New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo is not just trying to survive the most arduous week of his professional career. He's trying to turn it into an advantage.
After losing wideouts Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall for the season, after dealing with the blowback he faced for suspending the popular cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (maybe his best pass defender this season), after ruling out his best remaining receiver (Sterling Shepard) for Sunday's game against the stout Denver Broncos and arguably his best offensive lineman (Weston Richburg), McAdoo faced reporters with resolve on Friday.
Anyone familiar with this page in the Coaching 101 handbook can pretty much see where this is going.
"We've got a great opportunity. There's nobody giving us a chance in hell to go win this ball game," McAdoo said, via The Record and NorthJersey.com. "People don't think we can score without 13 [Odell Beckham]. They think our defense has lost its stinger. Special teams isn't important in the whole locker room. So we're gonna find out what we're made out of on a big stage. And I think we have a good football team."
If McAdoo can salvage this season and flash some positives, I think it will go a long way toward impressing the typically pragmatic Giants management group. Owner John Mara did not rattle his fist when the Tom Coughlin-led Giants fell into an 0-6 hole back in 2013 and probably won't in 2017 if the Giants do the same.
That year, Coughlin extended himself to the limit. He empowered his leadership council, searched high and low for inspiration and ended up finishing the season 7-9. It may have been one of his finest half-season stretches with the team.
McAdoo could find a bubble of sanity by approaching the last 11 games in a similar way. Expectations are almost nonexistent. Those who have written McAdoo off have already done so, anyway. Playing well against the Broncos would go a long way toward convincing fans that the near future isn't as bad as it seems. Challenging his players and staff is McAdoo's motivational ploy of choice.