Head Coach Brian Daboll
September 14, 2022
Daboll: So, we’re onto our preparations to work on Carolina here. Good football team. They lost a close game last week against Cleveland. In terms of the guys on our roster right now, we’ll have three guys that won’t participate in practice: (Cornerback Nick) McCloud, (Wide Receiver Wan’Dale) Robinson and (Cornerback Aaron) Robinson. A-Rob had an appendix removed today, so he’ll be out for the game. We wish him well – full recovery. So that’s that. The other two guys are getting better. Day-to-day. And then limited participation will be (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari), (Center Jon) Feliciano, (Defensive Back Jason) Pinnock and (Outside Linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux. They’re all getting better, so we’ll see where they’re at. And full participation will be (Safety Dane) Belton. So, that’s kind of where we’re at. Early down day. Lot to work on. New opponent. Got to learn their strengths, their weaknesses. Need a good look from our show team, which we had last week, which was a really important factor for getting ready for Tennessee. And with that, I’ll open it up.
Q: Do you expect to have Belton this week because he’s full (go)?
Q: And Aaron, I don’t know on an appendix. Can that be more than one week?
A: I don’t know. I had a cousin who had it, and I can’t tell you how long. I don’t know if anybody can really tell you how long when it comes to that. So, just wish him well. Took care of it as soon as we could, and next man up mentality.
Q: Following a win, is there a bounce, is there a feeling around the facility that you can feel?
A: I think, again, just to go back to what I talked about the day after: it’s always better coming in after a win, but you’ve got to make it about what you need to work on. It’s a long season, and I think our guys have done a good job of turning the page and focusing on the things which are important. Which is the process, our preparation, our practice for today.
Q: You said the next man up at corner. Who is the next man up?
A: It’ll be just like all the other positions that we’ve done. We have guys on the roster, whether they’re on the practice squad, that are going to compete – (Defensive Back Cor’Dale) Flott; (Defensive Back Fabian) Moreau, McCloud, we’ll see where he’s at; (Cornerback) Zyon (Gilbert); (Cornerback Justin) Layne. So, we got a group in there that will work to compete, and we’ll end up picking like we usually do on Friday evening usually.
Q: What do you think of (Carolina Panthers Quarterback Baker) Mayfield’s career to this point and also what kind of challenges he presents now in this new setting he’s got?
A: I’m not going to get into his whole career. I’ll just say I and we, when I was getting ready and we drafted (Buffalo Quarterback) Josh (Allen), did a ton of work on Baker. I got a tremendous amount of respect for him. I spent a lot of time with him in the pre-draft process. He’s got a very live arm; he’s a gamer. Every situation for a young quarterback – we’ve talked about this at length – is different. And he’s a good football player. He’s been a winner. And I think he’s doing a good job here with Carolina.
Q: Do you plan on doing the same thing at left guard this week? And what are the pros and cons of doing it that way?
A: We’ll see. We’ll rotate them here in practice, and then by Friday evening, we’ll make a decision. But (Offensive Lineman Josh) Ezeudu is a young player that we’re developing, and (Offensive Lineman Ben) Bredeson has done a good job throughout camp of playing every position that we asked him to. So, they both earned it. They earned it with their preparation. They earned it with their practice habits, and they both deserve to play. We’ll see how it goes this week. Could be the same; could be different.
Q: When did you realize you were going to do that? When did you realize it?
A: We usually talk about how we’re going to exactly play the guys Friday evening after the last day of practice on Friday to give it a full evaluation, let them go through every practice, make sure we review the tests that we give out, that they understand the material. There’s a whole thought process that goes into it, and I’ll talk to the offensive staff or the defensive staff, give them my input, and then collectively make a decision on it.
Q: Can you talk about the differences (Panthers Running Back) Christian McCaffrey poses as far as challenges versus a (Titans Running Back) Derrick Henry?
