Coach McAdoo called for the importance of returning to action this week in a conference that somehow became Ben’s Book Club.
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New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo labeled anonymous criticism within the Giants locker room “fake news” when meeting with reporters on Friday afternoon at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Referencing the report by ESPN’s Josina Anderson, who claimed to have a couple of Giants defensive players tell her that McAdoo has “lost the team”, McAdoo was mentioning how this weekend’s Sunday showdown against the San Francisco 49ers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX) will help his team when he used the term popularized by President Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign.
“I think they’re excited to go play, excited to go get back on the field,” McAdoo said. “When you have a setback like we did last week and some fake news, I guess you could all it, like we had this week, some drama, I think it’s good to go out and play the game you love to play.”
Asked why he would use the term to describe the report, McAdoo cited the anonymous nature. ” I’m saying it’s anonymous,” he said. “No names behind it.” Told there was a difference between anonymity and falsehood, McAdoo replied: “I’ll let you define it for me.”
McAdoo also acknowledged the players that came to his defense yesterday, as several prominent Giants gave McAdoo a public vote of confidence.
“We can handle it, we’re strong,” McAdoo said. “You saw how the players responded in the locker room yesterday, I thought they did a great job.”
It was part of an unusual press conference for the head coach, his last public statements before the Giants (1-7) depart for California to take on the equally woebegone 49ers (0-9). Held in a hallway at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, the conference began with one reporter comparing McAdoo to Jay Leno as he stood in as a spotlighted center, with the coach replying “Without the personality” with a smirk.
The appearance also unpredictably ended with McAdoo reading off a list of his favorite books, prompted by a question about his use of literature to motivate his team. For example, at the start of training camp, McAdoo issued the Rudyard Kipling poem If… to his younger players, labeling them as “If… Guys” in an earlier conference this week.
“As we all know, the commute in the Northeast can get interesting,” McAdoo said. “I have a chance to listen to a lot of things on my way to and from work and I get a lot of my ideas there.”
As for the second-year head coach’s favorite book?
“My favorite book, some guys here know, is The Subtle Art of Not Giving A…and I’ll let you fill in the blank.” McAdoo was referring to The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F***: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, a humorous, hard-swearing self-help guide written by Internet blogger Mark Manson. McAdoo also cited Meg Meeker’s Strong Father, Strong Daughter, Donald’ Sull’s Simple Rules, Timothy Ferriss’s Tools of Titans and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers as other favorites. Currently, McAdoo says he’s engrossed in The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, a self-help book dealing with self-doubt.
In between the Leno comparisons and Ben’s Book Club, McAdoo did address the upcoming contest against the 49ers. Seconds before the conference, it was revealed that three Giants linebackers would be ruled out for Sunday, including B.J. Goodson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quad) and Keenan Robinson (quad). He expressed that Kelvin Sheppard, a recent signee who had 50 tackles with the Giants last season, would be getting “an opportunity”. Questionable on the injury list were defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck). Both of the prominent defenders have been out for an extended stretch, but McAdoo reported each was “making progress”.
“One thing we always take a look at are soft tissue injuries, that’s a big part of it,” McAdoo replied when asked why this year’s injury reports feel longer than last year’s. “We feel we have a lot of control over that, whether it’s the players hydrating, whether it’s how we practice, the duration of practice, the off days, the on days, those types of things. The other stuff is just football.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490