Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: How's everybody doing? It's an important week for us. We'll go out there and have a good day today.
Q: What's your disappointment level on what happened with (safety) Xavier (McKinney)?
A: What I'd say is I heard that a few days ago. I feel bad for Xavier. (I'm) disappointed that he got injured, and he'll do everything he can do to get back and be ready to go.
Q: What happened?
A: I'm not going to get into the particulars of it. He hurt his hand. I'm sure he'll talk to you guys. But he hurt his hand, and he'll be out here for a few weeks.
Q: Is it broken?
A: I'm not going to get into the particulars with it.
Q: You said you're disappointed that he got injured. Are you disappointed that he violated his contract by getting on an ATV?
A: I'll stick with what I said. I feel bad for him. I feel bad for us. I know he's disappointed, but can't do anything about that now. We'll get ready to play (the) Houston (Texans).
Q: I'm sure most coaches – I'm sure you did – send players with a message into the bye week of 'Be smart; be careful.' Do you feel like he was being smart and careful? From what you know, do you feel like he was doing that and just had a bad break?
A: Again, I think we're all disappointed in what happened. He'll do everything he can do to get back. I feel bad for him. I feel bad for us. It's an unfortunate thing that happened.
Q: What do you do in the meantime at that position?
A: Get everybody else ready to go.
Q: Is there anybody specific? Is (safety Dane) Belton the guy?
A: Belton will be out there. (Safety Jason) Pinnock will be out there. We have guys that can play, and we feel confident in.
Q: Will (safety) Julian (Love) have the green dot? Will he call the plays?
A: He will. Julian will have it.
Q: Did he (Xavier McKinney) apologize to you?
A: I'm not going to get into the conversations that we had. They're private between the player, myself, the organization. That's where I'm at with it.
Q: Any discipline?
A: Same thing. It's all a private matter. Again, I feel bad for us; I feel bad for him. Certainly not something you want to see. I feel bad for the kid in particular. I mean, he got injured. And I feel bad for us; we lost a good player for a few weeks.
Q: Did he need to go to the hospital out there?
A: I'm not getting into the particulars. You guys can talk to Xavier and ask him.
Q: You think he'll return this season at some point?
A: We'll see.
Q: Does anybody have the range that he has – sideline to sideline – who's going to replace him?
A: We'll find out.
Q: Does he need surgery, or did he already have surgery?
A: I'm not getting into any particulars with it.
Q: What have been your impressions of Dane (Belton)?
A: Professional. Done everything we asked him to do. Good football player. He's done a good job for us out there.
Q: You're also getting (guard) Shane (Lemieux) back. Are you getting anybody else back after a bye week that's healthy?
A: Yeah. The only two that won't practice today are (tight end Daniel) Bellinger and (tackle Evan) Neal. Everybody else will practice.
Q: Anyone going to be limited?
A: Yeah – some guys. We're moving in the right direction with everybody.
Q: With (defensive lineman) Nick Williams, is he done for the year?
Q: With Bellinger, is he due back at some point because with an eye surgery, you worry about –?
A: Yeah, at some point. Whenever that is – whenever he's ready to go – he'll be out here.
Q: Why did you guys not put him on IR (injured reserve)?
A: At some point, I can't give you the exact date, but he's getting better. (He) looks a lot better, too.
Q: It seems you guys are really limited then on the defensive line – defensive tackle, particularly. What do you guys do there?
A: We have guys. We have guys on the practice squad. We'll see how they do. We always have a plan. We'll let that go through the whole week and then decide on Friday.
Q: You talk about dividing the season into quarters. What is your approach for, I guess this is the third quarter of the season?
A: Yeah. Important game. At home. Going to have to play well. Came off a bye. Feel like we're rested. The guys have had a lot of good energy here these last couple of days, and we need to go out there and have a good week like we do every week.
Q: Do you change anything, though, at this point? You probably – I assume – know significantly more about your own team, what you do well.
A: Like change scheme? Change schedule?
Q: No scheme. Anything like as you move along each quarter of the season?
A: No. I'd say we're pretty consistent with how we handle things relative to the scheduling and practice, stuff like that. We looked at a lot of different things. You make tweaks. I think you do that every week. So, we'll see where we're at here this week.
Q: At one time, you had Shane (Lemieux) projected as a starter for you guys.
A: Is that Lemieux?
