Thursday, January 16, 2014
Big Blue Morning: New guy takes charge
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
It feels obvious to say that a new offensive coordinator is going to be in charge of the offense. But if the first act of the New York Giants' new offensive coordinator is to fire tight ends coach Mike Pope, that tells you the new guy is in charge of the offense. Within a matter of hours of hiring former Packers assistant coach Ben McAdoo as their new offensive coordinator, the Giants announced Wednesday that Pope and running backs coach Jerald Ingram had been let go.
Pope has been a Giants coach long enough to have his name on all four of the franchise's Lombardi trophies. If he's not safe, then no one is. He's the only coach Tom Coughlin retained from the staff that was in place when Coughlin became the team's head coach in 2004. In recent seasons, the Giants have cited Pope's abilities as a reason they feel confident turning over the starting tight end spot every year with the most cost-effective alternative. The organization loves the guy.
So it seems clear that McAdoo has other ideas about who should fill that role on his staff, and that Coughlin is allowing his new coordinator to bring in certain of his own people, as he should. It's actually a bit surprising that more offensive assistants weren't let go, to be honest, but it's possible that McAdoo only asked for two spots to fill on his own or that Coughlin insisted others be kept. Regardless, the removal of Pope clearly indicates that McAdoo will wield a measure of standard offensive-coordinator power in spite of being the new guy in an organization that doesn't always welcome change.
The big question about McAdoo is whether he can actually run an offense, because he never has. He's never been a coordinator and never called plays. Obviously, the Giants think enough of his talents that they believe he'll be able to pull it off. And given the number of interviews McAdoo had and was planning to have before the Giants hired him Tuesday night, they're not the only ones who believe that. Making sure everyone knows he's the man clearly in charge of the offense is a good way to show support of and belief in your new coach, and the Giants are wise to do that. Allowing him to make a change as significant as removing Pope sends that message, loud and clear.