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Coach Daboll Weekly Q&A

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Dabs' Digest: Physical & mental toughness on display


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

Q: You play the Packers Sunday in London, your first game overseas. Are you intrigued to see what it's like? Are you looking at it as a logistical challenge? A pain in the butt?

Daboll: "The best way to put it: I look at it as another game. We're privileged and honored to be part of this game overseas, but the way we approach it is it's the next game. Whatever the travel itinerary is, whenever we've got to leave, there's really nothing that we can do about it. So, just try to plan, prepare and be ready to go."

Q: Did you reach out to any of your coaching friends who have been there to seek advice and see how they've done it?

Daboll: "The good thing about it is that we've had some experience in the building from '07 and '16 (the Giants' first two visits to London). And then obviously, I've talked to guys that have been over there. And then I'd say that the medical staff and IT department and (Football) Ops department, they've done a great job. And LY (director of coaching operations Laura Young) kind of heads that up for me. And they're the experts on when we should leave, what we should do when we get there. And then I'll have my input, but I really rely on the people around me that have expertise in certain fields to help build our schedule and how we should do it."

Q: You're always telling the players, "Make sure you rest up and hydrate." This week, you had the layer of, "Make sure you have your passport" and other unique instructions. Is it a lot of the same thing, just a little more of it?

Daboll: "I think whatever you need to address during the beginning part of the week, and I would say again that Laura Young has done a fantastic job with all the logistics for that. We had the (athletic) trainers speak, operations people speak, our security speak, our team psychologist (Dr. Lani Lawrence) speak. We've tried to do the best thing for the players, which is have them as prepared as we can have them."

Q: It seems like you have more certainty at quarterback than you did Sunday evening. When you were devising the gameplan on Tuesday, did you have to include more contingencies than normal because you weren't sure about Daniel (Jones) at that point?

Daboll: "No. If there was another player that we added, there was a plan in case that had to happen because the guy would only be here for a couple of days, and you have to get him ready to play. You have to get him confident in the things he can do. So, in terms of that, yes. But in terms of a guy, whether it was Tyrod (Taylor) or Davis (Webb), no. They have a firm understanding of what we want to do."

Q: Every coach that has worked with Daniel, including you, has lauded his toughness. Was that something that stuck out when you watched tape of him before you worked with him on the field? And as you mentioned the other day, sometimes the coach has to protect a guy like that.

Daboll: "I'd say you can see his toughness in his play. And then you get to know the person, and there's two types of toughness. There's the physical toughness of wanting to continue to fight through things whether you're sore or nicked up. And then there's the mental toughness, which is probably more important for a quarterback, of dealing with adversity and all those things that go along with playing quarterback. He's a tough one."

Q: You're first in the NFL in rushing yardage and 31st in passing yardage. Has that evolved over the first four weeks, do you think, because Saquon (Barkley) is so dynamic, the line is doing a good job of blocking and you've had injuries at wide receiver?

Daboll: "From my seat, numbers don't matter to me. We try to do what we can do to win that game. The last few years, it's probably even flipped for me as a play-caller where I was top of the league in passing (as the offensive coordinator in Buffalo). The object of the game is to try to play a good, complementary game, do the things you need to do to win the game. Where you rank in rushing or third down, you always want to try to be as good as you can be. Every week, you always want to try to play the game, try to call the game. Do you always get the results? No. But the stats are the last thing on my mind."

Q: Do you expect the Packers and other teams to start loading up the box until you can do more in the passing game?

Daboll: "We've gotten loaded boxes the last four games. As the season goes on, I think teams develop. Not just our team – other teams develop, too. And each week is a tough week. It's a very humbling job this job because each week is as tough as it gets. There are really good players you play against, and there are really good coaches. And that's all they do is try to stop what you're good at and expose what you're not good at. That's every week when you're playing in the NFL. And that makes it challenging; that's why it's so great. So, we got to keep on focusing on us; improve on the things that we can improve on and build off the things that we've done well."

Q: When you arrived, did you ever go back and watch tape of Saquon's rookie year when he was so dynamic?

Daboll: "I watched tape of Daniel at every stop he's been – college, some of the Hudl stuff as a high schooler. I've watched it with Saquon, with his Penn State stuff, his early years stuff, last year. You just try to get to know players, their physical skillset. But until you get them in your system and ask them to do things and figure out as you go along the process of OTAs, training camp, the communication between a coach and a player (evolves to where they can say), 'Hey, I like this,' or 'I like this less.' That's what our job is as a staff – not just those two players, really all the players that are on the roster. That's important to do."

Q: Specifically with Saquon, he said something to the effect last week that he watched the tape of the run he had against Dallas and said, 'Oh yeah. I recognize that guy.' After three years of injuries, does he look like the guy you looked at when he was a rookie?

