The revamped weight room, new strength and conditioning program, shortened side fields and the seemingly endless stream of music at New York Giants practices this spring were just the beginning. New coach Ben McAdoo will continue to put his stamp on the organization at training camp this summer, and it will extend into the season when he institutes a new daily schedule.
McAdoo, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach to replace Tom Coughlin earlier this year, is putting his mark on a team that is trying to rebound from three consecutive losing seasons and four playoff-less years. The next phase will be changes to the way training camp operates, both on the field and in meeting rooms.
The Giants will increase the number of daily meetings so players can better digest new material. In the process, they will decrease the length of each meeting. McAdoo and his staff will also put an increased emphasis on remaining healthy, something they’ve stressed since taking over in January. It will be evident during drills designed specifically to stress fundamentals and physicality while limiting the risk of injury.
The Giants have been the most injured team in the NFL three years running, according to Football Outsiders.
So gone are some of the ways that Coughlin conducted business during an unequivocally successful 12-year run that bore two Super Bowl titles. The veteran head coach made changes to his training camp routine in recent years -- specifically in an attempt to limit injuries -- but it didn’t produce the intended results. The Giants were down four safeties, their starting left tackle, a star wide receiver and starting middle linebacker before last year's regular-season opener in Dallas.
Like most of the NFL, the Giants used GPS monitors in an attempt to embrace sports science. They even had a “halftime” break the previous two years in the middle of practice where players would head inside for a five-minute hydration period that would’ve made a younger, stricter Coughlin nauseated. But it begrudgingly became common practice in East Rutherford regardless of that day's temperature.
McAdoo’s first training camp as head coach will consist of 13 summer practices that wrap on Aug. 15. Veterans with more than five years’ experience will check out of the team hotel on Aug. 16. Everyone else will remain until Aug. 21.
The Giants will begin this year with three straight days of work before a day without practice. They had four practices last year before a day off. It's another minor but maybe significant trend throughout the summer.
Giants training camp last year was longer and different. It consisted of 17 practices, before wrapping much later on Aug. 27. Coughlin also held the workouts in the afternoon (mostly at 2:30 p.m. and some even beginning as late as 5:50 p.m.). Most of this year’s practices under McAdoo will begin at 10:40 a.m.
The way McAdoo has scheduled meetings plays greatly into this change. The Giants will hold three “install” meetings per day instead of two. These are the classroom sessions where players are first introduced to plays. They’re later asked to take this information to the field.
The coordinators (offensive, defense and special teams) will handle the first installation meeting at night. The position coaches will follow up and handle questions in the morning after the players had time to digest the new information.
The hope is this approach will best prepare the Giants’ players for practice before a meeting in the afternoon where they will review what unfolded on the field. This new approach by McAdoo could be geared toward teaching millennials, who are thought to learn and absorb information more effectively in shorter bursts. Coughlin and his staff -- which included McAdoo the past two years -- have admittedly spent time in previous offseasons studying millennials. This is McAdoo’s first opportunity to apply his thinking and beliefs on a broader scale across the entire team.
It’s not the only change to expect this summer at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The Giants will also have full-padded half-line running drills, with the goal to stress fundamentals and physicality while minimizing the risk of players getting rolled up from the back side. Again, the emphasis is on smaller, more focused groups and limiting injuries.
The Giants made it through the spring relatively healthy. They’re hoping to do the same this summer. After the way everything unfolded the past few years, they're hoping to become a better team this summer, in part because of some of changes McAdoo is implementing for his first training camp as a head coach.