Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: This is your first gig in the NFL as a head coach. Can you talk about your experience so far in the first few months, has there been any surprises? Basically, can you talk about what it's been like to be a head coach for the past few months.
A: Yeah, just part of the organization, just like everybody else. Obviously, you have some more responsibility in your role with different organizational things, structuring, scheduling, those types of things. You have to stay ahead just like you did when you were a coordinator. But today was a good start. You know, we had our first team meeting and then we split up offensively and the defensive players worked out and then the defense is just finishing up right now and I had a chance to go in everybody's meeting room and kind of talk to them about expectations and standards and get to know them a little bit. It's been a good start. We've been busy.
Q: Are you happy with the attendance of the players that showed up today?
A: Yeah, we've had good attendance. Obviously, everything's voluntary, we understand that. But there was a packed house.
Q: What do you think overall about the make-up of your team? Obviously, you haven't done a lot of things yet and I'm not asking for a prediction, but just an overall feel for this roster.
A: Yeah. I think you just said it, you answered your question. We haven't done a whole lot yet. This is the first day where we're all back in the building and can get to know one another. I mean, there's a lot of things that we have to install in terms of schematics. But we also have to talk about expectations and standards and get to know one another. There's a little over five months until we end up playing and a few months before training camp starts. So, this is really just the foundational piece to a long year ahead. We just try to get better each day and do the things that we need to do. Can't look too far down the road on this thing, it'll get you pretty quick.
Q: I don't think we're speaking to you before the draft, so I wanted to ask you this. I know the answer is probably both, but when you're evaluating offensive tackles, is it more important to you to have a guy who's a great pass protector or run blocker? Is it one of those you find easier to develop at this level?
A: Yeah, I think – that's a good question. I think depending on where they come from and what they've been asked to do, that's usually where their strengths lie for the most part. There are some teams in college that are very pass heavy. There are some teams in college that only get into a two-point stance. There are other teams that decide that they choose to run the football. Look, the job of an offensive lineman, particularly for our tackles, is going to be to be able to keep the width of the pocket, protect them inside out and get movement at the line of scrimmage. Those are the two main things we look for in our offensive linemen and that's what we're going to continue to look for. I don't think there's…some guys are better at one than the other thing, but at the end of the day, they have to be able to do both to be an effective player for us.
Q: I got a question for you about the pro days. It doesn't seem like you've been at any of them. Why? It seems like your assistant coaches are going, not just the scouts. What's that like, do they ask you to go, do they ask the scouts? Why is it important for assistants to go and why haven't you been at any?
A: Yeah, I think it is important for our coaches to go, whether that's a pro day or an individual workout, whatever that may be. There are also other methods of evaluations with the Zooms and things like that. Try to get as many eyes on the players as we can. I've had quite a bit of things on my plate relative to getting things prepared to get going here at the start of phase one, and phase two. They film them all. I watch all of them along with the Senior Bowl stuff or any all-star games, the tape they've been in. I think we have a good process of how we've been doing things up to this point. These next few weeks will be critical to dig in a little bit deeper. Plus, the visits are going to start happening.
Q: You talk about how full your plate has been. I'm curious, how have you managed the idea of splitting your time between everything you need to get going with your coaches, I would imagine the playbooks, I mean, you haven't installed yet with the players, but I would think you want to do that, and then obviously the draft now is going to kick into another gear going forward.
A: I think that we've done a good job in terms of scheduling, how we meet, when the defense is meeting, and the offense is meeting, and I'll try to pop into those rooms the best I can along with the kicking game. I'd say, you know, another thing with the coaches being out on the road and we've had considerable out on the road, that's given me some time to just sit in my office and dig in on these college guys and watch tape and catch up in that regard. But I think it's time management and you hire good people to do their job. And then you make a schedule to try to accommodate the things you need to accommodate to get your work done.
Q: Did (Cornerback) James Bradberry report today and can you kind of update us of what the status is on a stance with the team right now?
A: Yeah, I know we talked about that a few days ago. I'd say we had good attendance and I understand the question, I'm not going to get into who was, who wasn't, I'd just say we've had good attendance and I told the guys how much I appreciate that, knowing that it's all voluntary.
