Head Coach Brian Daboll
January 11, 2023
Daboll: Normal Wednesday. Ready to rock.
Q: (Cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson) and (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) – are they full today?
A: Yeah, I think everybody will practice. Maybe some will be more limited, but I’m encouraged where everybody’s at.
Q: Do you change up practices a little bit because of the intensity that’s coming Sunday as far as put them in pads another day, more one vs. ones or anything like that? Or you just stick to the same?
A: We’ve probably monitored our practice schedule a few times here over the course of the season. We’ll stay with what we’ve been doing here the last few weeks.
Q: Will you be indoors all week?
A: We will be indoors.
Q: You said, ‘normal Wednesday.’ How much does it feel like a normal Wednesday here to you?
A: It feels like a normal Wednesday, yeah. We’ll get ready to go, same practice, same meetings, same schedule. There’s a few more people here that I haven’t seen in a while.
Q: How do you view the opportunity that’s in front of you?
A: Put everything we’ve got into it. So, that’s what we’ll try to do.
Q: With Adoree’, have you at all waited until this moment to make sure he’s as ready as he completely could be? For instance, could he have played early, but this was sort of the end game for you?
A: I’d say with all our players, not just Adoree’, when they’re ready to play is when our medical staff feels comfortable with them playing. They have to feel comfortable. So, we would never put a player out there that doesn’t feel ready or isn’t ready. So, I think he’s made progress here the last couple weeks in practice. And hopefully he’ll continue to do that this week. But again, with all our guys, I’m encouraged with where we’re at.
Q: You’ve been pretty good at keeping the guys grounded each week, such as yourself. But because this is a playoff game, do you have to reinforce to them, ‘Don’t let the moment get too big’?
A: I think it goes back to consistency and how we operate; stay true to what we’ve been doing. Obviously, there’s only six games this weekend. So, we all understand that. But it’s a privilege to be in the playoffs – to have an opportunity to compete. And our consistency with what we do and our process and our preparation, that’s the most important.
Q: Has anything changed, now that you’re in the playoffs, as far as managing guys’ workloads within the game? Maybe in the regular season, you do that more. And in the playoffs, a guy can play…
A: No, I’d say the same thing again. We try to do what’s best for all our players: manage, not manage. Whatever we think is the best for our team and the best for them, that’s what we’ll do.
Q: I would imagine preparation, as you’re leading up this, when the coaching staff’s putting it together, you’re looking back a lot on the last game you played with them. When the team arrives this morning and you meet with them, is it all forward to this game? Or do you look back with them at the past game? Or is that in the past?
A: I think any time you play a team for a second time – Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas – you always watch the previous game. That’s part of the preparation process. But we are full steam ahead on preparing, watching the games that they have played after us. We’ve already watched all the games before that. So, it’s really like playing another division team that you just played a few weeks ago and doing everything you can to prepare the right way.
Q: What did you learn from facing (Vikings wide receiver) Justin Jefferson the last time?
A: That he’s really good (Laughs). But we knew that going in. Again, I said this before when we played them – there’s not a lot of teams or a lot of players that can just stop him. He’s one of the best in the league. He’s a dynamic player. He has got a lot of production. He’s an exceptional route runner. He’s a very tough player to defend.
Q: Sometimes in the NBA, when there’s a player who’s outstanding, you always hear coaches say, ‘We’re going to let him get his points. We’re going to worry about the other guys.’ With a guy like Jefferson, do you focus on him in that regard? And how do you balance that aspect?
A: I think we just try to put a plan together that we think is best for competing against their offense. They have a lot of good players on their offense. (Vikings tight end T.J.) Hockenson killed us. So, (Vikings Kirk) Cousins is an excellent quarterback. (Vikings running back Dalvin) Cook can take it the distance. They have a lot of talented skill players, a good quarterback. We’re going to have to play a really good, sound defensive game.
Q: They had a lot of success against your blitz last time. What do you make out of that?
A: That they executed well.
Q: Can you just talk a little bit about the job that the front office has done to get you guys to this point? You had a lot of injuries, a lot of roster turnover. You were bringing guys in off the streets and waiver claims and stuff like that.
A: I think (general manager) Joe (Schoen) and his staff – BB (Assistant GM Brandon Brown), Hick (Assistant Director of Player Personnel Dennis Hickey), (Director of Player Personnel) Tim (McDonnell), all the rest of the guys, scouting assistants, the pro scouts, the college scouts – it’s a team effort. They do a fantastic job. We have guys in here every week, usually a bunch of them. I think they have a good bead on the league. And they’ve done a great job.
Q: What is your role in that?
A: I come out here with them. I watch them. We discuss it after the workouts. We talk, not just myself, the rest of the coaches, the position coaches, the coordinators. It’s all a group effort.
Q: Does your alignment between the coaching staff and the front office help accelerate the curve for the guys you brought in really from the beginning of getting guys in? It seemed like guys were here to try out, and then within two weeks, they’re logging a lot of snaps on game day. Does that make that curve a little bit easier to overcome?
A: I just think it’s a group effort. I think that the scouting staffs have done their research on players, not just the physical part of it. But go back, and they have to have the qualities that we look for in terms of being intelligent and being tough and being dependable. And then once we see them work out, now it’s the coaches’ job to get the players ready, whether that’s in three days, whether that’s in two weeks, whatever it may be. But it’s just such a group effort. Everybody’s involved in it.
Q: You’ve been around a lot of playoff games, often dealing with the quarterbacks. Is there something about quarterbacks in the playoffs that you notice that sometimes they try to do too much? Is there anything you’re trying to impart to (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) with that?
