CHARLOTTE — You're not going to get a lot out of Ben McAdoo about New York this week, but the small bit you do speaks to his experience there.
The Panthers offensive coordinator had a memorable four-year stint with the Giants, building on some early success as a coordinator there and at least having a good first year as head coach, going 11-5 and making the playoffs. The positive vibes didn't last, as he was fired the following year after a 2-10 start.
That kind of wild swing of emotions would leave a mark on anyone, and McAdoo was out of football for a couple of years before stints with the Jaguars and Cowboys led him here.
"I think probably having experience is a lot greater than having an opinion," McAdoo replied when asked what he learned during his time in New York. "You really get a chance to find out what's important to you. I guess that's something you could write about.
"You get an opportunity like I had in New York; it's a great opportunity. I had a chance to learn from a lot of great people. You go in, and you apply things you think you really believe in, and you figure out what you believe in when it's a baptism by fire situation, your first chance to be a head coach in the league. There's nothing really that prepares you for it, and usually, you fall back on the things you grew up with, how you were raised, a lot of it maybe from your high school coach."
He did mention his old coach Rick Foust at Pennsylvania's Homer-Center High ("a hell of a coach") but wasn't much for reminiscing this week. He said a few words about how much he enjoyed some of the people and the area around him during his four years with the Giants, but didn't expound. Since he had a chance to play against them twice last year with the Cowboys (winning both), the new has worn off.
"Right now, it's about getting ready to play a football game. For me to spend any time thinking about that would be kind of selfish and not very smart," McAdoo replied. "Played them twice last year when I was with Dallas and didn't really factor into anything.
"Playing them again this year, there's nothing to it so far. I try to keep it between the ditches, my feelings, and everything. Just getting ready to play a ball game."
That kind of on-to-the-next-thing mentality is helpful to him this week as the Panthers try to rebound from last week's slow start against the Browns (which was followed by an effective stretch of offense in the second half). And McAdoo's ability to move on to the next thing, shifting gears quickly, stands out to those who have known him and worked with them.
Panthers wide receivers coach Joe Dailey was a coaching intern on McAdoo's Giants staff, and his face lights up when he talks about what he's learned from the 45-year-old McAdoo.
"He's a scientist," Dailey said. "He's sharp; he's witty. On top of knowing ball, he has all types of worldly knowledge. So you have an appreciation for someone that can turn the football part off and be a normal person, be one of the guys. And then, when it's time to turn the football back on, he's as sharp as they come. He can tell you the history, the origin of plays, and the people and players that have created schemes because of their talent.
"Not a lot of guys that have that kind of knowledge and wisdom that are still coaching. To have that opportunity, I have to take advantage of that."
Take a look at some pictures from past matchups between the Panthers and Giants. Carolina leads the all-time series 7-5.