Q: To jump off that, for guys that don't show up since you're installing a new program, will they fall behind the eight ball by not being there? Do you view it as a negative if they're not here today?
A: No, I view it as it's voluntary. The guys that are here, we're going to work with, with the time allowed that we can work with them. When the other players are able to come in, you know, there's a variety of reasons here – we're on April 4th – but we'll work with them and catch them up as best we can.
Q: You talked about expectations and standards. What are they and how did you outline those to the players?
A: To try to win each day. Look, we're not playing for five months. Improve from one day to the next, talked about some of the attire and the dress that I expect them to wear in the meeting rooms, team first attitude, be a pro, which there's a lot that goes into that in terms of accountability, dependability, resiliency, didn't get too far ahead of things. I'd say it was a 20-minute meeting to start out, and I'd say 10 minutes of those 20 minutes I let other people speak – trainers, strength coaches. It was a good introductory meeting.
Q: Was that a big moment for you? You've been waiting 20 years to get in front of your own team.
A: Yeah, 25 (years). It was exciting for me, but again, I know we're on April 4th here, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let's do what we can do. We have two weeks here for phase one and let's have a good phase one.
Q: When you said you're digging into these guys, these prospects, how good do you think you are at evaluating players? I mean, coaches have to do a lot of things on the field, hands on, but you know, you're not a scout. Do you feel really confident in your ability to watch this tape and say, look, that's a guy I want, that's a guy I don't want, this guy will fit, this guy won't fit?
A: Look, I've been coaching or evaluating players for a long time and, you know, you're going to have some hits and you're going to have some misses. I've learned that along the way. But I think you understand what you're looking for and the positions that you're looking at and you try to take what they've done, whether that be in college or the all-star games, the combine, the pro days, there's a lot of things to evaluate. At the end of the day, you kind of look at the player, you know the strengths and the weaknesses, the way you see it, and you give an honest evaluation of what he can do. There have been plenty of guys that I've evaluated along the way, whether that be college players or free agents that we've hit on. And obviously there are some that you don't hit on, but you do your due diligence and you explain what you see. We know what we're looking for in terms of the positions, whether that be in the kicking game, offense or defense.
Q: During this phase of the offseason, how much time do you expect to spend in the quarterback room? Will you be in there a lot and or will you leave that to (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Kafka) and (Quarterbacks Coach) Shea (Tierney)?
A: No, I'll be in there. Today I was in every meeting room. We started out together as a team and, like I said, that went about 20 minutes. Then the offense met when the defense lifted, and Mike kept the offense in the offensive room and met with them and I stayed in the offensive room. Then when they broke and went into individual meetings, I went to each individual group and sat in their meetings for about five minutes. Then when (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) came over and did the defense, I stayed in the defensive room, said a few things in the defensive room. Then when they split up individually, I went into all the meeting rooms today. Again, I'm still trying to get to know these guys. It's the first day, you're talking about some base stuff, but as we get more into the playbooks, I'm going to be really in every room as much as I can be. But the quarterbacks, I'll certainly be in there, yes.
Q: You look at the receiving corps last year, neither (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay nor (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney scored a touchdown. You guys only had three touchdowns caught by receivers. What are you hoping to see from that group as this offseason program goes along and how do you get more out of them this season?
A: Yeah, see if they can learn our installs and pick up our stuff and play fast. Look, the receiver position, or I'd say the offensive position that catches passes, it can be a variety of people – you can line them up in different spots. I think the biggest thing that you can do as that skill type of pass catcher is really see the game through the quarterback's eyes. We have a lot of different route adjustments and things like that, and that's going to be an important part for those players to get on the same page with the quarterbacks and vice versa. That's the only way the pass game works.
Q: You mentioned there's an attire and dress code for meeting rooms. I'm curious what that is? I thought you were pretty casual on the dress inside the building.
A: Yeah, it's casual.
Q: That's the dress code?
A: Yeah, they wear Giants gear when we get in here, whether that may be…
Q: So that's kind of what you're referring to?
A: Yeah. It's not like you're going to a private high school and having to wear a tie and stuff like that. It's come in…
Q: You were the one that mentioned that you had a dress code for the players.
A: Yeah. It's really dress code – wear Giants gear, come in ready to go.