A: Two very, very good players in that position. McCaffrey is dynamic with the ball in his hand as well, maybe a little bit different. Obviously, doesn’t have the size, but he’s a hard player to cover. He’s very, very good in space. He can take it the distance anytime he touches the ball. They can line him up at one, two, three in the backfield. He can break tackles. But he’s very athletic. He’s a unique player in the fact he can do a lot of things playing that running back position, but he can also do them on the perimeter if they choose to use him.
Q: They’re very careful with the number of snaps and the kind of touches that he’s getting. I’m wondering where you stand on how you approach that with (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley). How much do you use analytics? How do you go about deciding what’s the right amount and what can be too much for guys that are injury prone?
A: That’s a good question. Sure, I understand it completely. I’d say it’s dictated kind of how the game plan goes but also the flow of the game. And there’s times where Saquon came out last game and (Running Back Matt) Breida went right in there and ran the ball well. In terms of a number, I don’t go into the game saying, ‘Hey, let’s get him 50 plays’ or ‘Let’s get him 20 touches.’ I think that’s an adjustment part of the game, too. Obviously, he’s a very good player. You want him to touch the ball, but again, how he’s feeling, how you’re communicating on the sideline, ‘Hey I need a series here, or I need two,’ we just talk about it that way. It’s not, ‘We’re just going to give him this.’
Q: On a bigger scale, is there anything season-wise that you come into the season looking at with him?
A: No. He’s been healthy. He’s been fully cleared. He’s been out here. We do that in practice, and obviously we took some stuff off of him in the preseason with the hits that he’ll probably accrue here. I think we’ll constantly evaluate that with the medical staff and the strength staff if we need to do something different. At this point, Week 2, he’s fresh, he’s healthy. So, based on how the game is going, I think that’ll dictate a lot of it.
Q: In the summer, you’re not really game planning, you’re putting in this whole new offense. Last week was the first time for a game plan. How do you think (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) handled that whole process, and did you learn anything from him in that first game because that’s the first game that he had to do what you asked him to do?
A: You try to mock it during camp with scripts and thigs like that relative to what he likes and doesn’t like and have that open line of communication. You know he’s always going to be the first one in and the last one to leave. I thought he had really good input as to some of the things that maybe we threw out. We’ve done this throughout the summer. But he’s up there everyday meeting with (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Kafka), (saying), ‘I don’t like this,’ or ‘think about this one.’ He gives good input. And again, if there’s plays that you like as a coaching staff that you think, ‘Hey this would be a really good play against this defense,’ sometimes I’ve been around players (who say), ‘Well, I don’t like that play.’ (And I say), ‘Let me show you the reason why we have it in, and if you still don’t like it after we practice it, no problem.’ But he’s done a really good job of preparing, which is no surprise. And he’s been in here early today. He’s been working on it for the last couple of days.
Q: What about the game itself? Was there anything, any play or anything, that he had to handle? Maybe the run or something (did you say), ’That was kind of a bold move with the run there or something?’
A: No. In terms of decisions and the things we asked him to do, whether it was a check or get out or something, he was all over it.
Q: For the left guard situation, would you prefer in an ideal world for there to be continuity there where one guy separates himself and you have one guy in there the whole game?
A: Usually that will happen sometime during the year, but I think, and I’ll just say it again, they’ve earned the right to do it. They’ve earned the right to play with their performance on the practice field, with their consistency, with how they handle things. Both (players), we feel, give us a chance to win, and we think that was the best thing to do for that game. Now, does that change in Week 2 or Week 3 or Week 4? Certainly, it could. But the communication with those players, they’re really good. Both of them are really good. They’re on top of their stuff. They know what to do. They communicate well with the tackle, with the center. So, those guys both deserve that game for that opportunity.
Q: Do you have to tell your guys or remind your guys to keep an even keel? It’s only one win. We know Giants fans are ecstatic right now. Do you have to let them know that?
