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Coach Daboll Weekly Q&A

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Dabs' Digest: Establishing a standard at home


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dabs' Digest, an exclusive weekly interview with Giants head coach Brian Daboll:

Q: You earned an exhilarating 21-20 victory with a stirring comeback in Tennessee and now you play a Carolina team that lost on a 58-yard field goal in the final seconds. Do you believe in momentum in the NFL?

Daboll: "No. It's really what you do. Obviously, how you play and coach on game day is the most important thing. But leading up to it, how you prepare and how you practice with great speed and urgency and tempo and the mindset you have, that helps leading into the game. And ultimately you have to perform on game day, all of us do. Be resilient at times and not let things really get to you because you have to play the next play. Game-to-game is like play-to-play. One play can be bad; you have a next play. And the next play you have to be tuned in, whether the previous play was good or bad. Again, I've talked about a win. Naturally, everybody's got a little bit more juice when they come in on a Monday. But there's so many things to correct in every game from a coaching side and a playing side, that you just move on. That's how we want to approach things for our football team."

Q: I'm curious about the communication with your coordinators in your first game as a head coach. Did you talk to (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) when the offense was on the field, and (offensive coordinator) Mike (Kafka) when the defense was on the field?

Daboll: "It was very similar to the preseason game. Even though the preseason games weren't game planned, what we tried to do operation-wise was be as similar as we could being a new staff of how we're going to do things, keeping the airways clear, communicating when we need to communicate. I communicated with all three coordinators throughout the game. They did a good job of calling the game in the heat of it. I tried to stay out of their way the best I could."

Q: Did you succeed?

Daboll: "At times. Most of the time."

Q: This was your first regular-season experience with game and time management and replays. You had a big decision the fourth play of the game.

Daboll: "Yeah, on fourth-and-one there. I have two guys (Ty Siam and Cade Knox) that I communicate with during the week on game management, on statistics, on probabilities. We usually sit down for a quite a long time throughout the week and go through different situations that happened in the NFL, how we would handle it. There's a numbers side to it. I'm a big believer in probabilities and numbers. There's also a feel to the game of how your team is playing and some of the choices that you need to make. And I'd say we try to be as well thought out when we're sitting here in a clean, nice room when we're looking at tape, because you have to be very confident. You never know when it's going to happen – whether it's the fourth play, the last play, in between, they're all important. I think if you believe in the process that we go through, which I do strongly, that you feel very prepared come gametime. Most of those decisions happen on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday rather than on a Sunday in terms of our preparation and knowing what we want to do, because you can communicate that to the coaches before the game even starts. Now, are there some things that happen? Absolutely. And again, you look at specific numbers, probabilities, field goal percentages, where they are on the field, there's sun, there's momentum in a game. There is momentum in a game, and you just want to try to make the best decision for your football team and your players."

Q: Were you at all tempted to go for it (instead of punting) on the fourth play?

Daboll: "Not on that one. Now, if it was in a different area of the field, potentially. But where we were – our first game, on the road, on the other side of the 50 (at the Giants' 31-yard line) - not at that point in time, I wasn't. Now, that's not to say in another game Week 8 or Week 2 or Week 4 … we had that very discussion honestly on Thursday. We went through probably an 80-play tape of situations the past few years (and asked), 'Alright, what if this happens?' (And we said) 'Alright, the numbers say this. I got it,' or 'If it's in this part of the game or this happens.' You always have to do the right thing for the team, and I think if you prepare well enough before the game, you have those answers in your head hopefully before they happen, and you can make a split-second decision and not waver from it.

"Case in point: the (game-deciding) two-point play. We talked about it before the drive. Mike knew it, pretty much the guys knew it. I talked to some of the defensive guys; they're the ones laying it out on the field. I want to make sure they know my thought process, and if they would've rather gone into overtime and play it out. There's something to listening to your players that are out on the field and understanding the momentum, the matchups, how things are going. But we were prepared for, I thought, every situation we could possibly be put in. I know in a game, there's three or four that you never (think about, and you say) 'Oh my gosh,' and you got to react quick. The more you can have the answers before the test, the better the result usually is on the test."

View photos of head coach Brian Daboll's time with the New York Giants.