Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: Do you have an update on (quarterback) Daniel Jones' neck? His condition at this time.
A: Yeah, I'd say we're optimistic, he's feeling better today so think he's moving in the right direction. See where he is, obviously, when he comes back on Wednesday but he doesn't feel terrible today.
Q: Do you have results from the x-ray and the scan he got today?
A: No, I'm waiting to meet with these doctors after but I'm optimistic after talking to him.
Q: Is that optimistic about this week, you mean? Or about his condition?
A: Yeah, about this week.
Q: When things are going the way that they're going right now, I know you and (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and everybody on your staff knows that staying the course is the right way to go and believing what you're doing but, how difficult is it? What's the dynamic in terms of making sure your locker room understands that's the way to go and not to panic and think the sky's falling?
A: Again, that's stuff that we've talked about since day one. You know you're going to go through some adversity. When that is, you never know, but you are consistent with your approach. Players are in right now, we looked at a small sample of tape in the team meeting. Now they're with their coordinators and the position coaches and looking at some of the things that went well and obviously some of the things that didn't go well and working to improve those.
Q: I know you're probably in communication with (President and Chief Executive Officer) John Mara a lot and what not. Can you characterize how that's been going with those guys because I'm sure this is not what they expected as well.
A: Yeah, we have a great ownership group. We communicate on the daily basis about things we can improve on and yeah, great ownership group.
Q: Between the game ending and now that we're on Zoom with you, what message have you sent to players about this season, about the next game, about frankly turning this thing around if you can?
A: Really the same. You come in, you look at the tape, you go through some of the things that were good and that can help you along the way. Then, look at a few things that are not where you want them to be. They meet with their coaches, coordinators, meet with their position coaches and you put this game to bed and get ready for next week when they leave.
Q: Where is your level of hope on (tackle) Andrew Thomas and (running back) Saquon (Barkley) this week?
A: I think that has yet to be determined here so we'll see. I think Saquon's probably closer than Andrew Thomas is.
Q: Your offensive line obviously struggled yesterday and a player or so really took it to heart. You want players who care, I certainly understand that, but how do you rebuild confidence in a player or players that you might still need because of what the numbers are on a roster?
A: You have to get with them again this week, all of the guys, not just offensive line – everybody. Obviously, we all need to improve. Coach them on the details, go out there, do what you need to do in practice and then have the confidence to go out there in the game to execute it.
Q: How much of a relief is it with Daniel? This is a guy who missed six games not too long ago. Necks funky things, you've got to err on the side of caution. How much of a relief is this with him?
A: I want to get back upstairs and meet with the trainers and the doctors so just having talked to him, he said he's feeling probably better than maybe he thought he'd feel. So, I'm just going to hold off until I get an update and go through that but optimistic after talking to him.
Q: The scan will tell a lot though, right? Guys feel good and much better but if there's something on there that they say "that's a little something" – a neck, you're not going to push a guy out there, right?
A: Yeah, we'll cross that bridge once I get more info. Again, he feels pretty good today.
Q: We asked you a little bit yesterday obviously, how he played. It seemed difficult to assess at times how he played because of what was going on.
A: Yeah, I think he made some good throws under a good amount of pressure. I mean that throw that he made to (tight end) Darren (Waller), he took a little punch step and was ready to throw it and there was somebody on him right now and he put it where he needed to put it. There were times where he had a little bit more time, the little double move to Waller, but I'd say he threw some balls under pressure and escaped and made some plays. Certainly, have to do a good job of protecting him.
Q: Would you consider the throw to (wide receiver Darius) Slayton as one of those? That seemed pretty close.
A: Yeah, it was close, that was just very, very close. Daniel is a very tough competitor and he took some shots and I'd say he is a tough competitor.
Q: I know there is a ton of tape you can watch and a bunch of analytics you can look at, but do you ever sit down and say to yourself, I don't understand why this is not working this year? I mean, is there a gut feeling that you can go by?
A: No, you just watch the tape. We played, I'd say complementary football to a degree yesterday, but we didn't finish in the redzone, and we gave up 10 explosive plays and didn't get any. So, when you're not finishing drives and scoring, and they are getting three plays over 60 yards and 10 plays near 300. Our defense did a good job of taking care of the ball, obviously scoring. Offensively, we did a good job of protecting the ball, but not scoring. Other games are different. We had a very poor turnover ratio margin, we had to try to get that fixed. So, each game is a little bit different. Obviously, not where we want to be, but we are working to improve on that.
Q: Overall though, do you get the sense that the team is improving?
A: Yeah, I'd say certain things each week, and then there is certain things that, whether you take a step back or they are not as good, we got to work on fixing those. It was a start relative to the three turnovers that our defense got, and not turning the ball over, but there is certainly a lot of other things that were in play that caused us to have the results that we had.
