Rookie head coaches square off in Eagles-Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Heading into their rookie seasons as NFL head coaches, Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles and Ben McAdoo of the New York Giants knew there is a lot more to it than drawing up game plans, changing personnel and make those key late-game decisions.
There is the non-football stuff, too. Both men have had to deal with that, even heading into this week’s game Sunday.
The Eagles and Giants both go into the NFC East rivalry game with 4-3 records, two games behind first-place Dallas with nine games to go. The chance is there to get back to the playoffs.
Of course, they have to have to play better and avoid more injuries. Then there is the other stuff.
Let’s start with McAdoo, the 39-year-old former offensive coordinator who got the job when Tom Coughlin left after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight year.
McAdoo has had to deal with Odell Beckham Jr.’s tantrums; the one-game suspension of Josh Brown in the wake of a domestic abuse charge, and later his release after the kicker’s prolonged history of domestic violence was disclosed; and left tackle Ereck Flowers’ pushing incident with a reporter after a game in Green Bay.
“You knew going in that there were going to be dumpster fires every day and you deal with them as they come,” McAdoo said. “A lot of things cross your desk that you don’t want to deal with, but it is part of the job and you handle it and you move on. You stay consistent, you stay in the moment, and you keep everyone’s best interest in mind.”
Pederson has had his share of problems, the most recent the arrest of receiver Josh Huff . He was charged Tuesday with possession of a handgun without a permit and having a small amount of marijuana after he was pulled over for speeding in New Jersey.
Pederson spent almost 11 minutes Wednesday answering questions about Huff and the arrest instead of talking about the game with the Giants. Huff was released on Thursday.
There was also Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham, who faces a misdemeanor concealed weapons charge after he was caught carrying a loaded gun at a Miami airport on Oct. 2.
“It’s kind of like you’re the father of your house. You just got to keep talking to . your kids and just keep reiterating the importance of who you represent, what you represent, your families, the Philadelphia Eagles, and you got to make smart choices,” Pederson said. “It’s all about choices and consequences in life. If you make bad choices, you’ve got to suffer the consequences. So, we’ll just continue to keep talking about it.”
The coaches also are being forced to be the face of the organization. Giants management has refused to talk to beat reporters about the incidents, leaving McAdoo to be the voice of the franchise, just as Pederson was this week for the Eagles.
It’s probably not what they expected when they decided to head into coaching.
Other things to watch Sunday:
The Giants hoped to come out of their bye week at full health, particularly at free safety. Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot) were expected back. Berhe was still in the protocol and Thompson had a setback Wednesday.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is last in the NFL, averaging 4.97 yards. “We have to figure out and find ways to get the ball.”