Q: Lemieux, yeah. Can he get that job? Is that job up for grabs as he comes back here?
A: I mean, this is his first day back, so let's –. The first thing we're going to do is see him out there on the field and give him a few reps on the look team and see how he responds to that and start with that.
Q: Coming out of the bye against Houston, obviously their record is a little susceptive. We saw what they did with Philly (the Philadelphia Eagles), especially in that first half last week. What are your early assessments of what you're going up against?
A: I think (Houston Texans head) coach Lovie Smith does a great job. I thought (Houston Texans general manager) Nick Caserio has done a great job of selecting some young players on their roster that are good football players. (Defensive back Jalen) Pitre and (cornerback Derek) Stingley (Jr.) and (running back Dameon) Pierce have all really contributed. They play a lot of young players. I think they have some good veteran players on the defense in particular. (Defensive lineman) Jerry Hughes is a guy that I'm familiar with at Buffalo, and he's playing at a high, high level right now, which I'm not surprised with. (Defensive lineman) Mario Addison is back there; (linebacker Christian) Kirksey (is back there.) They've got a lot of players. They're competitive, and we're going to need to be at our best.
Q: As a source of motivation, have you ever talked to your team about playoff possibilities? And if not, why not?
A: No, because I think we just live in the moment. Each week is its own week in the NFL, and you try to stack as many (wins) as you can together. And at the end of the year, wherever you're at, you're at. I think if you lose focus on what's important, which is the only thing you can control, is today. And then go out there tomorrow and get ready to play a good team, that's all you can control. If you get too far ahead of yourself, again, it brings you back to reality real quick.
Q: (Wide receiver) Richie James has cleared the concussion protocol?
A: He'll be limited today. He's still non-contact.
Q: Do you plan to make a change at punt returner?
A: I'm not going to get into who we're playing, who we're not playing. I'd say that we have a lot of people competing for that spot. And we'll see where it goes.
Q: Is (cornerback) Aaron Robinson – he's eligible to return now. Will he return?
Q: Do you think he's going to play this year?
Q: Since we last talked to you, (general manager) Joe Schoen expressed confidence that (wide receiver) Kenny (Golladay) would be back this week. Where are you on Golladay? Do you think he'll play this week?
A: Yeah, he's practicing.
Q: Full (participation)?
A: He'll be – I mean he's limited or whatever we're going to put him at. But he should be ready to go.
Q: You guys have preached – you specifically have preached consistency – every week, process. This is obviously an inconsistent situation now, coming back from the bye. So, there are differences for this team. Have you taken the time, or will you take the time, to kind of take the pulse of this team to see where you're at? To see if you're picking up where you left off? Or is it not an expectation that you pick up where you left off?
A: I think we come out here and try to have a good day like we do in meetings. Put the game plan in. Come out. Practice well. Compete. We only had a couple of days off. It's not like we had a whole (season). We've done a schedule, a couple of times, similar to this. It's worked well for us. So, today's a normal Wednesday for us. And tomorrow, you guys got the schedule. But no, just go out there and do the things we need to do today to help us out for Sunday.
Q: After a week of self-scouting, are there things that stand out that you really would like to improve on in these last nine (weeks)?
A: Yeah. You look at fundamentals, what we can do drill-wise to help our players. You look at different schemes. There's a lot of different things that we talked about. Then, you try to implement them out there today. Again, you're game planning now back for Houston. A lot of it is, 'Let's see what we need to do better fundamentally.' And then, there's certain situations that come up as a playcaller or a scheme. You talk about a lot of different things.
Q: I know he's on IR, but how far along is (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari)? Is there any chance when he's ready that (he'll come back)?
A: Coming along. He's coming along.
Q: How about (outside linebacker) Oshane (Ximines)?
A: Yeah. He'll practice today.
A: Same probably as Kenny; we'll work these guys back in. But him, (cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott, Golladay, all those guys should be ready to go.
Q: Kenny obviously got off to a slow start. What is your expectation? Can he play better now that he's coming off injury? You expect big things for him down the stretch?
A: I just expect him to come out here and have a good Wednesday. You know I don't take it too far down the road. I don't think you can do that. Just come out here, and have a good practice.
Q: I just ask because obviously receiver is an area where (you're thin).
A: We'll see. We just (obtained wide receiver) Isaiah Hodgins. So, between Isaiah and Kenny and (wide receivers Darius) Slayton and (David) Sills and Richie (James) and Wan'Dale (Robinson) – those guys will come out here and have a good day.
