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Coach Daboll Weekly Q&A

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Dabs' Digest: 1-on-1 with Coach Brian Daboll


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dabs' Digest,'s weekly conversation with head coach Brian Daboll:

Q: Would winning the final two games change your feelings about the season as a whole?

Daboll: "We're only focused on the Rams and trying to do everything we can do to get ready to play a good game."

Q: You decided to start Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. He seems to be more willing to throw the ball down the field than the other quarterbacks. Do you think that has something to do with experience? That guys who are in the league for a while get a mindset that they must take chances sometimes?

Daboll: "I just think for really every position, particularly the quarterback position, you read it out. If that's where the coverage is telling you to go with the ball, let it go. If it's not, do something else with it."

Q: Do you think it's worth it, even if it's 50-50, to take occasional shots down the field?

Daboll: "Yeah. I think you have to try to affect the entire field but make good decisions with the football at the quarterback position."

Q: Darius Slayton is seven catches shy of his career high. He leads the team again with 600-something yards. I don't know that he's ever been described as steady, but he seems to have the same production every year, he's very consistent. What do you think?

Daboll: "I think that's a good word. Consistent, comes in, prepares hard, practices hard and makes the most of his opportunities."

Q: Last year, we talked a lot about Sterling Shepard and how he helped the team when he was injured. This year, he's in uniform. He played one snap the other day. Have you seen that same team-first spirit in him this year?

Daboll: "Yeah. Shep's a good teammate and he has his role. If he's called upon, I know he would be ready to go."

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.

Q: Andrew Thomas has been back now for seven games, which is one more than the number of games that he missed. Is he back to where he was pre-injury in your estimation?

Daboll: "He does a good job for us, good leadership. He's a good player for us."

Q: I hate to measure a player by what happens when he's not in the game, but after Deonte Banks left the game the other day, A.J. Brown's production increased. Can you talk about how well Deonte has played?

Daboll: "Each week he gets better, has the right mindset for a player, particularly a rookie. He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's been progressing each week with his techniques and his fundamentals. Obviously, he matched with a really good football player. I think he embraces the opportunity for improvement and doing his job."

Q: At this time last week, we thought Cade York would be the kicker and then he was injured in practice. Do you feel fortunate you were able to get a guy with Mason Crosby's pedigree in here on short notice?

Daboll: "Yes. I mean, he made a 52-yarder right off the bat. It was good to bring in a guy like that. He's been doing it a long time."

Q: Last week, you played a team that had lost three games in a row. Now, you're facing a team (the L.A. Rams) that's won five of its last six since its bye. As a coach, do you look at that?

Daboll: "No. I would say it's just that week and it's a good football team. They're playing well. Philadelphia is a good football team. Each week you're playing good football teams in this league. You have to prepare as hard as you can to try to play as well as you can."

Q: The Rams have an interesting and impressive collection of young players, (Kyren) Williams, (Puca) Nacua, Kobie Turner, Byron Young. Do you think they have a good young nucleus there?

Daboll: "You look at the entirety of the team. They have two, I'd say, top-notch leaders and players on both sides of the ball in (quarterback Matthew) Stafford and (defensive tackle Aaron) Donald. I think both of those players really help everybody else be as good as they can be."

Q: Stafford has 14 touchdowns and one interception in the last five games. Do you think he's playing as well as he ever has?

Daboll: "He's been one of the best quarterbacks in the league for a long time. He's missed one game (this season), right? Green Bay. What was that? 20-3 (Rams loss). His entire career, it goes back to when he was a rookie (in 2009) that we played him when I was at Cleveland, ended up being 38-37 and it became a back-and-forth game that comes down to the last play. He throws a Hail Mary, and he gets crushed. They call a pass interference penalty on a Hail Mary, and he has to go out of the game for a play, ended up calling a time out. He runs back on the field. He can't even move his (non-throwing) arm and throws a touchdown pass. He's tough. He's got an unbelievably strong, accurate arm. He can put the ball in places not many can. Take a look at the one touchdown he throws to (Cooper) Kupp against the Ravens on the blitz zero look. He throws the ball three steps before Kupp's even out of his break. He's an elite quarterback in this league. He drives the ship."

Q: When you watch tape of a quarterback like that with a lot of experience, do they just see things faster and pick things up quicker than younger players?

Daboll: "He did when he was young, too. It makes sense as to why he was picked where he was picked (first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft) and the production he has in this league. Experience always helps, of course, but he's a unique talent at a premium position and it's why he's got all the passing yards and a Super Bowl (victory). He's a hell of a player."

Q: Williams has played only 11 games, but he's still second in the league in rushing (with 1,057 yards).

Daboll: "I remember talking with him during the draft process. This is a guy who loves football. He's a high, high character, quality person who just loves the game, and it shows when he plays. He gets what's there plus more. Tough, instinctive. He was a really good player at Notre Dame, but let's say some of his intangibles really accentuate his strengths."

Q: Nacua was a fifth-round draft pick, and he might set the rookie records for catches and yards.

Daboll: "He's playing well. He's strong with the ball in his hands. Stafford finds him. He's had an incredible season for a rookie receiver."

Q: Everyone now knows about Nacua and Kupp, but Demarcus Robinson has a touchdown catch in each of the last four games.

Daboll: "They're doing a great job all the way around offensively. Again, Stafford drives it."

Q: You spoke of Aaron Donald yesterday in almost reverential terms – he's a special guy.

Daboll: "I've been in this league a long time and not many defensive linemen that play that position play the way he plays. He's a really hard player to block. He's got tons of awards. He's powerful, quick, strong, creates a lot of problems for everybody that he plays for as long as he has played. He's really a remarkable, remarkable, fantastic player."

Q: John Michael (Schmitz) is going block him for the first time. What do you say to a young lineman about playing a future Hall of Famer?

Daboll: "Do your job. It's not gonna be easy. He makes it hard on everybody."

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