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Coach Daboll Weekly Q&A

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


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

Q: How was your bye week? Did you get a chance to relax?

Daboll: "Yes. We worked some as a coaching staff and then I got to spend some time with the family and get ahead on Green Bay (the Giants' opponent at home Monday night) and do some self-scout. It was good."

Q: It's nice of the league to put your next opponent on Sunday Night Football, so you could watch the game.

Daboll: "Yep. Watched the game and then watched it on the coaches' tape the next day."

Q: Every staff self-scouts during the bye week. Do you assign every coach something specific to do?

Daboll: "We do that throughout the year on a weekly basis relative to making sure we are watching our stuff and staying on top of our tendencies, or things that we need to improve on. It's been part of the bye week to go back and look at some things that you can fix or some other things, maybe trends around the league or in colleges. That's what we did."

Q: You won two games prior to the bye but playing 12 weeks in a row is a long stretch. Do you think everyone needed a little bit of a break?

Daboll: "Oh, sure. I think you've been going nonstop since July and you get to refresh a little bit, try to get as healthy as you can get player-wise, both physically and mentally, and then come back and get ready to play a good team."

Q: How do you look at the season's last five games? You're kind of on the periphery of the playoff hunt now.

Daboll: "We look at it one week at a time. On Monday night, we will be competing against a good football team that's won three in a row, and we need to do everything we can in our preparation to make sure that we're ready to go."

Q: Did you spend a lot of time during the bye week thinking about your quarterback situation and did you know you wanted to have that decision done on Monday when you came in?

Daboll: "Yeah. From after the Patriot game (on Nov. 26) all the way through the entire week, we did a lot of looking at film and thinking about that decision and ultimately came up with the decision that we did (to start Tommy DeVito Monday night)."

Q: You've worked with rookie quarterbacks in the past. Tommy has played in five games; he has started three. He has had some very good moments – completing seven of eight third-down passes in Washington. Has he done some things that other rookie quarterbacks you've had haven't done?

Daboll: "I'd say they're all different. The biggest thing is to keep progressing and keep improving. The more you play, the more you see. He's made improvements along the way. Still has to keep improving and go out there and execute his responsibility to give our team a chance."

Q: One big improvement that's very noticeable is your turnover differential, which was negative for much of the season and is now plus-five. You have 11 takeaways in the last three games. How important has that been for your team?

Daboll: "It's one of the most important factors of every game, regardless of the season, that I've been in. Taking care of the ball is a high premium for the offense and when you can get it defensively, that stops momentum, it stops points and then ultimately what you do off those, whether that's points, ideally seven, or field position, is a big thing."

Q: Jalin Hyatt had his best game against New England (five catches for 109 yards). He said after the game that at one point he was a little down and had a talk with you. He wanted to know what he could do to improve, and you spoke to him about the challenges of playing in the NFL. I would imagine that wasn't the first time you had that conversation with a rookie. Do young players need that push or that encouragement sometimes to get over the hump?

Daboll: "All players, sometimes. We try to have as good communication as we can here, and I enjoy those conversations. It means the players really care about their craft, and he certainly does as a young player. He's gotten better since he's been here. Being a rookie in the NFL is not easy, but he's been a good teammate, he's improved, he really cares about improving and helping the team. He's a team-first guy and I'm glad we have him."

Q: I probably use this phrase every week, but…you've been in the league a long time. Do you find that a lot of rookies go through that down period?

Daboll: "Every situation is different. It's such a different deal for them. They're playing at the highest level, and there's always going to be some ups and downs. How to stay positive and improve those downs and manage the ups is important."

Q: We talked several times early in the year about the numerous offensive line combinations. Now, you've started the same five players three games in a row. Have you noticed an uptick in the play with the lineup continuity?

Daboll: "We have confidence in all the guys we have, but when you're playing side by side for consecutive reps, communication things, defensive looks, adjustments, that's always a benefit when you have consistency."

Q: Does it help that you played the Packers last season?

Daboll: "Sure. Every time you play a team that has the same coordinators, a lot of the same players - I know they have a different quarterback. I got all that, but it's certainly part of the preparation process."

Q: Is Matt LaFleur's offense similar to anything that you have faced this year?

Daboll: "In this league, there's some element of someone's offense relative to what you've seen before. But Matt has his own offense, his own style, and does a good job with it. The quarterback (Jordan Love) is operating at a high level within it. Who the players are, how they employ the players, the formations and the personnel groups they use, the different schemes, you see certain schemes throughout the year, but it's all different based on the team that you're playing."

Q: They've won three in a row and four out of five. In the last three, Love has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions. He seems to be playing much better of late.

Daboll: "I think he's played good throughout the year. He knows where to go with the football, and he makes good decisions. He can make all the throws, he's athletic enough to have plays extended. He can make them with his arm, he can make them with his feet, and he has a really good deep ball. The first play of the Thanksgiving game (in Detroit), the 53-yarder to (Christian) Watson - he can stretch the field, run RPOs, good in the action game and has good technique in his ball handling. He's a good, young quarterback."

Q: You have played a lot of great receivers this year – Tyreek Hill, CeeDee Lamb, Deebo Samuel. The Packers don't have that one superstar, but they have a deep group, and everyone contributes (including Watson, Romeo Doubs, and rookie Jayden Reed). They're the only team with three receivers that have five touchdown catches each.

Daboll: "They're young and they're talented, they're good football players and they've improved as the year has gone on. They all can run, catch, get open, do stuff with the ball in their hand. It's a good young nucleus to have."

Q: Do they have similar styles?

Daboll: "They're all kind of a little bit built different but they all can run; some are a little bit faster than others. They have good quickness and vision. They have good run after catch and are good route runners, and you can see the development process for some of those young players. They've done a nice job."

Q: (Aaron) Jones is listed first on their death chart, but (AJ) Dillion is their top runner.

Daboll: "With Jones, we'll see if he's up or not (he missed the last two games with a knee injury suffered vs. the Chargers on Nov. 19). He's a dynamic player. He's good in the pass game. He's good in the run game. Dillion is a big back. He's got good vision. Even though he's big, he's slippery too, so he can get you with some foot quickness and good reads and he can run you over as well."

Q: The defense hasn't allowed more than 24 points in eight straight games. Is there strength at linebacker with (Rashan) Gary (9.0 sacks), Quay Walker (92 tackles) and Preston Smith (5.5 sacks)?

Daboll: "I just think they play good team defense. Coach (Joe) Barry (the defensive coordinator) does a good job with them. They have a good front. Gary's a New Jersey native. Paramus Catholic. He's a premier edge player in this league. Preston Smith is a good player. Kenny Clark is good up front, and Walker is a guy that was a really good player at Georgia sideline to sideline. We'll see if (Jaire) Alexander is back at corner (he's played only five games because of a shoulder injury). They play well in all three levels. It's good team defense when you don't give up points like that."

Q: They Packers are one of the few teams that regularly return kickoffs (24, including 23 by Keisean Nixon, who has a 27.0-yard average).

Daboll: "Nixon's good. He's a good returner. You've got to be good with lane discipline, leverage the ball and tackle, but he's a good returner. He's a top returner in this league."

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