EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dabs' Digest, Giants.com's weekly conversation with head coach Brian Daboll:
Q: Tommy DeVito will make his first career start Sunday in Dallas. You've had several instances in your career where injuries have prompted you to start inexperienced quarterbacks. In Cleveland in 2010, you lost Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace and played Colt McCoy when he was a rookie. Do those situations help you integrate a young quarterback now?
Daboll: "I think any experience helps, but it's all unique to the specific situation that you're in. We've done that at Cleveland, obviously with Colt. In Buffalo in Josh (Allen's) first year, we had Nate Peterman, Matt Barkley, Derek Anderson and Josh; we had four different quarterbacks. Again, every situation is different. You try to put the player that's playing that spot in as good a position as you can. Those guys do everything they can do to get ready to play a game. You've got to make sure they can handle what you're giving them."
Q: You mentioned earlier in the week that you try to tailor the offense to what a particular quarterback likes and eliminate what he's not comfortable with. When you have a quarterback with such a limited body of work, is that even more important?
Daboll: "I think it's the whole, it's not just the play in and of itself, it's how you call the play, how much verbiage you use, how quickly you get it into the quarterback, the reminders you can give the quarterback during a game. There's a lot that goes into it. (Offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka's job is to make sure that he's communicating very well with the quarterback throughout the game and then throughout the week, which I think Mike and Shea (Tierney, the quarterbacks coach) do a really good job of communicating with those guys. You got to spend a lot of time with them, how you call the game as a play caller, relative to who your quarterback is and the communication process that needs to take place is very important."
Q: You've had young, inexperienced quarterbacks take over. How about getting the team to believe that you can perform and win with a young quarterback with little game experience?
Daboll: "It all comes down to doing your job. Everybody has to do their job, the quarterback has to do his job, which is making sure to get all the stuff aligned properly before the snap even happens. That's a big challenge for a lot of these quarterbacks, particularly young ones, the verbiage of the play, the communication in the huddle, the personnel switches, the motion landmarks, the timing of the snap, the different snap variations. There are a lot of things that go on in the quarterback's head before the snap. So, making sure we're on point with that to give ourselves a chance to execute after the snap of the ball."
Q: Almost every team brings in a rookie free agent quarterback at some point in the spring to have an extra passer in training camp. You certainly had a choice regarding which to sign. What initially impressed you with Tommy DeVito?
Daboll: "He worked out at the rookie camp, did a good job, has a good arm, is accurate, is an athletic player in terms of his setup, can make a few loose plays, was a smart guy. A lot of good qualities to work with a good young quarterback to try to help him develop."
Q: He seems to have a very even-tempered demeanor. Doesn't get too high, never gets too low…
Daboll: "He's got a little personality to him and that's good; he has his own personality. He doesn't try to be like any other players. He tries to be him, and I'd say that the players respect that. I think the defensive players like that a lot, too. He's got a little bit of juice, a young guy that's got a little moxie to him. He's been good to work with."
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 10 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Q: Another week, another offensive line combination probably. Tyre Phillips will be stepping in for Evan Neal (at right tackle), so that will be nine starting combinations in 10 games. At this point, the players must be pretty adept at dealing with change.
Daboll: "I think (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson) has done a good job, but the players that we have in that room are all smart, they're good teammates that communicate well with one another. You'd love as much consistency as you can get, but for most of the season that hasn't been it."
Q: Last week, the Raiders had eight sacks, but that was misleading, considering they were credited with two on the plays Daniel Jones went down untouched. Did you think that group played pretty well last week?
Daboll: "Yeah, I think our line has really improved throughout the season. We have a tough challenge ahead versus this defensive line (in Dallas this week) and have to play the game the right way in order to also help that, but it's not just the line. It's the quarterback throwing it on time, the receivers being where they're supposed to be, playing in good, favorable positions, obviously not getting down when you're down. It then becomes a little bit of a passing game. So, just playing a good complementary game."
Q: There have been 10 instances since 1970 of a division team losing by 40 or more points in the first game vs. a division foe and then winning the rematch later in the season. When you've lost to a team by 40 points at home and now you're going to play them on the road with a rookie quarterback, how do you instill confidence in your players that they can compete?
Daboll: "Every week is a new week."
Q: Does it matter that it's a division game? Some of the players say there's more juice in a division game.
Daboll: "Anytime you play a team in your division and they're a good football team just in the NFL in general, you've got to prepare the best way you can to go out there and play the best you can."
Q: Dak (Prescott) and CeeDee (Lamb) have been very productive the last two weeks. As you watch the tape, is their passing offense playing at a high level?
Daboll: "Sure. Dak's been there for a while, familiar in the system, coach (Mike) McCarthy does a good job. CeeDee is one of the better receivers in the league, he creates space. They line him up in a variety of spots. He's the main target for Dak and you can see they're in sync."
Q: I didn't know much about Jake Ferguson, but he had a big game last week.
Daboll: "He's a good tight end. He can really do everything a good tight end has to in this league. He can block, he does a good job in the passing game. He's got good hands, he's tough. He seems instinctive and smart. I think he's a good player."
Q: Their defense doesn't seem to have lost a whole lot without (injured cornerback Travon) Diggs because DeRon Bland is playing well.
Daboll: "He's a good corner. They play good, complementary defense. Their rush and their coverage are tied together, and they create issues and a variety of spots that they can really get after the passer, especially if it becomes that type of game. The corners are good corners, Bland's a good corner. (Stephon) Gilmore is a veteran who knows how to play the game, got a lot of respect for him, tied together well, good defense. "
Q: Do they move Micah Parsons around a lot?
Daboll: "They move him around a lot. He's a problem everywhere he lines up."
Q: We always talk about the special teams when we play Dallas. Do you have to be more prepared for gadget plays when you play them? (Coordinator) John Fassel likes to use them.
Daboll: "He does a lot of stuff. That's something that you practice during the week, you give a variety of looks. Probably won't be the exact look that they do, but you definitely have to be aware of it because Coach Fassel does like to mix it up and keep you on your toes."