The New York Giants (7-5-1) will wrap up their stretch of four consecutive games against the NFC East with their Sunday night matchup against the Washington Commanders (7-5-1).
The two teams faced off less than two weeks ago when they tied, 20-20, at MetLife Stadium. The winner of this week's game will own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the other, which could come into play at the end of the season. Coach Brian Daboll met with the media on Wednesday before preparations began for the big divisional matchup on Sunday Night Football.
Here is what Daboll told the media Wednesday about this weekend's matchup:
Q: Let's start with injuries. I don't know if you want to go through the list, or if you want me to go through it.
A: You ask, and I'll tell you.
Q: Leo (defensive lineman Leonard Williams)?
A: He'll be limited.
Q: (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson)?
A: Will not (practice). I'll help you out. Adoree, (offensive linemen Joshua) Ezeudu, (Shane) Lemieux, (wide receiver) Richie (James) and Haddy (outside linebacker Jihad Ward) – both of those guys are in the concussion protocol.
Q: Haddy's in the protocol?
A: Yeah, it was after the game. So, the other guys will practice – probably be limited: Belly (tight end Daniel Bellinger), (outside linebacker) Elerson (Smith) and Leo. Everybody else should be good to go.
Q: So, (running back) Saquon's (Barkley) a full practice then?
Q: How about (safety Xavier) McKinney?
A: He's not going to practice, no.
Q: Any chance he plays this week?
A: I would say no.
Q: No chance?
Q: You think (there's) any chance he comes back this year?
A: I don't have an answer for that one. They're healing.
Q: Are you going to activate (guard Ben) Bredeson for this game?
A: Closer, yeah. I mean, we'll see how he does this week. I thought he was a lot closer last week. So, hopefully he'll have a good week. And we'll see by the end of the week.
Q: Do you present this opponent differently because you literally just presented it two weeks ago?
A: No, but as a coaching staff and as players, you've done a lot of film, work. Obviously, we've watched some games over and over again. You go back, you look at things maybe you didn't call in the first game. You sit down, maybe there's some things that hit your mind that probably should have put in the first game. You watch your game over and over, so it's back-to-back for them and one game in between (for) us. I think both teams probably know each other; you got to do a good job of going out there and executing.
Q: When you look at that game, you had four possessions in a row that you scored. What do you see in the four you scored and then the four, or however many it was, where you fell flat?
A: It was probably a combination of lot of things, usually. You're not going not score on every drive. You get into a rhythm, execute well, move the ball. I'd say, third downs probably played heavily into that. We weren't great on third downs. First down production, some of it was good – particularly on those drives – and some of it was bad. Usually, some portion of situational football, execution part of it, decision making, things like that.
Q: Is that one of the strangest sequences you've seen?
A: No, I've seen a lot of strange sequences.
View photos from practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 15 matchup against the Washington Commanders.
Q: With (Washington Commanders defensive linemen Daron) Payne and (Johnathan) Allen for them, we know what kind of players they are. You knew going in, the last game, what kind of players they are. But is there anything to be gained for your guys, especially on the interior, having played them already – the idea of what it's like to go up against them physically?
A: Yeah, you get to play – particularly so close in games – you go out there. You play against an opponent, or I would say a matchup. Certainly, that probably helps both sides. It helps everybody. But really, the biggest thing is going to be able to execute and play well against them this week.
Q: How much do you view it as an advantage for the coaching staff or for scouting purposes? You don't have to then go shift your attention to another team, and you just keep it on the same team for three straight weeks?
A: I don't because it's the same for both teams.
Q: What do you mean, though? You did have to shift and go worry about the Eagles. They (the Commanders) didn't have (to do that).
A: It's one week in between. When you play a team so close to each other, you have a good feel of personnel, of scheme, of things like that. I would say it's similar.
Q: You talk about a feel. What about for the quarterback? What about for Daniel (Jones)? He has a good feel for them from two weeks ago. In that position, specifically, can that maybe help a little bit?
A: They got a good feel, too, is what I would say. Again, it's going to come down to executing, playing good football, smart football, taking care of the ball – all the things that it does when you play a game.
Q: (Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry) McLaurin played well against you guys, obviously. And besides the obvious of not letting him get yards, what in particular do you guys have to do better in this time?
A: Well, when you have those really elite receivers, most of the time, they're going to get some yards. You got to try to prevent the real big ones – the ones that are 50, 60 yards. You got to tackle well. They're going to give him his targets. He's one heck of a football player. So, it's going to take all 11 guys. When you play an elite receiver like that, it takes everybody: It takes the (pass) rush. It takes the coverage. It takes tackling. And you understand, they're probably going to get some, too. Most elite receivers do.
Q: You mentioned the tackling. On the backend that was a problem the first time. Will you do anything in practice this week (with) full pads or anything?
A: No, we won't go full today. But we do fundamental tackling drills every day. Whether you have pads on or not, it's still your base, your eyes, your contact, your leverage. We do those every day.
Q: What kind of sense do you get for the excitement level of your players and the urgency of the situation?
A: I think every game you have to be urgent. You have to be urgent in Week 1 against Tennessee just like you have to be urgent here. It's a division game, so that's always important. We haven't done very well in the division, obviously. So again, our urgency and our preparation really never changes based on who we play or when we play them. I think you have to have that all the time.