Q: What did you see from Hodgins that made you decide he was a guy to sign?
A: We drafted him when we were at Buffalo. Big receiver. Good hands. Good quickness. Makes contested catches. Very, very smart. Really knows all four spots with being here for a day. So, we'll see where he's at. But really good mentality. Team-first player. Hard worker. Again, some of the stuff we do is a bit different. But he's picked that up. So, we'll see if he's ready to go.
Q: Is that one of those things that stand out on the wire when they waive him that – whether you knew right away, or Joe came to you right away – that you guys knew that guy was not getting past you the next day?
A: I think you try to know the league the best you can. Obviously, we've had some experience with him. But I think Joe and his staff do a great job of really knowing all the players in the league. Then, if something comes up, they'll communicate with me, or we'll communicate with the coaches. And then, we had a good give and take; just something we chose to do.
Q: After two weeks ago, are you doing anything with punt return?
A: We'll see. We'll be out there. The same guys will be catching punts today, whether it's (cornerback) Darnay (Holmes) or Richie (James) or (wide receiver Kalil) Pimpleton. We'll see how these guys look.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: How does it feel to be back?
A: It feels good. We had a good practice today, and we'll build throughout the week. It feels good to be back.
Q: Kind of reenergized your battery a little bit? You took the week off?
A: Yeah. I got some good time off, got to see the family and got a little down time, which was nice.
Q: I mean, the obvious question everybody has – is there a sense of disappointment when (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) comes back, and he's going to be out a while because of the accident?
A: I think (it's a) tough situation there, and I feel for Xavier. I think it's a tough situation and feel for him. Support for him, certainly. It's not easy for him to go through that. We'll have guys step up and play that role and do a good job, we're confident in (them).
Q: As a team leader, what do you say to the idea of guys doing stuff like going on an ATV or other activities that can be deemed dangerous during the bye week?
A: I think guys are doing different things, and it's their choice how they want to spend their time. You can ask Xavier. He probably regrets it, and we feel for him. I think he certainly doesn't want to be in that situation. We'll support him. The next guy up has got to be ready to go.
Q: Did he express that to you guys as a team? Did he say that to you, or did you talk to him personally?
A: We'll leave all that private – kind of team stuff.
Q: You're going into this week, and you've got a 6-2 record. They're coming in with one win. How do you approach it and not overlook them?
A: You look on tape, I think they're a good team. They do a lot of good things on the defensive side of the ball. They've got a lot of good players, good sound scheme. Everyone in this league is good. I think it's something you've learned, it's something I've learned, through these first few years. They're a good team. They've got good players, and we'll need to play our best game.
Q: (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) said when he met with us last week that he may discuss contracts during the bye week. Did he come to you and discuss contracts?
A: No, he didn't.
Q: How much is that something you even talk about with your agents at this point?
A: Not much. I'm focused on playing the best I can, and that's kind of been my outlook the whole time. I play the best I can, and let the other stuff work itself out.
Q: Do you feel like you still have more to prove or you feel like you've put enough on tape so far in the first half of the season that they know what you're about?
A: I think there's always more to do. I think just for me personally, I think I have expectations of myself and goals for myself to continue to improve week to week. How that's seen by other people is really out of my control. So, for myself and personally I want to improve every week and continue to put this team in a position to win games.
Safety Xavier McKinney
Q: What happened?
A: I got into a Can-Am accident. I kind of just flipped over, not flipped over but tilted over, fell on my hand. That's basically what happened.
Q: Was your friend driving or a guide, a teammate?
A: Yeah, we were on a sightseeing tour. That's what I can tell you. It was nothing that was reckless. This was just simply being able to see, being able to be out of the country, seeing out the country, seeing what it looked like. It was just an unfortunate event that happened.
Q: Were any teammates in the thing with you?
Q: What actually happened to your hand? What's the injury?
A: Just my fingers. I've just got a broken finger. Like I said, it was unfortunate. Luckily, and I thank God that it wasn't anything worse, but like I said, it wasn't anything that was reckless that was going on. Just kind of a freak accident.
Q: Do you need surgery? Did you go to the hospital there? Is it something you took care of when you got back here?
A: I went to the hospital over there, but I did get surgery when I got back here.
