Head Coach Brian Daboll
January 13, 2023
Q: What happened with (tackle) Evan (Neal) to put him on the (injury) report?
A: He’ll be alright.
Q: What have you seen from your team this week? How do you think they’ve handled everything with the fact that this is their first playoff game for most of them?
A: Yeah, I think they’ve done a good job. We’ve had a good couple days of practice, try to finish strong here on Friday. Good week of preparation, they’ve been consistent.
Q: How did (cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson) do at yesterday’s practice?
A: He did good. We’ll give him another day out here and hopefully it’s moving in the right direction.
Q: Do you like his chances? Is that fair to say at this point?
A: I hope so.
Q: I understand it has nothing to do with this game but I’m hoping you can humor me and reflect on your last playoff game, which is probably the best game most of us have ever seen. What did you learn from that? Being an offensive coordinator where you didn’t even have a shot at the end, is that one of the more heartbreaking losses you’ve ever had? What sticks with you from your last playoff game?
A: I’d say I’m not very funny. Can’t humor you. No, I haven’t thought about it. Everything’s geared towards this week.
Q: As far as just the overtime though, that the rule changed, how much time have you spent strategizing if it comes to that? How you guys would manage it?
A: A lot. I’d say that myself, (director of football data & innovation) Ty (Siam), (offensive assistant/game manager) Cade (Knox), I brought the coordinators in, I’d say we started it last night. Had some long conversations, had some more this morning, so it definitely adds a wrinkle to it.
Q: You were involved in the game that was the tipping point in changing the postseason overtime rules, but did you ever remove yourself…are you in favor of the change or not in favor?
A: I’d just go with whatever the rules are. So, whatever they are or whatever they implement the next year, it’s our job to make sure we do a good job, educate ourselves, strategize, coach. Whatever it is it is.
Q: You’ve been in a lot of playoff games as a coach, you’ve got a bunch of players that have not been to playoff games, particularly a guy like (defensive lineman) Leonard (Williams), who has been in the league eight years now. We were talking to (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) a little bit yesterday, about you’re feeling for some of these guys that are getting a taste of this for the first time?
A: Haven’t thought about it, relative to just our team, what we need to do, how we need to prepare. Like I said before, they’ve earned the right to be here and now we have to have a good week. We have to practice the right way; we have to prepare the right way and ultimately have to go out there on Sunday and play a good football game.
Q: It seems like Leonard has been dealing with a lot of pain and playing through it, how much appreciation do you have for what he’s been going through?
A: I’d say I have appreciation for all the players. If you remember (HOF coach Bill) Parcells’ Hall of Fame speech, those guys are dinged up, they’re sore, they go through a lot all the way from OTA’s on. So, it’s a players’ game. I just respect what they do, I appreciate what they do, from Leo all the way down. (Safety Xavier) X (McKinney) coming back with his hand. It’s important to them, they care the game, they care about their team and a great appreciation for those guys.
Q: You mentioned McKinney, it’s certainly an interesting journey for him from the Bye Week. You guys could’ve handled it a bunch of different ways with him considering what has happened. What was important or most important for you when you dealt with him? I know you said his health obviously, but did you pay attention to how the team reacted to him, his teammates in the locker room. Did that kind of influence how you kind of approached that situation with him coming back?
A: I think anytime something happens, if you have a good team, guys that care about each other, obviously you feel bad for the guy. But he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do since he’s been injured to get ready to come back and be at his best. So, just appreciate his work ethic, his commitment to the team, and then ultimately coming back out and playing.
Q: Teams with quarterbacks in the playoffs making their first career start haven’t done very well historically the last decade, two decades. What makes you think that (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) could be different?
A: Yeah, just like some of the other things, I don’t concern myself with that. That’s years past. I think, go out there, have a good week, prepare the right way, and then go play a good game. That’s what we’re all trying to do.
Q: Is there anything about him specifically that would make you think he would be sort of unaffected by the situation and the pressure?
A: I think you’d have to ask him. He’s done a good job this week.
Q: In your opinion, what you see from him.
A: No, I see him just like all the other guys. Being consistent, working hard, doing the things we need to try to do.
Q: I think you said last week or two weeks ago that Adoree’ would go right down to the wire. Do you feel like everybody else is a yes right now and is Adoree’ down to the wire again?
