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Coach Daboll Weekly Q&A

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

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

Q: Dexter Lawrence is a Pro Bowl starter. Are you happy to see him get that recognition? He was good last year, but have you seen him make a jump this year?

Daboll: "Yes. He's a really good football player. He's dominant in the interior part of the defense, glad he was back with us, obviously, and very happy for him."

Q: If you were looking at him from a scout's perspective, is what sets him apart the fact that he is so athletic for someone his size?

Daboll: "I would say a lot of things set him apart. He's got great size, length, athletic ability, quickness, power and explosion. That's why he's getting recognized, because he's an exceptional football player, but he's an even better person."

Q: Dane (Belton) got those three takeaways last week against the Rams. Even in training camp practices, he intercepts passes. Do you think that some players just have a knack for finding the ball?

Daboll: "I do. Like you said, he did it in training camp practices and when we practiced against Detroit. The ball does find him, and he finds the ball. You have to be in the right spot and do the right stuff and be instinctive. I was happy to see him have some production."

Q: Belton stepped in for Jason Pinnock, who had missed only six snaps all season, but hurt his toe. Pinnock has the team's longest active starting streak. You talk about players who are smart, tough and dependable. Is that Pinnock?

Daboll: "It is. He's an explosive athlete, too. He's plays a variety of different roles in our defense, whether he's back in the deep part of the field or he's covering man-to-man, or if he's pressuring. He's done a nice job for us all year."

Q: On a larger scale, you have 19 takeaways since Week 10, which leads the league during that time. Your 27 takeaways is the Giants' highest total since 2015. The cliche is they come in bunches, but that's what seems to be happening. Can you point to something specific as to why your takeaways have increased?

Daboll: "Obviously, we haven't got the results that we wanted, but taking care of the ball and getting the ball is an important ingredient to giving yourself an opportunity to be where you want to be at the end of the game. The guys have done a good job of running to the ball. Different guys have very good instincts in terms of doing that and punching the ball out or being in throwing lanes. And the pressure package in our system that Wink (Martindale, the defensive coordinator) uses really helps the guys. It's been a collective effort from the coaches to the players. They've done a really good job."

Q: Your turnover differential is plus-9, the Giants' highest in 11 years. The Eagles (this week's opponents) are minus-7. Do you look at that and say it's an area where you could have an advantage?

Daboll: "Every game is a little different. How the ball bounces in each game, it's a little bit different. But it's certainly something that we try to place an emphasis on each week and in practice and drill work and running to the ball, punching it out, ball security, taking care of it and when you're in a crowd - that was part of Gunner (Olszewski's 94-yard punt) return, where he kind of doubled it up and spun off him. So, it's definitely an important area to each game."

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 18 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Q: Saquon (Barkley) said yesterday that teams change every year and that this is our last shot for this team. You've been complimentary about this team's effort and attitude all year. At the end of the season, good or bad, do you get emotional at all?

Daboll: "I've been doing it for so long. You certainly build relationships, and each team is different each year. You enjoy being around the fellas and you try to do everything you can do to get a win. In this case, the last week of the season."

Q: You go full speed every day for six months plus and then it comes to a halt. Is that an adjustment for you or you just go right into the next thing?

Daboll: "You pretty much go right into the next thing. There are cycles in the NFL season, and we all know what they are. You'd certainly like to be playing in the playoffs. Then, when you lose, there's only one team out of the year that's really happy. Those are crash landings when you're in the playoffs, but you don't get too far ahead of it. You really enjoy – again, these last few days together and working together on the field and being in the meetings and you go out there and do everything you can do to try to get a win."

Q: You mentioned yesterday that this week gives you a chance to finish 3-3 in the division. It also gives you an opportunity to finish 4-4 at home. As you said, this season didn't go as you wanted it to, but getting to .500 at home, does that mean something to you?

Daboll: "Absolutely. Again, the only reason why you do this is to try to win. That's what we're trying to do."

Q: Some players are within individual statistical milestones. Saquon can get to 1,000 rushing yards, Shep (Sterling Shepard) needs two receptions to tie for fifth on the franchise's career list, Darius (Slayton) can get career highs in catches and yards. If it can be accomplished within the context of trying to win the game, would you care about that stuff?

Daboll: "Well, certainly you want to see your players that put so much effort in achieve different things. But ultimately, it's a team game and if that happens throughout the game or through the process of the game, you're happy for the guys, but everything is devoted to trying to win."

Q: You have a lot of experience with bad weather football, and you might get it this week. Although they changed the forecast from a snowstorm on Sunday to rain on Saturday.

Daboll: "At four o'clock on Sunday, it's 0% chance to rain, there's no snow and it is going to be 32 degrees and the wind is high early in the morning gust-wise. We're talking about the time we kick off is four miles an hour wind. In the morning, it's gusts up to 36 or something. It's the northeast. We will see how it is when we get out there."

Q: I'm sure I asked you this last year when you played the same three teams at the end at the end of the season, but having played the Eagles two weeks ago, do you go back and watch all their games again?

Daboll: "You've put a ton of preparation in, so you go back and look at some particular cutups, but you watch the Arizona game (last week), you watch our game a bunch again. You have a lot of things already premade, because you just played them not too long ago."

Q: Arizona ran the ball, they had more than twice as much time of possession. You know the Eagles as well as anybody. Do you still look at how other teams succeeded against them?

DabolI: "Yeah. You have a bunch of tapes to look at and you evaluate them all."

Q: Were you, I don't know if impressed is the right word, but the way Arizona played last week, did that catch your eye?

Daboll: "Yeah. It was a back-and-forth game. I thought Philly did a lot of good things and it came down to the end and they made a few more plays."

Q: Jalen Hurts is not running as much as he did last year. Is he still the first offensive player you have to stop?

Daboll: "They have a lot of guys, they're a very talented roster. That's why they've won the games they've won. They have a really good offensive line, they have a good quarterback, they've got good receivers, they've got a good running back, a good defensive line, they've got a good secondary. They've got a lot of good players on their football team and they're a good team."

Q: Their defense had one sack against you and one sack last week. Have they changed up front as far as the pressure they've been able to apply?

Daboll: "I think Matt (Patricia, who recently began calling the defenses) came in a few weeks ago, kind of took over. There's some things that you see they do differently, some things they do the same. Again, they have a lot of good football players, first rounders and a really big, physical and athletic defensive line. They're a good football team."

View photos of the all-time history of New York Giants in the Pro Bowl.

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