Q: Were you aware that it was prohibited in your contract to ride an ATV?
Q: Talking to Brian and (general manager) Joe (Schoen) did they make you aware that's not something they would prefer to have you do?
A: Before this happened?
A: We didn't get into that. Obviously, they were more concerned about my well-being and my health and that's what I was more concerned about. We didn't get into any of that, but like I said, it was an unfortunate event. It was one of those things where it's my first time out of the country pretty much besides being out in London, so I wanted to get a visual for what it looked like. Sightseeing tour, nothing crazy. Just unfortunate.
Q: Were you driving?
A: It was a sightseeing tour.
Q: Some of those tours they give you your own to drive. Sometimes you sit in the back of one. So, what was the situation?
A: Sightseeing tour.
Q: What's the emotion that you feel for being out for your teammates?
A: Obviously it hurts. These guys, we've put in the work. Countless amount of hours together. I know what I put into this game. I know how much we have collectively as a group put into what we've done to build where we're at now. It hurts a lot for me. Mental rollercoaster for me, but I'm going to continue to be here for my team, I'm going to continue to lead how I do and just make sure that I can be able to help and provide to win these games whether I'm playing or not.
Q: You expecting to be back this season?
A: No timeline on it. I'm just trying to take it day by day, do what everybody is asking me to do. That's what I'm here for. I'll be fine.
Q: Do they expect you to have full use of your fingers?
A: Yeah, my hand will be fine. That's the good thing.
Q: Because you're on the non-football injury list they can withhold pay. Have you discussed that with them, and would you be upset if they attempted to?
A: No, I wouldn't be upset with it. Like I said, I take full responsibility in what was going on. I'm an accountable person, so for me I was just more upset about knowing that I wasn't going to be able to be here for my team. But as far as that goes, I'm still going to be able to help as much as I can. Like I said, I'm going to be in meetings, I'm going to be out there in practice, and helping as much as I can so we can keep this thing rolling.
Q: What day did that happen?
A: This happened on Wednesday (Nov. 2). Yeah, Wednesday.
Q: It's just the one finger or multiple fingers that you had surgery on?
A: This was a couple fingers.
Q: You mentioned how it was an accident, but did you apologize to Brian and your teammates for this happening?
A: Yeah, I've already addressed it with them. They kind of already knew when it happened. They were the first people to really know about it.
Q: How many fingers did you say you broke?
A: A couple.
Q: How long are you going to be in the cast?
A: That I don't know. Hopefully not too long, but we'll see. I'm going to take it day by day and next I'm going to do everything they ask me to do. We'll see where it goes.
Q: So, it's just a hand? Because you're in a sling.
A: It's the fingers. I can take it out, this is just here just to be here. It's just my fingers. It wasn't like it was my arm or anything crazy. Everything else is fine it's just my fingers.
Q: Did you fall off the thing you were on, or did you jam your fingers?
A: No, I didn't fall off. Basically, I fell on my fingers I should say. Like I said it was a freak accident. Nothing reckless was going on. The thing didn't flip over.
Q: Something fell on your hand you said?
A: Yeah, and this wasn't an ATV. It was actually a Can-Am. Which is like a bigger, you've probably seen a Can-Am before, it's just a bigger version.
Safety Julian Love
Q: How do things change for you with (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) out?
A: I just have the green dot, I'll communicate to the defense. From a roll perspective, it doesn't change too much. We have some guys stepping up to fill in for his role and I'll continue to do what I've been doing.
Q: Do you feel comfortable with the green dot?
A: Yeah. I've had the mic since OTAs. He has it on game day. I'm comfortable with it, I'm used to it – it's just communicating. It should be fun.
Q: How much do you have to help (Safety) Dane (Belton) when he's out there?
A: It's a process throughout the week. He's been doing a great job of learning and growing up to this point in the season. So, this will be an exciting time for him to show what he's about in a bigger capacity.
Q: The Xavier news – how tough is that for you guys as teammates and what did he tell you?
A: Yeah, I mean it's tough. Obviously as teammates, as friends. It's something you don't want to hear but it happens, freak things happen. It's crazy but we're going to be resilient and try to find a way going forward to fill a tough void to fill.
Q: Xavier said he addressed it with you guys. It's kind of a weird thing, right? Obviously, you guys are grown men who are intitled to do whatever you guys want to do on your bye week, but did he have to apologize in some way?
