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Presser Points: Coordinators talk playoff preparations

COORDINATORS-SOCIOS

In addition to Brian Daboll's usual Thursday "flyby" with the media on his way to practice, all three coordinators took the podium at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The Giants are in the thick of preparations for Sunday's Wild Card matchup with the Vikings in Minnesota.

Here's everything you need to know:

HEAD COACH BRIAN DABOLL

🔹 Cornerback Adoree' Jackson (knee) feels good. "Again, encouraged, hopeful. But I think we've got to go through these next two days. But I've seen progress."

🔹 Tight end Lawrence Cager "played well" in Philadelphia, where he led the team with eight catches for 69 yards. Could he play a bigger role in the playoffs? "We use guys the way we think we need to use them. He's done a good job. He played well against Philly. We'll see how he does this week."

🔹 Daboll said it's "definitely loud" at U.S. Bank Stadium. "Particularly, when I used to do it, you're calling plays, you've got to be nice and, I'd say, composed the best you can. And even those things aren't perfect all the time. So, it's definitely a factor."

GIANTS INJURY REPORT 1/12

Limited:

  • CB Adoree' Jackson (Knee)
  • WR Marcus Johnson (Knee)
  • OT Evan Neal (Ankle)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (Ankle)
  • S Jason Pinnock (Shoulder)
  • DL Leonard Williams (Neck)

Full:

  • C Jon Feliciano (Back)
  • S Xavier McKinney (Fingers)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE KAFKA

🔹 Kafka opened his press conference by acknowledging any potential interest teams may have in him as head coach: "It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of those conversations and be a part of that process but really that's all I have to add on it. My focus today and this week is really on getting our guys ready for Minnesota and the week ahead and today's practice. That's really all I'll have on it. I really appreciate you guys respecting that part of it."

🔹 Daniel Jones led all NFL qualified passers with a 1.1 interception percentage in 2022 (five interceptions in 472 attempts). He dethroned Aaron Rodgers, who led the last four years in that category. However, one of those interceptions by Jones came at the hands of Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. "He's a talented player, probably going to be a Hall of Famer and All-Pro, perennial All-Pro, all over the field," Kafka said of Peterson. "He makes plays. He's a smart, instinctive player so we have to be smart with what we do and make sure our guys are detailed with what things we want to present that defense."

🔹 Jones attempted 42 passes in the first game against the Vikings, the second-highest total of his season, but that won't necessarily be the plan this week. "We've got to make sure that we go through our process on evaluating what our guys do best, go through our game plan and make sure we have enough stuff for our guys to attack them, whether it's inside, outside, down the field, short, intermediate. You've just got to cover your bases and make sure you have complementary stuff from stuff that you've done and stuff that you're good at."

🔹 Kafka praised his unheralded group of receivers for putting in the time to study and get on the same page as the quarterbacks room. "I think (wide receivers) coach (Mike) Groh has done a great job of getting those guys together as well, coaching the fundamentals and the techniques that we stress."

🔹 One of those receivers is Isaiah Hodgins, a midseason pickup who has scored in four of his past five games. "Isaiah is one of those guys that really is very dependable. He's a tough kid. He can play multiple spots – inside and outside, so he has some flexibility within the offense. I think he's just like a lot of those guys in that room, he's gained the trust of (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and they have a really good thing going right now. We'll keep continuing to build that."

🔹 This week's game is similar to a divisional matchup in the sense that both will see each other twice in the same season. Has Minnesota changed things up when it faces a team for a second time? "I think there's times when they do a little bit of both. I wouldn't say one way or the other. I think (Minnesota defensive coordinator) coach (Ed) Donatell is a talented coach. I had to play against him in the division when I was in Kansas City and so I know that those guys are well coached, they have good scheme, they do a nice job on defense and creating turnovers and they got us a couple of times. We'll be working to fix those things and making sure our guys are in the right spot."

🔹 You need to know where Vikings outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith is on every play. "Between him and (Minnesota outside linebacker) Danielle Hunter, those guys are talented edge rushers production-wise. They do a good job in the run game as well."

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR WINK MARTINDALE

🔹 Martindale was pleased with the effort of the guys who played in Philadelphia, where the Giants rested starters in the regular-season finale. "That was a lot of fun to watch. Some guys that haven't had a lot of opportunities that took advantage of (them) when they were out there."

🔹 There's always a "different sense of energy in the building and yourself professionally" when you're getting ready for these playoff games. "It's going to be a great challenge."

