Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: It'll be good to get out there outside today and get a good practice in.
Q: There are a lot of names, but can you kind of tick through some of the injured guys there?
A: I would just say, in general, looks promising for quite a bit of guys.
Q: Who's not going to practice?
A: Today – (guard Shane) Lemieux, (offensive lineman Joshua) Ezeudu and (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson). Everybody else is going to practice.
Q: What kind of lift is that for your team to look around and know they're getting that many guys back?
A: Well, let's see how it goes at practice. We'll go full pads today. We'll do some good hitting, kind of see where guys are at and take it day-by-day and get to Friday, and hopefully we'll have some guys back.
Q: What is it about (tight end Daniel) Bellinger that he needs to clear to be able to play? I know it's a little different because it's about, I guess, the contact part of it.
A: I would say he's trending in the right direction. So, we'll see how it goes out there today, but I'm optimistic for Belly.
Q: When they came back to work on Monday, what was your general message to the team for the stretch run?
A: Really, let's get ready to go for Washington. Got an extra day here to prepare, and let's take each day and make the most of it.
Q: So, (center Jon) Feliciano – do you just plug him back in? Or did (center) Nick (Gates) show you enough where that's a decision you're going to make?
A: I would say relative to the guys coming back, there's still a few days here. Let's get through practice today; let's go to the next day. I don't want to make some split-second decision. I think that's one of the reasons we're going pads: Let's work a little bit on the running game. Let's get some of these guys back and see how they operate in contact stuff.
Q: Do you have a policy just in general like you can't lose your job to injury, or is that type of deal where it opens the door?
A: I wouldn't have one either way. I think we just do what's best for the team.
Q: How did Nick grade out of that game?
A: He did okay. (There's) some stuff he can do better, but he did a good job.
Q: Is Shane's (Lemieux) situation something that could be long-term here?
A: Don't know that.
Q: Is it the same exact toe?
A: Yeah, it's his toe. I think we're trying to be smart with him. I know he wants to be out here, but we're trying to do right by the player, too.
Q: I know you mentioned Ezeudu and the neck thing last week not being super serious. Is there anything that's changing on that front regarding the severity?
A: No, not too much. Again, just not ready to go for today.
Q: Would you consider Jon at center and Nick at guard?
A: I think we'd consider whatever we think is best. If we have a bunch of guys out here, we'll roll them in and see how everyone operates.
Q: We're talking a lot about your offensive line. Their (the Washington Commander's) defensive line is a rare one with four first-round draft pick talents on it. What kind of difficult challenge do they pose? What makes them so good?
A: They're good at the run and the pass. I think that's what (makes them so good). I think having strong fronts – both defense and offensively – is kind of where you want to build your football team. And they certainly have done it. I think the last eight games, they've up 16 points – that's without (Commanders defensive end) Chase (Young). So, they've got some other good players in there – two Bama (University of Alabama) guys inside. I was with (Commanders defensive tackle Daron) Payne for that one year. (Commanders defensive tackle Johnathan) Allen. (Defensive end Montez) Sweat. They're challenging on both fronts. They don't give up a lot of points. They haven't given up a lot of points here in the last eight weeks or six and seven. I think they play physical style football. (Commanders head) Coach (Ron) Rivera – I got a lot of respect for him and how he. They're physical on both sides of the ball and the kicking game. That's what I think makes a good football team.
Q: I realize you always prefer to focus on the day-to-day and small picture, but (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) yesterday suggested that you relayed a big picture thought about the season starting now. What were you trying to get across to your players with that?
A: I think December…when you play meaningful games in December, I think that's why we all do this. You go all the way back to OTAs and to preseason and the beginning part of the season; now you're in December. And I've been on teams that have played meaningful games in December, and I've been part of teams that haven't. It's not a lot of fun when you're not playing meaningful games. So, let's come to work with a great attitude, a positive mindset. Keep getting better. And you focus on the week's opponent: That's how you have to do it. But they're important games now.
Q: When was the last time you went pads, and what does that mean? I guess the objective is to –
A: We went pads the week before Houston.
Q: Is the objective to – you talked about the running game – to help that running game? And how does that help it?
