Giants' Ben McAdoo tries 'cross-coaching,' gets enthusiastic response from players

New York Giants second-year head coach Ben McAdoo, cognizant that he needs to find his mostly millennial players engaged, tried out something new recently, and it was given a thumbs-up by those players.

As reported by the New York Post, for meetings last Friday, McAdoo mixed things up in a major way, having the offensive linemen meet with defensive line coach Patrick Graham and the defensive linemen meet with O-line coach Mike Solari; the quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends met with the cornerbacks and safeties coaches, and the defensive backs met with the receivers coach and tight ends coach.

Soon, the running backs and linebackers will swap meeting rooms and coaches too.

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo talks to his team during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)

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“Out of nowhere they were like ‘Just meet with the offensive coaches’ and we just went there,’’ second-year cornerback Eli Apple said. “It gives you a different perspective of the offense and what they’re trying to accomplish. The more you can know what the offense is thinking, it makes your job a little easier too.’’

Defensive tackle Jay Bromley was admittedly skeptical when the meeting with Solari began, but after was glad for what McAdoo calls “cross-coaching.”

“It was definitely more interesting than I thought at first,’’ Bromley said. “I was like, ‘Man, we’re just wasting time, we don’t need to learn O-line,’ but while we were in the room, coaches did a great job of explaining it and allowing us to understand what they go through.’’

Entering his fourth season, Bromley said his best takeaway was that offensive linemen, when facing opponents with long arms, do what they can to make sure their opponents can’t extend those arms.

“Empathy” and “teach innovatively” are two of McAdoo’s coaching mantras, and cross-coaching covers both, he said.

“Having one side of the ball be able to understand what the other side of the ball is going through and what they’re being coached to do,’’ McAdoo said. “It also helps players get in a room and hear how the other side of the ball breaks them down fundamentally, the fundamentals that they’re being taught across the ball and then how they’re game-planning to beat the individual on the other side of the ball.

“It helps to hear how opponents are going to try to coach and beat you as a man, it helps you work on your weaknesses.’’

McAdoo added that players got so into the lessons they “had to be kicked out” of the building.