🔹 How does he balance aggressive and smart against a high-octane offensive like Minnesota? "So if you're aggressive, you're not smart? (Laughs) No, I'm with you. I just think that our personality as a defense is to attack. I said it before, if you've got a NY on your helmet or the old school Giants on your helmet, you're going to attack. Now, there's different ways to attack or to be smart. One of the reasons why we pressure like we do is because we know they're going to hit. It's one of those situations where that was a topic of discussion of could you have done this? Could you have done that? Could you have done this? I just look at it as for myself personally when I'm calling the game, is it time for us to win it? Which at the time we were trying to win it defensively in where we were at in that situation. Now, you're saying well you're pressuring, and you got (wide receiver Justin Jefferson) 18 out there. We have 18 with a safety over the top of him. Just like Buffalo when they rush four on fourth-and-18. Great players make great plays and 18 made a great play, he made two of them. (Quarterback Kirk) Cousins was throwing off his back foot, all credit to them."

🔹 Martindale has the utmost respect for Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell, who comes from the Sean McVay coaching tree. "You can tell he just wasn't sitting there doing nothing. He was working at that system, and it's cool to watch because everybody studies Sean's offense, it's cool to watch his little areas that he's branched off in off of that offense. But it's still in that same family."

🔹 Martindale said you "can't take away" Jefferson. "You try to limit him, but you can't take away from him. I think I said it the last time, he's one of the top two receivers and he's not number two in this league."

🔹 Last week, Martindale said the defense is starting to hit its stride. "Still feel that way."

Why?

"First of all, it's the brotherhood of the guys in that room and how they care. They're selfless in how they care for each other and they're just as happy to see someone else be successful than themselves. When you get things going that way, that's a lot of fun. Another thing is we're getting healthy. So, guys are excited about that. I just think we're in the playoffs, we've built a playoff defense and it's different ways to do it. We went obviously a different route this year than what I'm used to in the past, but it's been a lot of fun and I'm excited. Like I said, I'm fired up for the fans, I'm fired up for the players because they've worked their tails off since they've been here. It's fun to see those guys have the success that they're having and they're truly excited about representing this organization and taking on Minnesota. So, it's going to be fun."

🔹 Everything is "punch and counterpunch" in the NFL and "that's the way being a coordinator is."

🔹 The Giants have 19 players who have registered at least a half-sack this season. "That's crazy. It's also once again a credit to the players and their coaches."

🔹 The defense is "definitely inspired" by past Giants teams heading into the playoffs. "We know where the standard is, and we want to keep raising the bar. That's why I keep referring to the fans, I think they like seeing it. They like seeing an attacking style defense and ones that can hit the quarterback."

🔹 Despite the loss to Minnesota in Week 16, Martindale told the players on the flight home that "we've got a playoff defense, guys. We got beat by a buzzer beater at half-court. That's what it was. The biggest thing in this league is you never let one game beat you twice. So, you stay consistent. That's the way Dabs has been since day one, that's why I love working with him. He's been consistent since day one and there's no riding the roller coasters. It's an emotional game, that's hard to do and keep coming back in on Monday and staying steady with it. I think that's what the players appreciate the most, and I think that's what the coaches appreciate the most."

🔹 Martindale said it "sure" does change the way you call plays with safety Xavier McKinney, who missed the first matchup. How so? "I'll tell you after the game after Kevin [O'Connell] sees it first, but it definitely will change the way you can call some plays."

SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR THOMAS MCGAUGHEY

🔹 McGaughey started by wishing his father, Thomas McGaughey, Sr., a happy 70th birthday. "I just wanted to say hello, dad. … The older I get, the more I look like him. Scary."

🔹 Vikings safety Josh Metellus blocked a Jamie Gillan punt in Giants territory, leading to Jefferson's go-ahead touchdown catch with three minutes left in the game. "It's blood in the water," he said of when opponents see that, especially heading into a rematch. "That's anytime you have a blocked kick in this league. When you put blood in the water, and that's what they do anyway. They've rushed 46 times this year. That's more than anybody else in the league. And obviously, percentage-wise, they block more punts. They do a good job – (Vikings special teams coordinator) Matt Daniels and his group – do a good job. Those guys play extremely hard, and it's going to be a challenge for us. Again, that's playoff football. That's life in the NFL. It's punch, counterpunch."

🔹 McGaughy said the block was a "simple alignment thing. Feet got caught up. It wasn't anything special that they did. They've run the same rush probably 15 times the whole year. It was more of what we did than what they did. Again, we cleaned that up. So, we just got to, again, go out and play."

🔹 Greg Joseph "stepped up to the challenge" when he made the 61-yarder to defeat the Giants as time expired.

🔹 What's Graham Gano's range indoors?" It just depends on the day, how he's feeling. Graham's not 25 anymore, so it just depends on how he's feeling. But he's right at that line. In a 'got-to-have-it' situation, (he's) probably right at it."

🔹 You don't have to deal with the elements indoors, but not all domes are the same. "It depends on the turf. Like last time we played them, they painted it all white. So, it was hard to stick your foot in the ground in certain parts of it. All that makes a big difference in striking the ball and contacting the ball. If you can't get your foot all the way in the ground and it's kind of just sliding over the top of the grass, it makes it a little bit different."

🔹 Any benefit to putting the fake field goal on tape last week in Philadelphia? "Maybe."

View rare photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings

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