A: I think practicing in the things that you're wearing (in a game) help. Obviously, we've done a lot of it all the way up until now. You want to make sure you're taking care of the players. They're fresh; they've had a couple days off. So again, I think this was a good day to do it.
Q: How do you think your team is handling losing recently?
A: I think the way they're handling winning – they're consistent. We've all been in this league a long time. The last time that you haven't faced adversity will be the first time. You're going to face it. Week 1, Week 5, Week 10. So, the approach is to be consistent, like the message I've tried to give really since I've been here.
Q: Do you want to get (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) back into the running game more than he has been the last couple of weeks? Is that something that's holding back the whole running game in general?
A: I think there's a bunch of different ways to run a quarterback. So, in a lot of ways, he'll zone read it or he'll have a decision to make, whether that's to give it to the running back or keep it, that's some of it. But we'll put together the best plan we can and go out there and work at it.
Q: You've obviously worked for a couple of the greatest head coaches ever. When they get to December, have you seen them change their approach with their team in any way? Or how do they conduct it?
A: The guys I've worked for, those two guys (Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Alabama head coach Nick Saban) are pretty consistent. Again, I think each person runs their team the way they want to run it. I think being consistent with your approach, with your process, with your preparation, I think that's the way to do it.
Q: You've talked about breaking up the season into quarters.
A: We're (at) the last game of the third quarter.
Q: What makes you think that your team is ready to peak in these December games when you get to that fourth quarter?
A: I'd just say we're trying to get ready to play this week. That's the most important game. It's the fourth game of our third quarter here in the season. And we're going to try to do the best we can to try to get ready.
Q: Do you think getting results early in the season, winning games early, helps a team stay confident when you go through a stretch like this?
A: I don't know. I've been part of teams that have lost early and remained confident, that have won early. To me, the biggest thing as a leader is to remain consistent with your approach, to not get too high or low, to not ride any waves. Again, it's human nature at times. So, your job as a leader is to focus on the things you can control and coach them up.
Q: Chase Young – he hasn't played this year, obviously. And he might play this week. So, what's your sense of how you guys are preparing (for) where he might line up? Throughout his career, he's lined up all over. Last year against you guys – you weren't here – (he was) 50/50 on both sides. How do you prep for that?
A: You never know exactly what you're going to get each week. You're always facing good players. We'll see how many snaps he plays when he gets back. Obviously, he's a dynamic guy with where he was selected, how he's played. All hands on deck.
Q: Two player questions for you – (cornerback) Rodarius (Williams). It seems like he made two good plays. He jumped the pick, and then he stayed with him on the go-route. What have you seen from him just coming back? Obviously, he missed quite a bit of time.
A: The short time he's been back, I think he's improved out here each day at practice, and again, it's good to see guys make some plays when they're working hard. We'll need him to continue to do that.
Q: The other one was (safety) Landon (Collins). He played – I want to say twice – right after you guys signed him. (You) haven't elevated him in a while. Is it just he hasn't fit in the game plan with other inside linebackers? What's kind of happened with him?
A: Each week we talk about the roster and whether it's the defensive scheme, the offensive scheme, what we need, that could change. That changes on a week-to-week basis.
Q: Are you worried about a guy getting frustrated in that spot when he's been up (on the active roster), and then he's down (on the practice squad) for three or four games?
A: No, that's the National Football League.
Q: (Cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott is out of the protocol?
A: No, he's still in the protocol.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: This is your first meaningful December game since you've been here. How excited are you and your team for these games coming up?
A: We're extremely excited. We're fired up, ready to go. It's a divisional game, like you said – a meaningful game in December. This is where you want to be, these are the games you want to play in. We're all fired up and can't wait to get out there.
Q: When you look at where you are as a football team – a very good record but the last two weeks you've lost ball games. Do you think you need to get your mojo back as a team to build some momentum again?
A: Every week's a big game. The last two haven't gone great, but our visions are set forward. We're going forward and looking forward to this opportunity. It's a big game for us, like we said, a divisional game, a meaningful December game. We're fired up, we're ready to go. No doubt it's a big game.
Q: What kind of respect do you have for this Washington team?