Q: First, was (wide receiver) Parris Campbell, was he next in line to be your quarterback the other day?
A: Yeah, he was. We had another kind of wildcat runner, too, so that play that (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) lost his wind, we were set to go with another player.
Q: I'm curious how do you move forward with your offensive line right now? Obviously, it's been problematic, you've been kind of going through guys and the protection has been probably leaky at best. How do you go about trying to get that fixed at this point now that we are going into the sixth week of the season?
A: Yeah, get into the classroom, go through it and then get out there on the practice field.
Q: What about personnel wise? Do you have anything, would you like to stick with the same guys? Is there a unit that you have in mind that you want to keep them on certain sides, move guys around at this point?
A: Well, again, that's why you rotate guys around in training camp. It's not because you want to all the time, it's because guys have to get used to playing different spots because there are injuries. So, I think we've had quite a different roster lineups relative to the offensive line and that's something we're working on to improve and we'll continue to do that.
Q: Any update on (offensive lineman Marcus) McKethan?
A: McKethan, I think he'll be okay.
Q: Two position groups for you, I'll start with receiver. Do you think there's any credence to the idea that rotating six (receivers) the way you guys are doing is not allowing anybody to maybe get in a groove and you have to shorten that rotation at all?
A: Are you talking about for receivers?
A: No, we'll play all our guys. Again, it all works together. Protection, creating separation, being where we're supposed to be, right reads, everything plays in together relative to the passing game.
Q: With the way the state of the offense is, what can they do?
A: No, I'd say they've been where they needed to be most of the time. They're doing a good job of creating space and giving the quarterback platforms and areas to throw the football. Got to finish some of the catches that we had an opportunity to make, but it all works together.
Q: Then the other position group was back to the offensive line. I always hear coaches say, 'I'll never ask a player to do something that they can't do.' So, what gives you confidence that McKethan – through all the rotations that you did during summer, he never got a first team rep when we were there – can be a first-team guard? Or that (offensive lineman Joshua) Ezeudu, who I think got first-team left tackle reps in the two weeks after we stopped coming to practice, but not during training camp, can play left tackle? What gives you confidence that you're asking guys to do something that they can actually do if they didn't do it all summer?
A: Yeah, two young players that are improving. Surely would like to have some plays back, just like everybody else would, but right mindset. They're working to improve every day.
Q: You've coached in a lot of different places for a lot of different head coaches. Where do you go in your coaching DNA during a time like this for your team? What lessons do you sort of cling to from your past?
A: It's a week-to-week, day-to-day proposition of trying to improve. That's the focus, that's what you can control, so, that's what we do.
Q: I know you've probably had this coming game circled on your calendar at some level, you and Joe. Does the status of your team now and where you are affect that at all, the excitement or the urgency of going back to Buffalo?
A: Look, it's the next game. Been in this league a long time, played against a lot of different teams that I've worked for or players that I've coached. Tremendous amount of respect for the Buffalo Bills organization, (Bills Owner/CEO/President) Terry Pegula, (Bills General Manager) Brandon Beane, (Bills Head Coach) Sean McDermott, all their coaches and players. But our focus is always on us, first and foremost, getting ready to play a game. They're a really good team. So, we'll have our work cut out for us.
Q: I just wanted to clarify with Marcus, is he going to be okay for this week do you mean, or just okay long term?
A: I think, again, I don't want to jump too far ahead. I guess we'll have a better answer for you on Wednesday. I'm optimistic for this week. But again, a lot can happen between now and when we get to play.
Q: I just wanted to clarify on a couple of injuries I don't think we asked about today. (Outside linebacker) Azeez Ojulari's ankle, where does that stand?
A: More on Wednesday for you.
Q: Some guys like (center) John Michael Schmitz (Jr.), (inside linebacker) Micah McFadden, two guys who missed the last game, how do you feel about their statuses this week?
A: I'd say too early to tell on both those guys.
Q: Lastly, (cornerback Deonte) Banks, (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), (wide receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) are also guys who got banged up a little bit yesterday. Any concern there with any of them?
A: No. I think Wan'Dale, as of right now, and again, this could change, will probably be down on Wednesday just because of his knee. I don't think it'll be anything to keep him out of the game.
Who are the other two?
Q: Deonte Banks and Adoree'?
A: Adoree', nothing. I'd say limited probably for Tae, but I don't think anything that'll keep him out at this point.
Inside Linebacker Bobby Okereke
Q. (Tight end) Darren Waller said to us in the locker room yesterday that he spoke to some of the defensive players like the offense knows we need to do more to help you guys out, you guys are playing really well. What does it mean to you that a team leader and a guy on the offense is acknowledging that outwardly and publicly and how does that impact in a positive way, maybe the way you guys are approaching this as a team?