Daboll: "I don't compare it to that. I think players evolve in this league. I think anytime you play in this league for year after year after year – you're in your third, your fourth, your fifth or your sixth (year) – you should be a better player. Just experience, seeing things and going through things as a professional football player, but since he's been here at OTAs, I've said it when people have asked me, he's looked explosive, fast and quick. So, he looks like that now."

Q: A good defense can keep you in almost every game. You haven't allowed more than 23 points in a game. Do you feel that if the defense keeps playing at that level that you should be competitive in every game?

Daboll: "You never know. You want all units, as a head coach, you want them to all do well. Game circumstances, opponents, a lot of things change in those games. Certainly, we want to play well. Our job as a defense is to hold them to as few points as we can. That's the job of a defense: hold them out of the endzone and try to take the ball away. The job of an offense is to score and keep the ball. The job of the kicking game is to do a little bit of both, depending on the situation. Try to make the big things the big things. And that's the goal every week for our defense is to hold them to as few points as we can."

Q: What does it say about (linebacker) Jaylon Smith that he can join the practice squad, participate in a few workouts, and in the win against the Bears, have seven tackles and look like's been here since March?

Daboll: "Instinctive player and smart. You can tell he understands the game not just from our defensive (approach), but just that he's a very instinctive player. So, he's a good addition for us. He played well."

Q: Landon Collins was a two-time Pro Bowler when he played here (2015-18). Why have you added him to the practice squad?

Daboll: "I'm not just going to use Landon. Really, that's what we try to do every week: look at who's out there. Work guys out Monday or Tuesday, put them on the practice squad. If we think that we can use them at some point, or if we want to take a look at them a little bit longer, that's going to be from now until the rest of the year. So, we've added a lot of players since we've started. And it'll probably be that way for a while."

Q: He's a little different. He's been here. He was an All-Pro.

Daboll: "But he wasn't with us. He wasn't with (general manager) Joe (Schoen) and me. He did a workout. We thought he did good in the workout. So again, past stuff – it's about the future for us."

Q: You've had an NFL high six of your 2022 draft choices start. No other team has had more than four. (Defensive back Cor'Dale) Flott started because ARob (cornerback Aaron Robinson) was injured. But you've had six rookie draft choices start – can you talk about the experience they're getting and the foundation you're building?

Daboll: "They've earned it. We have a lot of trust in those guys. As a coach, you can lean on experience. And that certainly helps at times. But the ultimate goal of building a strong foundation for our organization is to develop our young players that we select in the draft or sign as undrafted free agents. And it's not always going to be perfect. There are going to be mistakes made. But that's the only way you learn. They have the right stuff that we covet here in terms of smart, tough and dependable. And I think all of them have gotten better each game they've played."

Q: It's not just that they've started – they've played pretty well.

Daboll: "That goes back to the process of why we want to select the players that we select. What's important to us – Joe and myself, the organization – is the type of people that we want to bring in. And obviously the player, we want talented players. But they've also got to be the right kind of people."

Q: When anybody plays the Packers, the focus is always on Aaron Rodgers. But (Packers running back) Aaron Jones is averaging almost seven yards a carry. Their fourth-round draft choice (wide receiver Romeo Doubs) leads the team with 19 receptions. As usual, this Packers team has numerous weapons.

Daboll: "I mean, it's the Green Bay Packers, and it starts on the offensive side. Obviously, the quarterback is one of the best to ever do it. Much respect to him and his accomplishments and his successes and his abilities. He's a fantastic player to watch; he makes everybody around him better. And there's a lot of guys that have talent around him, too. Aaron Jones is a special running back who's been productive. And then Doubs, the rookie, he's been doing a good job. (Packers wide receiver Allen) Lazard – all of them, they're a good offense. They're an explosive offense. They're good, and it starts with Rodgers."

Q: After the game the other day, Bill Belichick (whose Patriots lost to Green Bay in overtime) said Rodgers made great plays and was the difference in the game and that he makes throws other quarterbacks can't make. Do you see that when you watch the tape?

Daboll: "Absolutely. He's a special, special player at a premium spot."

Q: You just played (Dallas linebacker Micah) Parsons and now you've got (Packers linebacker) Rashan Gary, who already has five sacks.

Daboll: "And (nose tackle Kenny) Clark."

Q: (Linebacker De'Vondre) Campbell was a first-team All-Pro last year. Are the linebackers the strength of their defense?

Daboll: "Their line is good, their linebackers. (Jaire) Alexander is coming back, the corner. They're good. They're hard to block. That's where it starts; they're hard to block up front. Gary and Clark are problems. Campbell - it's a good group. They have a good scheme. It will be a tough game."

Q: Is (Packers kicker) Mason Crosby their Graham Gano: a dependable veteran?

Daboll: "Good player. Usually makes them. That's what you want out of your kickers."

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