A: They're a good team, they're a good team. They've been playing really well. On defense, up front, they're talented. A lot of really good players up front – and in the backend too. They're a good team and we'll have to play a good game.
Q: How do you expect your team to respond this week?
A: I expect us to respond well. I expect us to play a really good game, play a clean game and that's what we're certainly planning on doing. I think our mindset is right, our approach is right, and we'll focus on what we have to do this week at practice and make sure we're in a good spot going into Sunday. I think we're all fired up, we're all excited for the opportunity.
Q: What's it like to be in the playoff race? You haven't been in this kind of spot late in the season. What are your expectations?
A: It's exciting. I think this is where you want to be, these are the games you want to play in and to be part of it is exciting, but it still comes down to one week at a time, taking care of business and focusing on what's immediately in front of you. That's the only way you're going to be in the position you want to be in at the end of the season. That's what we're focused on, taking care of business this week, and playing as well as we can.
Q: (Washington Defensive End) Chase Young could make his return this week. What kind of difference would that make to have a guy like that back in the lineup for them?
A: Yeah, he's a good player. I've played against him in the past and he has the ability to affect the game from a pass-rush standpoint and certainly in the run game too. He's a good player, they've got a lot of good players up front. We'll have a plan for him. A lot of faith in our guys, they've been playing really well too.
Q: How much is that what sticks out when you look at it? That front that they have there.
A: I think that's certainly the strength of their defense is those guys up front, but they've got players across the board who can make plays. We'll have a plan for them.
Q: You've been prone to run this year both as a quarterback and as an offense. What do you guys got to do to get that going again?
A: I think it just comes down to executing and making sure we're putting ourselves in a good position each play to execute – we're doing our jobs. That falls on all of us to do that, preparing each day at practice and setting up well for Sunday.
Q: What do you say to the idea that people think that (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) is slowing down here and the usage is just starting to catch up to him? What have you seen from that regard and what do you say to that theory?
A: People are going to talk and look for something to say. I certainly haven't seen that. I think he's playing well and I'm excited to watch him get out there on Sunday.
Q: What's impressed you the most about (Head Coach) Brian Daboll as a rookie head coach and the way that he's connected with the players and just led this team in general?
A: I think guys have responded to his style of coaching, his way of relating to players. I think he's done a good job planning each week and making sure we're prepared as a team based on what the other team is doing. I feel like we've been prepared for pretty much everything.
Q: Do you think his approach is a player-friendly approach, and if so, why?
A: Yeah, I think so. He tries to build genuine relationships – I think it starts there. He's done a good job with that.
Q: When you guys are going through a losing streak like this, because you guys won so many games early, is it easier to think of yourselves as winners who are in a rut, rather than getting bogged down in the recent results?
A: Yeah, I mean we still have a lot of confidence in this team. I don't think anyone sees reason to lose faith or lose confidence in our team. We're a good team and certainly we need to do some things better over the last couple of games that we haven't done that we were doing better in the beginning of the year, but we're confident we're a good football team.
Outside Linebacker Azeez Ojulari
Q: Do you feel 100 percent?
A: Yeah. I feel good. I feel back, for sure.
Q: Do you think that getting to get this reveal look with you and (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) as a pairing could be a healthy thing? Do you think that can now work out, and you can help his game and vice versa?
A: Yeah, definitely. Just working off each other. I definitely feel like the way we rush and the way we play, we can definitely work with each other for sure.
Q: How excited is this team, you, excited to be playing these meaningful games in December?
A: Yeah, it's very exciting. This is what we live for in the NFL. The best time, the best football. December, it's time to just play your best. You know?
Q: How optimistic are you that you can be out there this week?
A: I'm ready man, I'm so excited. It's been a minute, been watching from the side and now is the time to get out there and do what I do.
Q: You don't think you need more than a couple of days of practice?
A: You just got to go with the schedule. Day by day try to work hard, get better, get my feet back under me and get ready to work.
Q: When you look at it, going back to training camp, you come in banged up. I imagine your second season just hasn't gone – can you feel like you can still salvage something in these last five, six games?