Q: Last year Kadarius Toney wasn't really in the building for the spring, then he got injured. It was almost like he was sort of chasing the whole season. I'm wondering how big an offseason is this for him considering everything with kind of how it went last year with what you heard or have seen so far?
A: Yeah. I'd say this really with every player, it's a clean slate. There's a lot of information right now to consume for these players once we get through the introductions and the standards and the things like that, in terms of playbook wise. So, each person's going to be responsible to make sure that they're on top of the information, the coaches are here to help them and then we'll have a good spring there in terms of the weights. Then when we can get out on the field, keep it going from there.
Q: Looking ahead to the draft, I know that ideally you want to go into any draft and just take the best player available, the next guy on your board, but being in this situation you're in with no more cap room with some seemingly obvious starting jobs and holes to fill, does that change your approach at all knowing that there might be a situation where you have to come out of this draft with starters at a couple of positions? Does that change your planning or your approach at all when you go into those meetings?
A: Ideally, we're going to try to select the best player available. We're going to start our meetings with the scouts here toward the end of the week with the coaches' evaluations and the rankings of the players the way we see it and sit down with the scouting department and (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and their staff and talk about it. At the end of the day, you set the board and we've always said let's draft the best available player. Let's not reach for a position just because it's a position of need to build our roster. When those two match, a position of need and the best available player, that's what we're looking for.
Q: In the last three months have you guys gone over with the training staff – last year you were pretty decimated by injuries. I mean, have you guys taken a novel approach to try and avoid injuries this year? Or how are you handling that?
A: Yeah, we've had plenty of meetings on that. Look, we're going to do whatever we can do as a coaching staff and as an organization to help that – whether that be soft tissue injuries, whatever that is, that's what our job is to help the players in that regard. But we've had plenty of meetings in that regard. Went back the last few years and took a look at it. You look at how you schedule practice, how you ramp guys up when they get here for phase one, to phase two, the hydration portion of it, the teaching aspect of it, we've looked at really all the areas that encompass injuries. You're never guaranteed, but we're certainly going to try our best to make sure that our players are as healthy as they can be for us on Sundays.
Q: A lot of coaches come in, they have an idea of how they want to run their program and they kind of stick to it. I'm wondering how flexible are you with adjusting your program and are you talking major changes if something changes, like let's say your roster gets decimated by injuries, how flexible are you to change your program as you go along in this as your first year? Are you going to stick to a template?
A: No, I think you have to be flexible really in every aspect of this job, because there are going to be things that pop up that you're not anticipating. It's no different than game planning for an opponent week to week. Those things change. I think you have to have flexibility in the job that I'm in right now. How many people are hurt at the secondary position versus how much we ran with the GPS at the receivers. I think you have to really take a day-to-day approach and evaluate where you're at and do the best thing for your players.
Q: Regarding (Quarterback) Daniel Jones, what is your checklist for him this spring? I guess if you could just cite a few specific things that you're looking to get out of him, obviously these are not going to be contact practices, but as he learns the offense and you get a chance to see him kind of live on the field, what are the particular things you're looking for him to accomplish this spring?
A: Yeah, I've answered this really the same way the last four years with (Bills Quarterback) Josh (Allen), it's an all-encompassing job. It starts with you just being able to communicate effectively in the huddle or run the no-huddle operation well. Really get to know your players and the body languages of each player, receiver, or the things that we're asking him to do. Have some input on what he likes and doesn't like, and then ultimately evaluate his decision making and try to put him in as many different situations as we can to teach him off of the situations that we can learn from and hopefully he can retain that as we're playing. Look, it might not come up until Week 3 of the season, but you're trying to hit all those things for the quarterback to make sure that he's on point in that regard.
Q: I wanted to ask about the (Cornerback) Adoree' Jackson restructure, why did you guys go to that kind of move so quickly and does it reflect that you view him as a foundational piece of your program?
A: Yeah, I think Adoree', I got a chance to talk with him one time within the past month just saying hello and introducing myself. I think he's a good player for us and you know, the restructures and all of that stuff, I think that's probably a better question for Joe (Schoen). I'm just happy he's here, he's energetic, it was good being around him this morning.