EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin likes to use the term green zone. Bill Belichick favors SnapFace when referencing social media, and he says, "We’re on to the [insert team name]" as one of his many go-to deflection mechanisms.
It’s the beauty of trying to converse with football coaches, particularly at news conferences. Sometimes coachspeak barely resembles a human language. Often, you have no idea what a coach is saying.
New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo is taking it to a different level. He’s creating his own lexicon, and could say something like this:
We want to be a physical, heavy-handed team that protects The Duke like a bar of gold and makes it to the 17th game. In order to do that we need to complete our timed-interval striders, play with discipline and poise, and get through the feet meet, REM day and launch day. Maybe then we can bring the fifth trophy to 1925 Giants Drive.
Got it? Probably not.
It’s gotten to the point that we need the first installment of the McAdictionary. Consider it a public service. It's an everyday guide to understanding McAdoo's interviews and news conferences. You’ll thank me later.
Note: These terms and phrases are listed roughly in order of how often McAdoo uses them. The examples in quotes are actual sentences uttered by the coach during news conferences over the past 18 months.
The Duke: Term used for the football. Named after legendary Giants owner Wellington “The Duke” Mara.
Use in a sentence: “The Duke is like a bar of gold this time of year, and we need to take better care of The Duke."
Bar of gold: Anything with extreme value. Can relate to any topic, particularly football and life.
Use in a sentence: “When you get pads on in camp, reps are like a bar of gold.”
Timed-interval strider: A timed sprint run for conditioning purposes. The rest of the world calls these wind sprints. Not McAdoo.
Use in a sentence: “There were no wind sprints. We had timed-interval striders today at the end of practice for some conditioning. Players did a nice job.”
Heavy-handed: Sorry, two years later I still can’t completely figure this one out. In the real world, heavy-handed means oppressive. In McAdoo’s dictionary, it seems to be a derivative of physical.
Note: On Thursday, I asked about the difference between physical and heavy-handed. “Next question,” was the response.
Use in a sentence #1: “The teams that are standing at the end are the physical and the heavy-handed, tough teams.”
Use in a sentence #2: “We’re going to turn into a heavy-handed, physical football team. We just have to do a better job of handling the extracurricular activities after the whistle.”
McAdoo checking in: The coach’s version of "hello" on conference calls.
Use in a sentence: “McAdoo checking in. What we did do well ... what we didn’t do well ...”
Flush: To get rid of the memory of something. Usually reserved for some sort of poor performance; nothing to do with using the bathroom.
Use in a sentence: “The great thing about the corners that we have is that they all fight and compete. They flush the bad plays. They give up a completion, they move on.”
Discipline and poise: Key tenet of McAdoo’s coaching philosophy. He put it on a T-shirt as part of the team’s motto his first season as coach.
Use in a sentence: “We’re going to be sound, smart and tough. We’re going to be committed to discipline and poise, and at the end of the day, we’re going to hang our hat on the fundamentals.”
Evolution, not revolution: Another McAdoo staple. Expresses a desire for constant improvement.
Use in a sentence: “We have been thinking about it for a while, I have been thinking about it for a while -- so evolution, not revolution, and it was easy to make some of those changes, some of those tweaks.”
Dust-up: This can apply to any sort of confrontation on the field, ranging from throwing punches to pushing. Every altercation is a dust-up.
Use in a sentence: “We had a couple dust-ups, but nothing major. We had it under control. We’re going to have a little bit of that; we have pads on. Guys aren’t going to feel great, especially come the end of the week. That’s healthy.”
Salty: Individuals who play with an edge. It has nothing to do with the taste of your food. McAdoo likes his players to be salty.
Use in a sentence: “Their linebackers, they're a salty, physical group; they play downhill and they can lay the wood when they get there. Their secondary is aggressive and very multiple.”
Farm our own land: To worry about oneself. To operate with blinders on. This is McAdoo's preferred way of operating.
Use in a sentence: “Farm our own land. We need to take care of our own business. Everything is in front of us.”
Sore: Stock response for why a player with a minor injury is not practicing. Usually a hamstring or groin problem during OTAs, minicamp or training camp.
Lower-body injury: Often the follow-up answer to questions about where a player is sore. A hockey-like explanation for injuries.
Use in a sentence: “He had a lower-body injury early on, so he was kind of late to the party there.”
