EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Early in his Zoom news conference Tuesday morning, a reporter asked Brian Daboll if he is satisfied with position coach Bobby Johnson's work with the offensive line.
"Well, I'm not satisfied with anything right now," Daboll said. "So, that's collectively as a team."
The Giants' coach's dissatisfaction is not just understandable, it's predictable. His team has had a disappointing opening quarter to the 2023 season, losing three games by a combined score of 94-15 and falling behind by 21 points in the second half before rallying for their only victory.
Daboll's -- and the players' -- latest source of torment is a 24-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last night in MetLife Stadium. The Giants allowed a franchise-record 11 sacks, committed three turnovers, including an interception returned 97 yards for a crushing touchdown, and committed six special teams penalties. The defense acquitted itself favorably, but rookie cornerback Deonte Banks was fooled on DK Metcalf's six-yard reception for the game's first touchdown, and poor tackling propelled tight end Noah Fant's 51-yard reception that set up the second score.
"I think our third down defense improved (Seattle converted just three of 12 opportunities)," Daboll said. "We played much better defensively; I saw some improvement defensively."
The 1-3 Giants now begin a two-game road trip to Miami and Buffalo, the AFC East co-leaders at 3-1.
Daboll resolutely continues to express faith in his players.
"When you're in this position you tell them what we're not doing right, you own it, you own it as a leader, and you come back ready to go," he said. "Again, not the start that we had hoped for, we had worked for, but a long road ahead and a lot of improvement to be done.
"My thinking is come back ready to work tomorrow and talk about the things we need to improve and go out there and improve and ultimately play better on Sunday."
The Giants ran 23 more plays (74-51) and owned the ball for 12 more minutes (36:00-24:00) than the Seahawks, but still haven't scored a touchdown in MetLife this season. They progressed into Seattle territory three times. On the first series of the game, they were stopped for no gain on a fourth down in which two players were injured. In the second quarter, Graham Gano kicked a 55-yard field goal. The Giants made their deepest advance, to the Seahawks' five-yard line, but Daniel Jones was intercepted by rookie Devon Witherspoon, whose 97-yard return put the Giants in a 21-3 hole.
"Just didn't finish drives, didn't sustain drives and finish drives when we needed to," Jones said, "so we've got to execute more consistently."
"Obviously, scoring points is a premium," Daboll said. "We got down there in the red zone, had a chance to make it a really competitive game and that one play flipped the game pretty quick. Got to do a better job of finishing early drives."
Jones took much of the responsibility on his shoulders. He completed 27 of 34 passes, but also had three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – which led to 17 Seattle points.
"I'm going to look at myself and study myself and see where I can improve and see where I can help this team and that's what I'm focused on," Jones said after the game. "My play wasn't good enough. I know that, and that's what I'm focused on."
Another issue is the offensive line, which was depleted entering the game and suffered two more injuries. Standout left tackle Andrew Thomas missed his third consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Rookie center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) and tight end Daniel Bellinger (knee) were improbably both hurt on the failed early fourth down attempt.
Left guard Ben Bredeson slid over to center and was replaced by Shane Lemieux, who suffered a groin injury in the second half, forcing Mark Glowinski into the game.
Daboll did not have any injury updates today. And the line will continue to be closely scrutinized as the Giants prepare for the Dolphins.
"I'd say that there's some things that we've improved on and obviously some things that we need to work on," Daboll said. "Again, some of these games have led to some passing situations late in the game where they're teeing off and that's a collective thing, starting with us and down to the execution of the play. But, certainly, we have to do a better job all the way around."
*The Giants succeeded on two of their four fourth-down conversion attempts, but it's their failure on the first that is getting most of the attention. Needing one yard to continue the game's first series from the Seattle 27-yard line, the Giants had all eight of their available offensive linemen on the field. They tried a quarterback sneak with Lemieux and Glowinski, who lined up behind Jones, pushing him forward in a strategic ploy becoming popular around the league. But Jones was stopped for no gain.
"I just felt that was the right thing to do," said Daboll. "That is stuff that we talk about throughout the week, talked about it during the drive, right where we were at. Felt comfortable with the decision and felt comfortable with the play.
"We've been successful (going) for it, they did a good job of stopping it. So, got some penetration, built a wall and ended up stopping the play."