A: No. He never had to apologize to us. He just said what it is. He called me and told me what it was, whenever it happened. It's tough. You can look at it from a team perspective, it's tough. But I looked at it right away from a personal perspective and made sure he was alright and everything. That's a scary thing on a trip and you get hurt, you're injured, but it's part of life, part of the situation. I think all of us took it with a grain of salt and just moved forward.
Q: What did you do on your bye week?
A: I was down in Florida. I was relaxing with the wife. I was poolside most of the time.
A: Yeah, as you can see from your guy – you can get this on camera – I was with the Irish on Saturday. That was from the previous week (against Syracuse). They're on a roll right now, I've got to hit up (Defensive Lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) later on.
Q: Did you guys have a bet?
A: We didn't. He was complaining about the gameplan and all this other stuff. Irish play complete games versus tough teams. Now they've got to raise that versus the not as tough teams.
Q: What about taking over the play calling duty? How familiar are you with that? I assume you do it probably a little in practice.
A: Yeah, so I have the mic in practice. I've had it since OTAs. I feel comfortable relaying the plays and communicating. We had a good system, me and Xavier. He's communicating the plays and I'm communicating everything else for the defense. Now it's on other guys to raise their level of communication and get that line flowing, because it's smooth with me and Xavier, we're on a very personal level with the way we can communicate openly. It's going to take some other guys to step up, but I feel comfortable in my role.
Q: How much does it hurt the defense not to have him there as a player, skill wise, with what he brings to defense?
A: He's a rising star in this league, it's tough to replace. He's a guy who's been holding down the deep part of the field for us, is able to do some good things for us to play fundamental football. I think the emphasis has to be on guys just to not let it feel like there's such a big hole. That's going to take, honestly, a community of guys right now to step up and fill the roles that he's been able to play this season and past year.
Q: As an athlete, is it the hardest thing to accept that you may have let your teammates down when something like that happens?
A: It's tough, you know? I think out of anything, you look at yourself first. I'm not one to say he let us down because he didn't let us down. Freak things happen. I think he's feeling fine. Right now, he's been in the meeting rooms leading us still, being vocal about the defense, because that's who he is – he's our vocal leader. Same way (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep is a vocal leader on offense and has still been around. That's what makes this team special is that he's staying around and helping us, helping us communicate, helping the young guys, helping Dane, helping some of the other guys come up. That's huge right there. You can either fold or you can rise to the occasion, and he's been rising for us.
Q: You guys have had to overcome a lot of injury obstacles this year. How does that help and where does this rank among the things you guys have had to overcome?
A: We're resilient and I say that – you can be resilient in games coming back from when you're down, but guys have been getting banged up, guys have had freak things happen to them right now this season. That's just kind of the story of what it is. But guys have stepped up and that's what good teams do. Players step up in key situations and fill voids.
Q: (Safety) Jason (Pinnock) just said he felt unfazed by this, like we're going to come do a job. Do you feel that confidence when you're around him?
A: On a schematic level and on a football level yeah, I guess you can be unfazed. I know I have to be in here earlier, leave later, help guys out to get them up to the level they need to be at come game day. On a personal level, it's hard not to be fazed – that's your friend, that's your guy you go to work with every day. To have this happen to him, it stinks.
Q: Last Tuesday, we talked to (General Manager) Joe Schoen and he said he was hoping to get some extension talks rolling with some guys. He didn't mention you by name but all the smart people in the media connected you to that obviously as a free agent who's playing a big role. Did you have any interest in getting that rolling? Do you want to test free agency? How do you feel?
A: I'll say this – I love playing here. I really enjoy the people here. It's been a blast these past few years and I respect the hell out of Schoen and everybody upstairs. So yeah, if something can get done, I'd love to get it done but the bye week was that time to figure things out and be involved in it. Right now, I'm letting them handle it, my agent handle it, and focusing on now this bigger role for me and do my thing. It is what it is right now.
Q: Obviously business is business. Do you want to finish your career as a Giant? Is this where you want to be for the rest of your career?
A: Yeah, that term, 'Once A Giant, Always A Giant,' is something that has been appealing. I've been around some greats. Zak DeOssie and Eli Manning just to name a couple. It is appealing. I love it here. My family, my wife – we enjoy it here. That'd be something that's appealing to me, but at the same time you've got to do what's best for you. That's the line I have to walk.