17th game: Most call this the playoffs. Not McAdoo. It’s an earned 17th game on the schedule.
Use in a sentence: “We'll take it one week at a time. Talked to the team, told them it's exciting to earn a 17th game. Can't play that game this week; we can only play one game this week, and Washington is on the schedule.”
1925 Giants Drive: Alternate definition: the Giants' headquarters and training facility, aka the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Use in a sentence: “I’m focused on 1925 Giants Drive. That is where my focus is right now.”
How it could be used in a conversation: “Where do I work? At 1925 Giants Drive.”
Fifth trophy: The next Lombardi Trophy won by the New York Giants franchise. It would join the previous four sitting in the trophy case in the lobby at 1925 Giants Drive.
Use in a sentence: “Our goal is to still put the fifth trophy in the case.”
Never say never: A favorite of McAdoo. It means highly, highly unlikely, but leaves the door cracked open in case of a miracle. It’s applicable to questions such as: Do the Giants have interest in RB Adrian Peterson? And will WR Odell Beckham Jr. play safety? Rarely is it followed by a qualifier. This is McAdoo's deflection mechanism.
Use in a conversation: Do you expect the team to make a trade? McAdoo: “Never say never.”
Green zone: What the rest of the NFL calls the red zone -- when an offense moves inside the opponent's 20-yard line. A holdover from the Coughlin era.
Use in a sentence: “He made some nice plays. He is a big target down there in the green zone. Matchup-wise, he gives you that length that you are looking for. He can run and he is a functional blocker, so he has a nice skill set.”
Teamer: Also known as a special-teams player. Apparently that is too many words.
Use in a sentence: “Dwayne's a good teamer. He really helps our coverage teams, whether it's kickoff coverage or punt coverage. He's a tough man to handle out there and a load for a receiver, very physical.”
Combat-ability: It’s a combination of combat and ability. A creative use of wordplay. Used to describe a player who is able and willing to engage with opponents and provide maximum effort.
Use in a sentence: “He plays with tremendous effort and combat-ability. He’s a big man that can run on special teams and he gets football. He’s a smart player.”
Launch day: A day used to get players’ bodies ready for a game, usually the day prior.
Use in a sentence: “Had a good week of preparation, get ready for launch day tomorrow, and kickoff is on Sunday.”
REM day: Days when the Giants players report to work later than usual, with the idea for them to sleep in and come to work refreshed after, one hopes, some of the rapid-eye-movement snoozing typically associated with dreaming.
Use in a sentence: “We talked to them last night that this was the plan all along. We call it a REM Friday. We had a little bit more REMs last night, brought them in a little bit later. Had a chance to hydrate them and bring it back down. We recovered this morning, and we're starting that launch back up, and tomorrow is going to be a great day.”
Feet meet: A meeting held while standing. Walking and talking football. It could, at times, be another version of a walk-through.
How it could be used in a sentence: We’re going to hold a feet meet after the REM day, but before the launch day.
Rule of 53: Combination of runs and completions in a game that McAdoo deems necessary for success.
Use in a sentence: “They’re taking steps. We hit the Rule of 53, which is important for us as a football team.”
Sudden change: How a McAdoo-coached team’s offense or defense reacts after a turnover.
Use in a sentence: “What we need to improve defensively, we need to continue building towards playing a full game the first week in Dallas, and our sudden-change stops. Offensively, we have to do a better job taking care of The Duke; our run-blocking unit needs to improve assignments, fundamentals, and physicality.”
Fit your pads: Another football-guy term. Consider me confused.
1. Use in a sentence #1: “You can be physical and you can be heavy-handed; you can fit your pads in and you can finish, but when that whistle blows, that extra stuff after the whistle is unnecessary.”
Use in a sentence #2: “The second day of pads is always a challenge to get them down, and I thought we were off the ground for the most part today. I need to go in and take a look at the tape, but fitting your pads in is a big part of things, and the second day guys are sore, obviously. They haven’t had those types of collisions in a while. Some guys a year, some guys over half a year. I thought we did a nice job today, especially on two different surfaces.”
Homer City: Homer City, Pennsylvania, is the coach's hometown.
Use in a conversation: Which team will Homer City be rooting for in Week 13 when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Giants? “That's a great question for Homer City.”