Q: Will you stress the importance of this game – both for the playoffs, both for long-term – that it does mean a little bit more, this one does?
A: They all mean something. I've said this before, the wins mean something, the losses mean something. This game means it's really the start of the fourth quarter (of the season), if you will – that game in between we had. Two teams that have winning records that are in the division playing one another. I think everybody understands that this game is important. Last game was important. Week 3 was important. I think you just got to stay with that consistent approach.
Q: I know you keep a narrow focus, but as the season's gone on, are you evaluating guys for the future because you obviously have some players that you have to make decisions on? I'm just curious: How do you compartmentalize that?
A: I focus on this week, who we need to play, what we need to do. There's a time and a place for that –after the season when we go through all those types of things. That doesn't cross my mind.
Q: Do you think these types of games tell you something about players – how guys respond in these moments?
A: I think every game does. Look, every game is critical. There's only 17 of them in this league. There isn't 82 of them or 160, how many in baseball? Every game is critical, so you have to approach it that way?
View rare photos of the all-time series between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.
Q: How does (Washington Commanders defensive end) Chase Young seemingly coming back kind of change the arithmetic up front?
A: Just adds another good player. So, again, you have to have a plan for that front anyways without him. If he comes back, sounds like he will, we'll have to deal with him accordingly.
Q: You had Saquon on a pitch count last week. Is it going to be similar this week, or do you let him go? The other thing I was wondering about: (Running back Gary) Brightwell had a couple good carries there, and then you got a penalty that backed it up. Would you like to have some change of pace to be able to rest him (Saquon) a little bit more when he's healthy and not healthy?
A: I understand. I would say we're going to do whatever we need to do, whether that's play him 60 plays, whether it's to have other packages. It's Wednesday here; we'll see how he does here in practice today and tomorrow. And we'll do what we think is best.
Q: Do you view this as a 'must win' game?
A: I view every game as a 'must win' game. That's why you go play them. It's the next game, it's important, it's against a division team. We got to go out there and play well.
Q: When you get to this point in the season, do you shorten your bench like you'll rotate less and keep more starters in longer?
A: No, not necessarily. I think every game you go into games with different defensive personnel packages, different offensive personnel packages and play the guys that are available. Maybe you lean on one personnel a little bit more than others based on how the game's going. But whoever's active needs to be ready to play.
Q: Last week, why were you reluctant to admit that Saquon got hurt in practice?
A: I'm not really going to talk too much about injuries. We're focused on getting ready to go right now.
Q: Does that impact it? Is the fact that he got hurt in a practice altering the way you are practicing your team this week at all?
Q: Did you mention (inside linebacker Micah) McFadden before?
A: He's full.
Q: How did you think (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) played, and how much do you evaluate a player's performance in a game situation like that?
A: You evaluate them all. He made a nice throw to Richie (James). He had a big scramble. Again, the game dictates it. It's kind of out of hand. Again, he went in there and was able to operate. Obviously, he got strip-sacked on the one. But he was ready to play.
Q: You've worked with Daniel (Jones) now for almost a full season. If you had to pick one thing that surprised you or impressed you about him, what would it be?
A: I don't know. I mean, I don't think of it like that. I think he's done a really good job for us. I've enjoyed working with him. I think he's really been on top of all the things we've asked him to do. He's taking care of the ball. He's made good decisions. He's been enjoyable to work with.
Q: He hasn't won a – the team hasn't won a – primetime game in a long time. Do you think there's something to that that a player might not perform as well in those kinds of games? I'm wondering just (your) general thought process on those kinds of things.
A: I can only go (off) – how many did we have this year?
A: Yeah. Was that the Dallas game? I can't comment on the other seven. I don't know.
Q: I'm just talking about in general. Do you think a player sometimes like – night game, bigger games, bigger stages – can play differently maybe, (for) better or worse?
A: I don't know. That's probably a good question for those guys. I've been around a lot of players. I don't think we've ever (said), 'Hey, it's a big game.' They're all big games. You're charged with going out there and playing well and coaching well, regardless of when you play.
Q: With Richie James in the protocol, do you have to come up with a couple different options in the slot on offense?
A: Hopefully, he'll be out of it. But we have guys that know how to play in that role that are on our roster right now.
Q: And you signed (wide receiver Jaydon) Mickens?
A: Yeah, we had a couple guys in to workout. (We) thought he was a good guy to get going on the practice squad. But I think there's other receivers that know how to play multiple spots, which is always beneficial.
Q: Is Mickens really insurance as a returner first, or do you see him as a wide receiver and a returner?
A: We'll see. We'll get him out here. He had a good workout, catching some punts. (He) ran some routes. Just a good guy to add to the practice squad, we thought.
Q: Do you think Haddy (Jihad Ward) will be out of the protocol? I didn't hear that.
A: Hope so. I hope so. I hope both of them will be, but you never know with those.
Q: Are you giving any vet rest days today like you did last week?
A: I am: (safety) Julian (Love) and (defensive linemen) Dexter (Lawrence).
Q: Do guys decline that sometimes, or do you not give the choice?
A: Sometimes they do.