A: Oh yeah, for sure. Just go one game at a time and give my all every game. At the end of the year, we'll see what it is.
Q: What were you expecting from your second season?
A: I didn't expect to be out for sure. I just wanted to come in, be me, impactful player and just help the team win.
Q: Do you feel like you must be a late-season trade acquisition? "Hey, you're the guy to come in and take this thing to another level."
A: Every game I want to take it to another level. Just bring it, all I got for the team for whatever I do to help the team win. At the end of the day, all we want to do is win on this long stretch. We got the last few games and just go compete.
Q: How would you describe what you've been through already this year?
A: I don't know. It's tough. Just rocky.
Q: Have there been dark moments where you've been really upset?
A: Yeah, I have. When I tried to come back, and I got hurt again, that really was frustrating. It's all going to work out, and just thank God I'm back and happy, ready to work.
Q: How do you handle frustrations? Are you a faith guy? Are you a scream in a pillow guy? Are you a talk to your parents' guy? How did you handle frustration?
A: Talking to family. Relax, thank God. It's all going to work out. I believe I'm strong, and I'm just confidant in myself, teammates and everyone. I'm good.
Q: We're not getting a practice and injury report today because it's a Tuesday. If we did, would you be listed as a full participant?
Q: Do you have to do anything to keep yourself healthy? Stretch earlier or?
A: The crazy part is that I was doing everything right. You just can't control it. I was doing what I had to, everything on time – stretching, treatment, extra. It was just like, I don't know.
Q: Are you doing anything different now?
A: No, the same. Just staying on top of it because I don't want it to happen no more.
Q: Remind me, was it hurt in a game or?
A: No, I hurt it – the first time I hurt it in a game, the Chicago game at the end. And then, I was trying to come back, and I got hurt again at practice getting ready for Jacksonville. Felt great, though, that's the thing, so I was trying to give it a go. I was tired. I didn't want to be out so, I got hurt again.
Q: First time you did it, wasn't the practice with the Jets?
A: Yeah, that was my right one. That was camp. This was a different one, left one. I did that at the end of the Bears game and then I was trying to come back, and I hurt it again in practice.
Q: Is there anything they can pinpoint why?
A: I don't know.
Q: They haven't said?
A: Yeah, nothing really.
Q: What do you think it'll be like – we got a taste of it – with you and Kayvon on the edge? That was supposed to be the dynamic duo. What do you think it'll be like? He's healthy, was he even playing when you were playing or was he out?
A: We played together. The two games, Dallas and the Bears.
Q: Both were his first two games. Now that he's rounding into form and you have a year under, what could it be like?
A: I just feel like we can make an impact, both ways for sure. Just trying to play our best, we need to. Especially this last stretch of the season.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: How important is football in December for the New York Football Giants?
A: I always say that the games in December matter most. Two division opponents with a winning record, you can't ask for any better. We're excited for it. Washington's going to be prepared so I'm looking forward to it.
Q: Are you hopeful that this line is a little healthier and you're back together?
A: Yeah, it's tough dealing with injuries but we have a resilient group. I'm excited for another opportunity to go out there and show what we can do.
Q: How do you put the last two games behind you and just focus on going ahead now at 7-4?
A: Yeah, that's the league. You get 17 guaranteed opportunities, so you have to have a quick mindset regardless of if you played well or bad, gearing up and being ready for next week.
Q: How difficult is the challenge of this defensive line? You've faced them a few times already in your career, four first-round picks. How difficult can they be?
A: Their front seven is very disruptive. Like you said, talent all over the place. Not just that, they play physical, they run to the ball. So, we have to be prepared for that, be able to get movement at the line of scrimmage and protect (Quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ to allow him to make plays.
Q: What do you expect if (Commanders Defensive End) Chase Young plays? Hasn't played all year but what do you expect from a guy who was dominant early in his career?
A: He's definitely explosive, when he gets off the ball, he plays hard, good set of moves, so we have to be prepared for him.
Q: How do you get this rushing attack back going again? Because it was really in a high gear early on.
A: It's just execution. I think we play hard, we play physical, it's just execution. Making sure we're going to the right mic point, making sure we have our technique. Basically, just execution.
