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Coach Daboll Weekly Q&A

Dabs' Digest: Accentuate strengths, minimize weaknesses


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

Q: Like anyone who's been in the NFL for a long time, you've coached in your share of short weeks. What's the biggest challenge – is it mental, physical or just covering everything on offense, defense and special teams?

Daboll: "It's really everything. I think it starts, first and foremost, with the players and getting them right physically. Obviously, they're sore. Tuesday is usually their day off and we did two walk-through type practices. We already had one on Monday. I would say for the coaching staff, you don't have a lot of time. Your normal schedule is off routine, so you have to make sure you're up to speed on some of the things. And then once that game (last Sunday) was over, kind of get right at it. And put together a plan you think will work, so you condense stuff. You don't want to give the players too much to handle. You want to give them stuff they know, and you want to let them get fresh."

Q: Did you have the position coaches start working on Dallas during Detroit week? Don't they usually do that, so the coordinators don't have two gameplans on their minds?

Daboll: "I think each week, as the week goes (on) and the season gets longer, they have prep work that they have to finish. So, those guys do that every week. And then you've just got to meet a little bit longer, a little bit earlier, to make sure you got stuff put together for the players because we really got onto Dallas (on) Monday morning. So, meetings on Sunday night – that's what we've got to do."

Q: You're kind of a Thanksgiving regular – second year in a row, third time in four years your team is playing on Thanksgiving.

Daboll: "I think it's my sixth one."

Q: Last year it was similar: You (the Buffalo Bills) lost a home game on the previous Sunday. You took a three-hour flight and you played on Thanksgiving (in New Orleans) and won the game. Is it helpful to have done it before?

Daboll: "I think there's always an advantage just in terms of scheduling and how you've done things in the past. I think you always try to improve it as you go. But certainly, being part of these games and going back and reviewing schedules and how other organizations – other head coaches did it – obviously was helpful for me."

Q: This is the first of four straight division games for you. Do you look at it as a crucial stretch?

Daboll: "I don't. You just focus on the things you can get ready for this week and try to go out there and play and coach your best."

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

Q: You have numerous injury concerns this week.

Daboll: "I would say with all the injuries, besides (tight end Daniel) Bellinger and (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), we'll just take it right up, as long as we can take it. There's no physical exertion practices out here, so it's really the player getting treatment, talking to the trainers, the doctors, getting input from the players. I think we'll take it up as long as we can take it up to – as late as we can take it."

Q: You've had four draft choices lost to torn ACLs. The latest was Wan'Dale Robinson, who was really playing well before he got hurt Sunday against Detroit.

Daboll: "He was. He was finally feeling like himself. Obviously, the injury in the beginning part of the year and still getting back, that takes some time – particularly playing the role that he played for us on the inside and all the different routes and change of direction and quickness things he has to do. And you feel terrible for the young man that it happened to him because I think he's got a bright future. He was getting better and better, and he was having a really good game last week. And it's an unfortunate part of the job."

Q: You were asked last week if you thought you could win if you got in a shootout. You said, "We'll see what happens." Then Daniel (Jones) threw for 341 yards and if you don't lose a late fumble, you might have had a chance. Does that give you more faith that if you do get in those kinds of games, you're prepared for it?

Daboll: "Well, I've always had faith in Daniel. And I have faith in our team. It's based on how the flow of the game's going, what we think we need to do. We have strengths on our team. We have weaknesses on our team. We try to do the best job we can as a coaching staff of accentuating the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses. And I think Daniel's been playing well all year. I have confidence in Daniel however many times we ask him to throw it."

Q: You don't have to be told how good the Cowboys are, but when your next opponent wins 40-3 four days before you play them, I would imagine that gets everybody's attention.

Daboll: "I think when you're playing a division game, it's going to get your attention regardless. Obviously, they had a really good game last week. They've been playing good football, and we're going to have to play good football as well."

Q: In the first meeting two months ago, Cooper Rush played quarterback for them. Have they changed much since Dak (Prescott) returned (after missing five games with a thumb injury)?

Daboll: "I think each player's a little bit different, but they were playing good football (at) the beginning part of the year. They're playing good football now. Dak is a premier quarterback in this league. He has a lot of strengths; he does a lot of things well. They've been scoring a lot of points. So, they have their offense that they run, and they're really good at it."

Q: It seems like each week you face a team that has at least two good running backs. Last week, it was Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift. Dallas has (Tony) Pollard and Zeke (Ezekiel Elliot), which is a top-tier tandem of running backs.

Daboll: "It is. They really can do everything, and they're dynamic. Zeke can run it inside; he can run it outside. He can do things in the pass game. Same thing with Pollard – explosive, makes big plays. So, them controlling the line of scrimmage, running the ball, getting it in their hands, it's a big part of what they do."

Q: (Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee) Lamb has twice as many receptions as anybody else on the team. Why do you think he's so (productive)?

Daboll: "Because he's really good. You try to get the ball to the really good guys. With (Michael) Gallup coming back, he's been a really successful receiver for a long time. (Tight end Dalton) Schultz wasn't there the first game. He is a good security blanket for Dak. Look, they have a lot of good players. They've constructed their roster really well in all three phases, and they're a very challenging team."

Q: They're number one in scoring and passing defense and lead the league in sacks (with 42). They have four players with at least five sacks (linebacker Micah Parsons, defensive end Dorance Armstrong, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.).

Daboll: "They're good really in every area. They're hard to block."

Q: Micah Parsons is second in the league with 10.0 sacks.

Daboll: "He's a premier player at a premier position. (Demarcus) Lawrence, he gave us fits in the first game (when he had 3.0 sacks). He's a heck of a player. They're fast. They're athletic. They run to the ball. They create a lot of negative plays."

Q: (Special teams coordinator) John Fassel's special teams like to run a lot of gadget plays, which gives you a lot to cover in a short week. (Kicker Brett) Maher is third in the NFL in scoring. He kicked a 60-yard field goal last week and he's leading the league in touchbacks. They're very good on special teams.

Daboll: "Yeah, all three phases. I think this team, like I said, is well constructed. They're well coached. That's why they're playing the way they're playing right now: scoring a lot of points, not giving up a lot. It will be a good challenge."

View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.