EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Following the Giants' 24-10 loss to the Lions Monday night, a frustrated Ben McAdoo was asked about a critical delay of game penalty quarterback Eli Manning took down by the goal line that ultimately forced the offense to settle for a field goal.
"Sloppy quarterback play," the head coach said. "Quarterback and the center need to be on the same page there. We've got to get the ball snapped."
When he was then asked why he didn't take it upon himself to call the timeout to save the team the penalty, McAdoo shot back, "Because we have a veteran quarterback who has played a lot of football; I expect us to get the ball snapped."
McAdoo's biting words have since been perceived by many as him calling out his two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback for his mistakes, while glossing over those made by other members of the team such as left tackle Ereck Flowers, who gave up three sacks and who looks no better than he did a year ago after two games.
On Tuesday during his conference call with the media, McAdoo, who in the past has been very open about treating players differently, walked back his criticism of his veteran quarterback.
"Did I single him out?" he asked. "Well, we needed to get the ball snapped there. So, I thought that the quarterback and the center need to find a way to get the ball snapped before the clock hit zero. I'm not sure what you mean by calling him out; we need to get the ball snapped."
Although he is not wrong to be upset about the penalty, McAdoo's lack of consistency in treating all players the same is somewhat concerning. While his likely intentions are noble -- he pushes those players he believes can handle it while coddling those who might need added reinforcement to not lose confidence -- this is the NFL, not Pop Warner, and too much pushing and prodding of an accomplished player like Manning could open bigger problems among the team if McAdoo isn't careful with his public criticisms.
Fortunately, Manning has developed such thick skin that he is rarely bothered by anything anyone says. During his weekly WFAN radio spot, Manning took the blame for not getting the ball snapped and, as leader of the offense, accepted the head coach's criticism.
"Hey, if you lose games, you only score 10 points, you deserve some criticism," Manning said. "For me, I know you can control what you can control. I can make some plays, I can do some things better, for sure."
As for the criticism, Manning said, "Coach McAdoo knows I can handle it. It's part of playing quarterback. You've gotta be tough and you've gotta take criticism, take coaching, learn from it, get better from it, and you can't be sensitive in this field. You're a quarterback in the NFL, there's gonna be tough days, there's gonna be tough times, you've gotta be able to handle the fire on game day and afterward, that's just part of the deal."