A: Yeah, we talked about that on Monday. I think they’re fully aware of it. It’s the National Football League, and having been part of it a long time for myself – but even if you’re only part of it as a young player for a couple of years – I think they understand that. One week really has nothing to do with the next week. It’s a one game season every week. Teams are very, very good. So, we have to focus on improving our skillset and doing the things that we didn’t do well enough that game and improve that throughout the course of this week. And that’ll happen the same thing next week, regardless of the result, it let’s just keep a positive mindset, and let’s communicate with one another on the things we need to work on. Let’s make sure coaching-wise we’re doing the drills we need to work on that come from the first game that we didn’t do well. Maybe we did something last week in an individual drill that we really need to do different this week. We don’t keep it the same based on how we played and things that we’ve got to work on. So, I think staying in the moment for everybody in our organization is important and focusing on the Carolina Panthers.
Q: With Wan’Dale, are you waiting on any more tests to determine the severity of his injury?
A: No. Not right now. He’s grinding back. I’d say the difference of him from the day after the game to even today is pretty significant. So, we’ll see how it goes. We’re not going to put him out there today. But he’s gotten a lot better just in those two days. So, we’ll see where it goes.
Q: Is there added excited for prepping for the home opener knowing the fans are going to be revved up coming off a big win?
A: I’m glad you asked that. This has been a great spot for myself and I know for the coaches and our families and the people around this community. And I understand how important the New York Football Giants are to a lot of people around here, and they’re important to us. I’ve come across a lot of great people in this community and had some really good conversations. And I’m looking forward to being on this sideline, where it’s always cool as a coach, you pull up to the parking lots, and you get a sense even before you go into the game of what kind of day the fans are going to have. And I love our fanbase. I love the support. They’re on you when it’s bad, and they’re supporting you when it’s good. And that’s the way it is. That’s this area. I grew up in western New York on the other side of it, but New York/New Jersey mentality. And I’m looking forward to having a packed house and them being as loud as they can be on third down or when Carolina’s on offense. They’re pretty smart fans up here, so the more we can get in there, the better it’ll be. They’re part of our team on home games, and I firmly believe that. Wherever I’ve been, the places that have great support like we do, you go into those places, and it’s hard. It’s hard to communicate as an offense when you’re on the other side, and you get a lot of energy when you’re playing special teams and on defense. And we’ve got to give them a reason to cheer, too. And that’s why we’re working the way that we’re working and focused on what we’re focused on.
Q: Did you notice anything from Kayvon on the sideline during the game? Did he bring an energy? Or did he give anything?
A: In particular, no. I mean, he came up and hugged me kind of right after the game. And the thing I did appreciate about the guys that weren’t playing that were on the sideline or playing maybe not as much as they wanted to play was the support of their teammates – how excited they were talking to the guys on the bench; giving them indicators of what they saw; (Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney) KT running down the field cheering for (Wide Receiver) Richie (James). We kicked the field goal; you see a backflip. Kadarius is six feet up in the air, jumping. And he only played seven snaps. So, that’s what we’re trying to build. It’s not always going to be perfect. I’m certainly not going to be perfect, but the chemistry and the sticking together. We’re going to have tough times. We all know that. I think that’s a testament to those guys.
Q: So, is the challenge then to keep that going – that comradery, that chemistry —and continue that throughout the season?
A: I think that’s always a challenge because, again, you walk into a facility on a Monday morning or a Tuesday morning after you put everything that you have into it, you put everything you have. Coaches, they don’t sleep. Players, their bodies are sore; they’re working through it. They’re studying extra. They’re meeting. They’re getting up extra early. You put everything you’ve got into it, and you fall short – whether it’s by close, or you don’t do a good enough job, and it’s by a lot. It weighs on you because it’s important to you. And that’s the type of people we want in our building is people that it’s really important to. So, it sucks when you lose a game. And when you win a game, you’re happy about it. But you turn the page rather quickly and focus on the things that are important to getting better. And that’s, in the early part of the season, what we’re going to try to do, really throughout the season, is just try to get better. And it’s hard to not focus on results. It’s hard, so I challenge those guys every day to focus on the things that they can control and that I can control. And if I make a mistake or they make a mistake, let’s not make it the next time when we have an opportunity to nail it.