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Presser Points

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Presser Points: TE Darren Waller 'getting closer'

Coach Brian Daboll met with the media before Wednesday's walk-through practice as the Giants have a quick turnaround from a Monday night thriller to a Sunday road game in New Orleans. Here's what you need to know:

🔹 Tight end Darren Waller, who has not played since Week 8, is "making progress" and "getting closer" but remains on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. What are the chances he plays this Sunday? "We'll see. Go through the week and determine it at the end of the week."

🔹 The Giants conducted a walk-through, so participation was an estimation on the first injury report of the week. 

Limited:

  • CB Cor'Dale Flott (Shoulder)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (Hamstring)
  • T Evan Neal (Ankle)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (Shoulder)
  • DL A'Shawn Robinson (Hamstring/Finger)

Full:

  • WR Parris Campbell (Knee)

🔹 Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari "played one of his better games for us, since we've been here" against the Packers. Ojulari had three tackles for loss, a half-sack, and three quarterback hits. "He played with a lot of energy, did a good job in the run game, made some plays. They missed that field goal, he got that big tackle for loss, rushed well. He's making progress. I thought he played a good game."

🔹 Preventing the Packers' two-point conversion that would have made it a three-point game on the final drive was "a heck of a play" by linebacker Bobby Okereke. "There's a wide variety of runs you get nowadays in the league whether it's jet sweeps to the receivers, reverses, outside zones with the receivers, kind of a different way than the traditional way. I think every team tries to attack edges, inside, gap, zone. I think each team differs, but I thought we played some of them exactly the way we need to play them, and they made some good plays on some other ones."

🔹 Daboll reiterated that he has a "high amount of respect" for second-year outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. "He's made progress since the day he walked in this door. He's got good leadership traits about him, he's a talented player, he loves the game of football, he's a great teammate. I'm glad we have him. He's really made a lot of progress and he always strives for more. He's done a nice job for us."

🔹 Thibodeaux has done a good job of "finishing on the quarterback." The Giants ask him to do a lot of different things, which he welcomes "with open arms." Daboll can't say enough about "what a good teammate he is."

🔹 Does Thibodeaux just have a "nose for the ball?" Daboll responded, "There's probably some truth to that, yeah. But I mean, he's doing a good job with our rush plan, of how we're rushing players, whether it's with games, pressures. I give him a lot of credit, but (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew (Wilkins), Dre (Defensive Line Coach Andre Patterson), those guys work with him a lot. He's in there on afternoon meetings. You have the whole defense up there and different guys talk about different things in just the players meeting. It's good to be able to see him to do that, too."

🔹 After a tumultuous first 10 games, the Giants have started the same five offensive linemen – Andrew Thomas, Justin Pugh, John Michael Schmitz Jr., Ben Bredeson, Tyre Phillips – in four consecutive games. The group even received the game ball from Daboll after not allowing a sack on Monday night. "I think the five of those guys that have been working together have continually improved. They're communicating well. There're obviously certain things we can all do better, but it's good to have those five guys out there for consecutive games. All five of them have done a good job."

🔹 Tyre Phillips, who has filled in for Evan Neal at right tackle, is a "good teammate, good communicator, tries to do the things we ask him to do on a consistent basis, is out here, he does a great job at practice and in meetings of doing everything he can do to be as good as he can be on Sunday or Monday, or whenever it is."

🔹 With all the outside attention, Daboll said quarterback Tommy DeVito has stayed consistent. "The thing that he can control, and we talk about it all the time, is how you prepare each week. Each week is a different challenge. We've talked about it since OTAs. Each practice was a different challenge, the limited amount of reps you get, staying focused on the things that you can control, which is not always the easiest thing really for anybody. But he's tried to be as consistent as he can. Don't ride a roller coaster, try to improve, whether it's your footwork, your reads, creating loose plays, whatever that may be. That's his mindset. So, he's like a sponge. He tries to soak everything up, he knows he's got a lot to learn. But he handles himself the right way."

🔹 DeVito showcased his elusiveness on Monday night, rushing 10 times for 71 yards. "Well, I think he's an instinctive player. That's something that we talk about with – again every quarterback is different that you coach, everyone has a different skillset. We try to coach to our quarterback that's playing. It's something that, based on who you have, you emphasize it maybe less, maybe more, but he did a good job of preventing negative plays, of getting yards when he could get them, of staying on track so we could stay on schedule. I think that's important for any offense. But he did – if guys can run, I encourage them to run and try to take as limited of hits as you can, but use your athletic ability to your strengths, try to stay in positive downs and distances. It's easier for everybody, play callers, quarterbacks, skill players, linemen to stay in favorable situations. It's hard to do, there is a lot of good defenses in this league, but certainly if you have that ability, go ahead and use it."

🔹 Safety Xavier McKinney is "playing good football. He does a great job in the film room, great job in walkthroughs, been a good leader for us. He's played really, I'd say, the last month of the season a high level of football, and we need him to do that."

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