Al Thompson
Former Council Rock-South star Justin Pugh was outstanding against Denver helping Big Blue win its first game of the season. Photo by Andy Lewis /

When the team you coach is 0-5, you’ve lost several top players to injury and a few more because you simply lost them mentally, it’s time for change or it’s you the owner’s will change.

Giants second year coach Ben McAdoo is no dummy. It was time for change.

McAdoo had been the offensive coordinator since his first year in New York in 2014.

Sunday night in Denver he handed that duty over to his current coordinator Mike Sullivan and it was an effective decision as the Giants kept it simple in their 23-10 win over the Broncos.

“I felt with the things that were taking place last week, that I needed to delegate playcalling duty to Sully,” McAdoo said on a conference call. “I think he did a tremendous job sticking to the plan during the ballgame, and sticking with the run and putting us in position to win the ballgame. And I felt like during the course of the week, I needed to make sure that I was here for the entire football team and this organization anyway that I could be. We talk about doing what’s best for the team, and what was best for the team last week was for me to give up play calling duties. And yes, the head coach needs to be available for his team each and every week.”

He also made some changes on the offensive line putting Justin Pugh at right tackle, 345 pound D.J. Fluker at right guard and left Brett Jones at center and committed to the run.

That worked as well as the Giants played their best game of the season, but perhaps none was as important as the revitalized rushing attack, which generated 148 yards, including a career-high 117 by Orleans Darkwa. Sullivan called for a season-high 32 runs, and the Giants churned through a Denver defense that had allowed an NFL-low 50.3 yards per game on the ground.

The players, including Jason Pierre-Paul, we impressed.

“I think the team was well-balanced, especially the offense,” said Pierre-Paul, who tied his career high with three sacks. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. Odell (Beckham) is a great player. Brandon Marshall is a great player. (Sterling) Shep(ard) is out. Dwayne (Harris) is a great player, but I feel like it was balanced like you don’t know what you’re going to get, so you got to play all of those guys. It’s not just one guy and I think they did a pretty good job.”

Quarterback Eli Manning, who was 11 of 19 for 128 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, was glad to be in a supporting role and talked about the changes McAdoo had given him a heads up on.

“He told me earlier in the week that Sully was going to call the plays,” said Manning, who was sacked three times. “So no different for me. I’m used to hearing coach Sullivan in my ear. He calls them all the time at practice, through training camp. Every day at practice he calls them over the headset. So I’m used to hearing how he calls them. Had conversations with him earlier in the week, and still knew we were going to have to grind it out a little bit on the run. It might not be totally pretty, but had some opportunities, had some good plays and guys made some nice adjustments.”

Pugh was not going to throw any red meat out there just rolled with it saying he didn’t notice anything different except that he was playing tackle.

“It’s tough to say,” said Pugh, who kept Broncos All Pro defensive end Von Miller in check all night. “We talk a bunch during the week, so you kind of know what plays are coming, what plays we like that we’re going to call early on. Some things are definitely going to get called. So I thought he did a good job sticking with the run and knew it was going to be that game. Got a little lead and staying with it. I know as a coordinator, as a quarterback, you want to throw it, they’re playing a lot of man to man some zero. You want to take a shot, but just with the way things were going and the matchups and the way our defense was going, it was best just to stick with it and play conservative.”

McAddoo was asked if Sullivan will again call the plays when the Giants host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

“I’m never going to jump on here and tell you who’s playing where and who’s calling the plays,” he said. “But you can write about what you want.”

Note: On suspended Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s situation, McAdoo said, “I’ll visit with DRC a little bit later in the week, and we’ll sit down and have a conversation and see where we are.”

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii


17 Oct 17 - Football, NFL - Al Thompson - No Comments