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'We're not in yet': Giants focus solely on Colts


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Although they spoke to him virtually, the media still tried to hit Brian Daboll with what he called "body blows."

But the Giants coach refused to go down.

With the Giants needing only a New Year's Day victory at home against the Indianapolis Colts to clinch their first postseason berth since 2016, the inquiring reporters wanted to know if he would treat the game differently than the 15 that preceded it.

Daboll fended off the shots without absorbing a scratch or a bruise.

The Giants would have clinched a postseason berth with a victory in Minnesota on Saturday, but Greg Joseph kicked a 61-yard field goal as time expired that doomed them to a 27-24 defeat. Will Daboll point out to the team that the contest Sunday in MetLife Stadium is essentially a playoff game?

"No," he said while neither raising his voice nor changing his expression. "It's our next game. I think everybody knows what you just said. But what we can control is, again, the same stuff we try to control each week – making sure we're prepared, ready to go and go out there and put our best foot forward."

Moments later, Daboll was asked a 99-word question that included the line, "You really don't approach this any differently?" because the Giants are in complete control of their playoff fate.

He counterpunched that one with a 33-word response.

"I think we just try to control our own destiny each week by trying to win games," Daboll said. "The goal is always to try to go 1-0, and that'll be no different this week."

The next round began with a suggestion that a coach needs to emphasize to his players the importance of finishing a season strong.

Daboll was prepared for that tactic.

"As a professional, we all have a job to do," he said. "You take a lot of pride in your work, regardless of where you're at (in) the season, what the records are. Everybody's a professional in this business: myself, the coaches, the players, the scouts. We're all professionals. I think the best thing you can do is just control what you can control, which is the things you need to control this week. All the other things, there's no real sense.

"Everybody knows what the game is this week. I think what's the most important is, 'How do we improve our blocking, our decision making, getting off blocks, our tackling, our units?' Everything. All that stuff is really what matters, and that's where our focus needs to be."

When the season began, the Giants were lightly regarded by the football public and media. Was making the playoffs one of Daboll's goals?

"I'd just say we try to win each day," Daboll said. "I think if you stack good days together, that leads to good weeks. As you keep going throughout the season, you improve. Just improving, I'd say just improving overall: our play, our coaching. Keep doing that all the way through. But certainly, you want to try to win every game you play. I'm thankful for the position that we're in, but there's a lot of work that needs to be done. It starts this week just like every other week we've had."

Will advancing to the playoffs provide long-term benefits to the players?

"I don't even think that far down the road," Daboll said. "I just think, 'Let's get ready to play the Colts and do the things we need to do this week to put ourselves in good position.'"

If the Giants win, Daboll will become the sixth coach in franchise to lead the team to the playoffs in his debut season, joining Earl Potteiger (1927, when there was no postseason, but the Giants won the NFL championship with an 11-1-1 record), Allie Sherman (1961), Dan Reeves (1993), Jim Fassel (1997) and Ben McAdoo (2016).

A reporter said he would take "one last chance" at a postseason question.

"Body blows," Daboll said. "Body blows."

What would it mean for him to make the playoffs in his debut season?

"We're not in it yet," Daboll said. "I'm not going to look too far down the road, and we're going to try to beat the Colts. And that's where I'm at with it."

View photos from the Giants' Week 16 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

*Daboll said the Giants emerged from the Minnesota game with "normal bumps and bruises."

Outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari left the game with an ankle injury he suffered while sacking Kirk Cousins.

"I think Azeez has gotten treatment the last couple days," Daboll said. "We'll see where he's at tomorrow, the next day, all the way through Friday. We'll see if he's able to go. But we really haven't done anything these last couple of days. But we'll see."

*Safety Xavier McKinney hasn't played since Oct. 30 in Seattle because of fractured fingers he suffered during the bye week. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson injured his knee against Detroit on Nov. 20 and hasn't played since. Daboll was asked if they might return to practice this week.

"X, I don't have enough to give to you," he said. "I think Adoree's making progress in the right direction. Again, where that is, I think we'll see by the end of the week. But definitely, he's making progress."

Daboll would not go so far as to say he anticipates Jackson practicing this week.

"I'd say we'll see on that," he said., "Again, each week, he's gotten progressively better. Tomorrow will be a walkthrough, so we'll see where he's at with the trainers and stuff, the rehabbing that he's doing. And by the end of the week, we'll see. Maybe he will be; maybe he won't. I think it's too early to give you that answer."

*The Giants will be able to watch the Colts on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Chargers.

"Certainly, we'll watch that game," Daboll said. "We'll watch it on television. We'll watch it when we get the coaches' tape in. Again, your job as a coach and a player is to prepare for whoever you're going to face. So, that's what we'll have to do."


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