A: I’d say we have another day here with some of those guys, but I’m optimistic with the guys that we have.
Q: What do you think it is about (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) that he seems to really embrace the big moment? He’s talked about it since before the season and he’s done it during the year.
A: That’s a good question. I don’t know, he’s just done what we’ve asked him to do since he’s been here. Obviously, he was a high recruit, then he was a good player at Oregon. I think the one thing that he’s done is he’s just kind of listened to the veterans. I think those guys like Leo, (running back) Saquon (Barkley), Adoree’ and (defensive lineman) Dex (Dexter Lawrence) have really kind of taken him under their wing and he’s just doing a good job of being a good teammate and getting better each week.
Q: Anything in particular on your mind from the first matchup in Minnesota you’re trying to take into this week?
A: Yeah, I think you take everything into account. You definitely study that tape; you study all the other tapes. It’s a one-game season, so you put everything you’ve got into it.
Q: How many times would you say you’ve watched that tape at this point?
A: A lot. I’d just say a lot, I don’t know.
Q: Anymore Skol chant at practice this week?
A: Yeah, we try to blare it up as loud as we can, all the music that we got. Anticipating a pretty hostile crowd.
Q: A lot’s been made of the players on this roster that don’t necessarily have playoff experience, but the way you guys have played throughout this year, the way you guys have won this year, the not necessarily winning pretty, does that almost prepare you for the playoffs? Because that tends to seem how a lot of those games go.
A: Each week throughout the season you learn from your experiences, good or bad. We try to compete for 60 minutes. When you’re playing in the playoffs, you’re playing a really good football team, so everybody’s going to be at their best.
Q: When you’re drafting a pass rusher, obviously you have his tape in college. How do you project that he will be able to finish games in the pros?
A: Talking about like in the fourth quarter?
Q: Yeah, like that he’ll be able to make a play to win the game.
A: You look at stuff like that. I think that guys particularly that you pick in the higher rounds, you want them to play, you evaluate how they do they play in the biggest moments. I don’t put too much on Kayvon. He’s a guy that’s in his first playoff game, but I’d just say that he’s approached everything we’ve asked him to do the right way.
Q: Evan Neal has had some tough games this year. What have you guys done to try to keep his confidence up along the way? Where do you feel like it’s at right now going into this game?
A: I think we do the same with all our players. We come back after games, we correct the things we need to correct. We emphasize what they did well, and then we go out there and try to practice and improve the things that we didn’t do as well and keep on building the things that we did well.
Q: Is there a point on Saturday night, maybe after you’ve met with the team, where you sit down and say to yourself, ‘alright I’m going to have my steak, I’m done preparing, let’s just go play the game’?
A: You lost me at steak. (Laughs)
Q: Is there a point on Saturday night where you say, ‘I’m done preparing, let’s just go play the game’?
A: Absolutely. Today’s an important day, we do a lot of situational stuff today. We’ll have our meetings tomorrow morning, we’ll get on an airplane, we’ll go have some meetings at night and then I don’t really say a lot the night before games. It’s a players game, we’ve prepared the right way, now we’ve got to go out there and play.
Q: You don’t say a lot before games?
A: Not a lot, no. It’s a players game. I say a lot during the week getting them ready but the night before the game to me, that’s players’ time. Same right before the game, that’s players’ time. It’s a players game and we’ve got good leaders in our room and we’re just going to go out and play.
Q: When you were with (coach) Eric (Mangini) with the Jets, he used to often bring in somebody on Saturday night before the game, what did you make of that and did you..
A: Bring in people?
Q: Yeah, to talk. He used to bring in certain guys, (bring) in boxers, that was kind of his thing.
A: I’d say that’s more of an offseason thing for us. It’s really our team, our coaches, some staff members. We meet offensively, defensively, in the kicking game, and go get a steak.
Q: Not talking to your players prior to the game or the night before, do you though talk to your leaders, your captains, to say, ‘we want to get this message to the rest of the team’? Do you leave it up to them to send that message?
A: I meet with them this morning. So, I meet with the captains and within that meeting are the coordinators too, so there’s obviously a message, it’s kind of the final message before practice on Friday. Maybe some things to help me out with, with the locker room or anything that they want to bring up. We’re all inclusive in this, we’re all in this together. It’s their team, it’s the players’ team, so I’m just a spoke on a wheel.