A: No, it just goes back to being consistent and doing the things that we need to do to prepare for this game. That’s really what it comes down to. How we play on Sunday and how we prepare during the week, those are the most important things.
Q: Is there something about a quarterback playing in his first playoff game?
A: I’ve coached a few of them. I think, again, it’s the next game. And we’re, again, privileged and honored to be part of it. But the things that got you to having an opportunity to be here, that’s what you got to lean on.
Q: As much as you say it is the next game, is there something different about the playoffs that you can impart to your players who might be experiencing it for the first time?
A: Yeah. Win, move on. Lose, go home. It’s not overly complicated. We’re playing a game. You’ve got to earn it to get there. And now you got to do things you got to do to try to play your best and coach your best.
Q: You have just one player left (inside linebacker Landon Collins) from the last time the Giants went to the postseason. Is there any theme at all about that? ‘This was the team that got back there. Embrace this opportunity,’ kind of a theme or message?
A: Nope. Just do what we need to do to try to play a good game. That’s really the message.
Q: You talked about preparation and consistency all year. Are there butterflies still going into a game, and is that just natural?
A: I don’t know. It’s probably different for each person. I’ve coached players that throw up before every game, whether it’s the first game of the season, a preseason game, a playoff game. Every player is different. I think every coach is different. The big thing is be yourself. Prepare to play a good game. Coach a good game, and do everything you can do during the week to put yourself in a good position.
Q: Are you excited for your fanbase, and what have they meant to your team this year?
A: They’ve been great. We’ve had outstanding attendance. Every home game has been great. The away games – places like Jacksonville, Tennessee, Washington that night – they’re part of our team, too. So, we appreciate them. As many that could be there, that would be great.
Q: Offensively against Minnesota, you looked a lot different than you have against maybe any other game this year – 42 pass attempts, 30 completions, three guys with eight catches each. Do you feel like that gives them something else to think about – like ‘Are they going to attack us the same way? Are they going to play more similar than they did in the other 13, 14, 15 games?’
A: I think that’s probably a good question for them. I don’t know what they think.
Q: Well, what was it about that matchup that made you attack them so differently than everybody else?
A: Well, I think we – (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka and the offensive staff – do a good job each week of trying to look at each game on its own season and figure out what we need to try to do. Every week’s a little bit different. What we did against Washington wasn’t the same the first time – same thing with Dallas. Each week’s a different week.
Q: There have been a few reports that teams want to talk to Mike (Kafka) for their head coaching job. You’ve obviously gone through the process. How did you handle that, and what’s your advice to him this week?
A: I’ve went through it the last three years. First of all, I’d say it’s an honor. But the biggest thing is focusing on what you have to focus on, which I know Mike will. There will be a time and place, after the season, to talk about that. But that’s really a team (recognition). Usually when you win, people get credit. And I’m happy for the guys that would get that opportunity. But I know where their focus is right now.
Q: With Jefferson and (Vikings cornerback Patrick) Peterson, they both made really important plays in that game, down the stretch in particular. Can your defense be better simply by having seen them so recently? Or is there another adjustment there?
A: No, you’ve got to play well. And he’s a dynamic player. And so is PP (Patrick Peterson). He’s been a great player for a long time. So, you’ve got to do your job well. And they’re probably going to still make some plays. The really, really good players do. So, I think our focus has to be on us and we need to try to do.
Q: There are reports that you guys added (wide receiver) James Washington. Is that like an insurance policy? Or is there any concern about any receiver availability?
A: No, it’s just what we thought was best for the team. We worked him and just like we’ve done throughout the season, add guys that we think could help us.
Q: Have you seen (safety) Xavier (McKinney) come back? He missed a lot of time. Does he look the same to you?
A: Yeah, other than the little cast.
Q: The way he’s side-to-side, his tackling, everything?
A: Yeah, he’s done a good job of staying in shape. I’m glad he’s back.
Q: He didn’t play the first time (against Minnesota), so, you’re obviously welcoming him back. Do you think he can be a difference in a game like this?
A: Yeah, I think any player that is a good player for you that hasn’t played, and you get him back, you hope that they can help you.
Q: When you look back on the first game, what’s the difference besides the field goal at the end? Turnovers?
A: We had two of them. Like I said after the game, they made more plays than we did. You give them credit; you give the coaches credit. They made some more plays in critical times than we did.
Q: There’s been a lot of talk about Minnesota, point differential, the fact that they’re winning so many one-possession games. As a coach, when you see that – that a team is 11-0 in one-possession games – what does that tell you about them?
A: That they make plays when it matters the most and that the coaches do a good job of putting them in play. That they’re consistent. That they play for 60 minutes. They’re a tough out.
Q: How do you feel (tackle) Evan Neal has played in the last month and a half? Just curious why he played the other day. Is that a young player, more snaps?
A: Yeah, we had our plan. We thought it would be good for him to get a good half of work in. I think he’s improved since he’s been here. I have a lot of confidence in Evan, as I do with all the other guys on the (offensive) line.
Q: Do you foresee sticking with the rotation at left guard in the playoffs?
A: Yeah, we’ve talked about that. I’d say we’ll continue to talk about that. Again, I have confidence in both those guys (Ben Bredeson and Nick Gates).
Q: There’s probably a lot of people who think that you guys are playing with house money here and that it’s already been a very successful season getting to the playoffs. I’m guessing you don’t share in that opinion.
A: Yeah, I’d say we’re 0-0. It’s a new season, so we got to do a good job of preparing and practicing the right way to play our best on Sunday.