Q: Do you expect (Tackle) Evan (Neal) back this week?
A: He was at practice today moving around so hopefully he can come back and help us out this week. But we just want him to take his time and make sure he's healthy before he comes back.
Q: You could get your fifth different left guard this week. How is that? How do you manage that?
A: I'm used to it at this point. It's just part of the NFL. People go down, but like I said we have a resilient bunch that do a good job of coming in. We prepare, everyone prepares like they're going to play that week, so they do a good job of that.
Q: You could be for 10-12 years linked to Chase Young from that draft class, forever. Do you take the games against him any different than you do against other dominant pass rushers if he winds up on your side?
A: No, not really. Any dominant pass rusher in this league I get excited for and that's the beauty of playing left tackle. Every week there's going to be somebody that's a war daddy out there that you've got to be prepared for. So, I don't look at him any different than the other top rushers in the league.
Q: You know this better than I would, but when he's faced you guys in the past is he usually on your side or he bounces? He's like a 50/50 guy?
A: Yeah, so when both of them are in the game, going back to last year they would switch sides just depending on how they felt. Some games they would play more on my side, and I remember we played they would flip-flop different sides, so we'll see.
Q: What's more normal, that in a given game like you'll get both guys? Or is it more common that you'll get one guy all the time?
A: Going back to my rookie year I got one guy most of it and then last year they flip-flopped a little more.
Q: In recent weeks you guys haven't rushed well are other teams simply saying let's stack the box and make these guys throw?
A: I would say in the NFL it's hard to run the ball. I think we had early success with it and it's not something that's easy to do. We were able to do it consecutively for a little while but it's not an easy thing to do so we're just going back to the drawing board. We haven't really changed up our scheme that much it's just, like I said, making sure it's the execution, making sure we're getting movement at the line of scrimmage, half of a hat. Getting Saquon and the backs room to make plays.
Q: I know there was a sentiment that Chase might end up here in that draft. Did you think you might end up in Washington?
A: No, I didn't think I was going there.
Q: No, because they were two, right?
A: They were two, yeah.
Q: You didn't visit there or anything?
Tight End Daniel Bellinger
Q: What's the biggest challenge going to be for you in order to get back out there and be productive?
A: Just getting back into a rhythm. Getting back into getting speed, and I feel good about it. The biggest step was obviously hitting and hitting hard with my helmet and pads on, and it felt good today.
Q: Was there any psychological part of this to not be afraid of getting hit?
A: Yeah, the thing today was to see how I felt about the eye, and I wasn't apprehensive about it. I felt good going out there, and I felt comfortable hitting, and I didn't feel like I had to slow up or anything like that. I felt comfortable going out there and just playing ball.
Q: I assume you are going to wear a visor?
A: Oh absolutely. That's another thing is just getting used to that visor when I hit, and the sweat comes off it. I never had to wear one like that so just kind of getting used to that as well.
Q: Does it affect your pass-catching abilities, seeing through it?
A: No, just something I still have to get used to with the visor, but it hasn't really affected me at all.
Q: How long did it take from the time you were hurt until you had regular vision?
A: It took a few weeks. Right after the injury I had a few days before surgery for the swelling to go down. So, I'd say about a week until surgery and then post-surgery about a couple of weeks.
Q: It's all cleared up now?
A: Yeah, it's cleared up now.
Q: Was today kind of the final check point there? You've been running and catching but having physical contact?
A: Yeah, the final step is to just see how I feel about it, but it's still going day by day and step by step to see how I feel. It's about obviously the hitting stuff which I feel comfortable with, but it's also seeing the strain that the eye takes because the muscles when they took that blow, just kind of seeing the strain that they take with the physical activity each day.
Q: So, you're still getting vision tests regularly?
A: Yeah, I mean I still do stuff with the (athletic) trainers just to make sure the eyes ok but I've had no setbacks, which is good.
Q: What do they do? Do they shine a light in your eye?
A: It's kind of like concussion tests protocol stuff, like convergence and just seeing if the eye is the same as this eye, and it's all been good.
Q: Is the double vision gone?
Q: Good for you.
A: Yeah, thank you.
Q: How long has the double vision been gone?
