Andre Johnson was hellbent on not retiring after the Indianapolis Colts released him last month, and now he’s found a new home with another AFC South squad.
The Tennessee Titans signed Johnson to a two-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, ensuring the 13-year veteran will receive at least another shot to play in the NFL. Johnson, 35, recorded a career-low 41 receptions and only 503 yards last season. He caught more than four passes in a game only once and was shutout on three occasions.
Prior to the 2016 campaign, the Colts viewed Johnson as a productive veteran who was ready to mentor the younger wide receivers on the roster. But it didn’t work out that way, as Donte Moncrief emerged as the clear No. 2 option behind T.Y. Hilton, leaving Johnson in the dust.
And McAdoo somehow managed to shoot upward from there.
Players like Justin Pugh (a fourth-year guard) look bigger, stronger and in the best shape of their careers. Pugh was virtuoso in the way he communicated his hopes for the season, in the clarity he effused about the Giants offensive line building camaraderie and cohesion, about how the offense should be faster and sleeker, about how the defense is re-energized and stouter. You could have flipped back and forth between McAdoo and Pugh and the message would have been seamless.
This says that McAdoo is on point with his message to his players. It is filtering effectively among the Giants, several of whom spoke on Thursday in similar manner to Pugh.
It was defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who stressed that the Giants have not been to the playoffs “in a minute.”
Try four straight seasons. And the last two seasons were raw 6-10 ones, the kinds that forced change, that got coach Tom Coughlin fired and fixture players like cornerback Prince Amukamara and receiver Rueben Randle booted. The Giants needed a mental and physical overhaul and McAdoo is driving both.
There is a frank reality about him, though, that is operative: “These are words,” he said. “We need to back it up. We all have to go earn it.”
McAdoo has a 1-2 punch, a two-step shuffle that is his chief Giants playbook.
Several offensive-minded coaches in recent years became head coaches and concentrated on being creative, on being fancy, on their Xs-and-Os factor being the single-most important ingredient to victory. They wanted to dazzle as much as win. But McAdoo has a true grit to him and this quote from him on Thursday should make anyone who cares about the Giants ecstatic:
“The game looks a little different than it has in the past, but still the teams that are standing at the end are the heavy-handed, tough teams. That part hasn’t changed and it never will.”
This emphasis on being “heavy-handed” is a huge difference between NFL winners and losers. McAdoo gets this. The Giants players get it. He said he will be smart about injuries but also insisted that he will have a physical training camp. He is incessantly instructing his team that discipline and poise must accompany this physicality. It is a tricky mix, but also an essential mix to championship football.