.

Last Car­ry­ing the Rock

If the Giants’ of­fense is go­ing to wake up, Eli Man­ning and the re­ceivers are go­ing to have to do the job. The run­ning game is last in the NFL, av­er­ag­ing 70.3 yards. In the pre­vi­ous four games, New York has gained 78, 43, 38 and 36 yards on 70 car­ries.

Rookie Paul Perkins may get more car­ries this week.

Com­mit­tee of Backs

Ped­er­son in­sists Ryan Mathews is the No. 1 back and he hasn’t lost con­fi­dence in him. The stats say oth­er­wise. Dar­ren Spro­les, the 33-year-old scat­back, led the Ea­gles with 86 yards rush­ing on 15 car­ries vs. Dal­las. Mathews, who fum­bled twice in the fourth quar­ter in the past four games, got only four car­ries.

Rookie Wen­dell Small­wood had a costly fum­ble on his only carry in the fourth quar­ter. Ken­jon Barner ran three times for 9 yards.

Tight Ends

Ea­gles tight ends have had ca­reer days against the Giants. Zach Ertz had nine catches for a ca­reer­high 152 yards in Jan­uary. How­ever, the Giants’ de­fense has im­proved this sea­son, par­tic­u­larly strong safety Lan­don Collins.

So don’t be sur­prised if Ertz is cov­ered. New York’s tight end have done lit­tle. Larry Don­nell fum­bled early two games ago and the group has not helped much in the run game. There is al­ways the chance New York goes ex­ten­sively with four wide­outs.

MATT DUN­HAM — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Giants head coach Ben McA­doo sur­veys field be­fore game against Rams in Lon­don.

CHRIS SZAGOLA — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ea­gles head coach Doug Ped­er­son talks with the of­fi­cials dur­ing game against the Vik­ings.

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