A: It's been gone probably a few days. It's slowly getting back to where it was, and I was doing some convergence today, and it's a lot better than what it was.
Q: Is it almost one of those things whereas you're progressing by weeks you think it's getting better and then if you compare it to what it is the following week it's so much better than what you thought?
A: Yeah, the doctor when I talked to him at my last appointment, he was saying at first, it's going to be really big jumps. At first, it's going to be like, oh you can't see anything and then after a while you'll see something. But then he said as it progresses it will get smaller and smaller. I'll notice small differences, but then there won't be big leaps like there was.
Q: Are you confident right now? Do you feel 100% confident in your eye to play, if you play Sunday?
A: I'm still taking it day by day just seeing how it feels, but today it felt good, and I felt comfortable.
Q: Is the double vision gone?
Q: How about playing in December football? These are meaningful games, first year in the NFL. How does that feel?
A: It feels really good. It feels good to be a part of this team and to have the opportunity. (Head) Coach (Brian) Dabs (Daboll) talks about like a lot of teams don't have the opportunity, so it feels good to have the opportunity. Of course, we've got to capitalize on it.
Offensive Tackle Evan Neal
Q: If they had to put a label on the injury report – full, limited – what would you have been today?
A: I was full today.
Q: So, you're ready to be back?
A: Oh, yeah. I felt good out there today. Felt good to be back.
Q: Any lingering effects at all?
A: I didn't feel anything. Felt good, really promising.
Q: What have these last five weeks been like just waiting for that time to get back out there?
A: Pretty much just rehabbing and taking the time to just evaluate the previous games that I've played. Like I said previously, it just gave me a different perspective. But I definitely like the perspective of me being out there rather than being on the sideline.
Q: Can you learn things on the sideline?
A: Yeah, taking visual reps, mental reps. Just taking notes even if you're not up to play that week, keeping up with the game plan and stuff like that. Get a new perspective.
Q: Do you feel like part of the calvary riding to the rescue? I mean, it's you, it's (Tight End) Daniel (Bellinger), it's (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari). It's a lot of guys…
A: I wouldn't word it like that, but we are just ready to get back out here and make a positive impact and hopefully help the team win. That's what it's about.
Q: How much do you think this can help the run game, having a bunch of you guys back at the same time?
A: I feel like it can help the run game tremendously. It's all just about execution. That's the bottom line. I'm just excited to keep working this week, getting back into the groove of it, getting those reps and seeing what happens on Sunday.
Q: Did you like being in pads today?
A: Yes, sir. I definitely got my live reps that I've been asking for.
Q: How much do you think that played into it? Did he (Head Coach Brian Daboll) say anything about that – about not just you personally, but you have a bunch of guys coming back? So, to get the reps with the pads, it seems like it would be beneficial to you guys who are in that situation.
A: You can see where you're at. You know, the injured guys can see how much you can do. If you need to keep going or if you need to reel it back. That's definitely the benefit of having padded practices. Obviously, in the NFL, it's unrealistic to have padded practices every day. I know in some places they do or whatever. It's just good to go out there and take those live reps during the week.
Q: Is that a college thing, though – everybody had padded practices all the time?
A: Yeah, that's a college thing – especially at Alabama for sure.
Q: What did you think of (Commanders Running Back) Brian Robinson's big hat?
A: That's B-Rob (laughs). That's just B-Rob. He's always doing something quirky or funny like that – just different. That's just him.
Q: Are you happy for him – how he's bounced back this season?
A: I'm extremely happy for B-Rob, especially his tenure at Alabama – virtually sitting there and really waiting on his time, fighting a good fight, getting opportunities, getting to the NFL and then the adversity he overcame – the situation with the shooting and whatnot – you know how he bounced back from that. I'm extremely proud of him. I'm ready to swap that jersey this weekend.
Q: How did you hear about it?
A: The shooting?
Q: Social media?
A: Social media, yeah.
Q: Will you be happy if he doesn't do well Sunday?
A: (Laughs) Well, we aren't on the same team anymore. Obviously, I want him to do well for his individual career. But I don't want him to do well because I want us to win. I'll put it like that.