G-Men ad­just to life af­ter McAdoo

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Greg John­son gjohn­[email protected]­to­nian.com @greg­p_j on Twit­ter

EAST RUTHER­FORD » Steve Spag­n­uolo set the tone for his ten­ure as in­terim head coach by blar­ing “That’s Life,” a song by Frank Si­na­tra, when the Giants stretched at the start of prac­tice shortly af­ter noon Wed­nes­day.

Once the song fin­ished, Spag­n­uolo switched back to the hip hop mu­sic that typ­i­cally pierces the air at the Quest Di­ag­nos­tics Train­ing Cen­ter.

“I just wanted to see if the play­ers would know who that was,” Spag­n­uolo said with a smile. “Some did not. My dad used to play Frank Si­na­tra ev­ery Sun­day morn­ing when we came back from church. It was great. So, I en­joy it. Now, it shifted real quick, didn’t it?”

Ev­ery­thing has shifted quickly in the last few days for the Giants. The play­ers said that they weren’t privy to Mon­day morn­ing’s fir­ings of head coach Ben McAdoo and gen­eral man­ager Jerry Reese through any of­fi­cial email or other line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the front of­fice.

They had to check their smart­phones and turn on their tele­vi­sions like the rest of the world.

“We heard the news from ESPN, so­cial me­dia,” de­fen­sive tackle Jay Brom­ley said. “The sched­ule changed a lit­tle bit, got here a lit­tle bit ear­lier. We all got a chance to meet coach Spags. And it was kind of like, we ab­sorbed that hit and now we’ve got to move for­ward. We’ve got a game (com­ing up).”

Spag­n­uolo, who has been the Giants’ de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor since 2015, is al­ter­ing the Giants’ prac­tice sched­ule in a way that will give the play­ers more rest Satur­day be­fore a Sun­day game.

Un­der McAdoo, the team held a “re­cov­ery day” on Fri­day and then prac­tice on Satur­day at 80 per­cent in­ten­sity. Spag­n­uolo will hold stan­dard prac­tices Fri­day fol­lowed by a walk­through Satur­day, which is how most NFL teams op­er­ate. The Giants have not done so since the 2014 sea­son un­der Tom Cough­lin, who then changed the rou­tine in his fi­nal year.

New York (2-10) has four games re­main­ing be­gin­ning Sun­day at home against Dal­las.

“We just felt at this time of the sea­son, re­ally third down and red zone are re­ally, re­ally im­por­tant — win­ning those ar­eas — and you got to win them both of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively,” Spag­n­uolo said. “So what that sched­ule does is it gives us an op­por­tu­nity to do more third down on Thurs­day and then ex­tend more red zone on Fri­day. It’s a sched­ule I’m real fa­mil­iar with and I think it’ll help us in the up­com­ing games.”

Spag­n­uolo called it a “rough 60 hours” since the Giants left Oak­land on Sun­day af­ter the 24-17 loss. He be­gan his first press con­fer­ence by pub­licly thank­ing McAdoo and con­vey­ing how “hard” it was to stand in his po­si­tion know­ing he let McAdoo down dur­ing the team-wide fail­ure this sea­son.

Spag­n­uolo, who was the Rams’ head coach from 2009-11, also said he hopes “re­store Gi­ant pride” with wins this month. Co-owner John Mara has said he will be a can­di­date for the full-time po­si­tion af­ter the sea­son.

“I’m honored that own­er­ship asked me to do this,” Spag­n­uolo said. “I will give it ev­ery ounce of en­ergy that I have out of re­spect for this or­ga­ni­za­tion, and I’ll give ev­ery ounce of en­ergy to help unite, re­store and win foot­ball games. That’ll be the goal.”

Spag­n­uolo said he will re­main heav­ily in­volved with the de­fense and game plan­ning. Safeties coach Dave Mer­ritt will step in when Spag­n­uolo be­comes oc­cu­pied with head coach du­ties. They will wait un­til Sun­day to de­cide who calls the de­fen­sive plays.

Vet­eran cor­ner­back Do­minique Rodgers-Cro­mar­tie raved about the 57-year-old Spag­n­uolo’s pas­sion for the game and how it brings out the best in play­ers, but said see­ing McAdoo go mid­sea­son still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

Sec­ond-year safety An­drew Adams said he texted McAdoo on Tues­day, wish­ing him well and thank­ing him for ev­ery­thing he has done for his ca­reer.

“For the most part, man, I think guys were shocked,” Rodgers-Cro­mar­tie said. “To hap­pen like this late in the sea­son, you kind of want to see guys fin­ish it out. But at the end of the day that de­ci­sion was made and you’ve got to live with it.”


Giants in­terim head coach Steve Spag­n­uolo ob­serves dur­ing prac­tice Wed­nes­day.

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