A: Yeah, I mean I think it just shows accountability and it shows the really just emphasis, everybody knows it's a team game, we've got to play complementary football. I know that's how we felt as a defense coming off that first half and them going down and scoring that touchdown on that big explosive play. Just felt bad for the offense because we felt like if we could have got them the ball back, it would've been a different game without that score. So, we all just take our own individual responsibility and know we've got to play collectively good football.
Q. You seem to be hitting your stride, personally, the way you are playing right now. What is it about how you are seeing the field and how you are kind of making plays on the ball now, why are you so playing well?
A: I think just getting a better understanding of (defensive coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) system, getting a better understanding of how my teammates play around me and just feeding myself with confidence and positivity. Just trying to do that for the guys in the group. You've got to have faith, you've got to believe in yourself, even when other people don't and that's how we are going to turn this thing around.
Q. Just curious, when you are in the state that you guys are right now as a team, how difficult is it to stay the course and trust that you are going to get out of this?
A: I mean I think it falls on our leadership most importantly. You can say it's early, but it's only early in the season for so long and we all look at reality. We are 1-4 and we are going into Week 6 of the season. Urgency is upon us, and we realize that if we want to be where we want to be at the end of the season, we've got to start playing really good football, got to be on the details and start turning this thing around quickly. Everybody has that urgency about us, we've had that from the start and now it's just making those plays on game day.
Q. How have you felt that (head coach) Brian Daboll has handled this and how would you describe how what his demeanor has been through this with you guys?
A: I think he's done a great job. I describe him as never too high, never too low. When we make good plays, we celebrate, we get excited, but he keeps us even-keel and even when we have a poor performance, you don't dwell on it, you don't shoot down anybody's confidence, I think he has a fine balance with that.
Q. You've spoken a couple of times about last years challenges for you individually in Indy. I'm just curious, going through what you guys went through collectively as a team last year, obviously not where you expected to be, are there any lessons that you can bring to this situation? Again, I am not saying the two situations are the same, but I'm sure you took a lot of things from last year and said you know what, if I've got to go through this again, maybe I'll approach it this way, or take this kind of advice, rather than follow maybe what you guys did last year?
A: I think everybody individually has to raise their own individual standard of themselves. And then when you think about the offense, defense, special teams, we've got to play a collective game, but each unit has to hold themselves to a high standard and I had a coach, a really good coach tell me in the past, you've got to point the thumb, not the finger. You are not sitting there saying the defense is playing bad, special teams is playing bad, whatever. You point the thumb and say okay, what can I do better? And when each individual man does that, that's how this thing gets turned around, there is no secret recipe. We all have to do a better job, individually.
Q: I'm going to start with some of the guys that your locker is kind of amidst, and that's the offensive line. A couple of those guys, one in particular, took the loss yesterday very hard and it clearly seemed to me that he was accepting responsibility without necessarily spelling that out for us. How do you as a team leader approach a player who I believe is younger than you and may need sort of a hand to steady him at this point?
A: I think you keep those guys focused on the process. Results aren't always going to come when you want them to. I had a coach tell me the last thing to show is profit. When you double down, you double down on your process, you double down on your routine throughout the week, you double down on the extra work you do after practice. Because when you get to game day, it's too late. It's too late to say I wish I would have done this extra rep, or I wish I would have studied a little bit more. Control the things you can control. Throughout the week, just make sure you double down on your process, do everything you can, so on game day, you have no regrets.
Q: The spring was like utopia. Everyone was there, everything was possible, everything else. How surprised are you that these are the questions we're asking you because this is how this season has started out?
A: Yeah, I mean, reality is setting quick. But I think that was the message going into this game last week that if anybody thought this was just going to be a perfect road, or it was going to be a golden-paved road of rainbows, they are mistaken. This is the NFL. We're playing against some of the most talented athletes in the world. It's competition. Guys get paid, too, on the other side of the ball. Everybody just needs to know that it's going to take a dog-fight mentality to get where we want to go. We're going to have to scratch and claw and we're going to have to earn everything. No one's going to give anything to us.
Q: We always think of defensive players and defensive players always think they're the tougher guys. How do you define a tough quarterback? Where does (quarterback) Daniel Jones fit into that from what you've seen so far?
A: I'd put him up at the top, especially with my experience playing the Giants last year. Just seeing how tough he is, obviously, running the ball, leading the offense, putting his body on the line. But really, from his mindset and his resilience. I mean, obviously, this season hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, to start. You look at any press conference he's done and all the messages to his teammates, he's the consummate pro in being able to take personal accountability and taking responsibility. I think that's the hallmark of toughness right there.
Q: How important is it for him to stay on the field? He's got some issues with his neck. There seems to be some optimism. For any team that have their starting quarterback out there, how important is that?
A: He's a leader. He's a captain. Everybody looks up to him to be a big part of our success on this team. So, very excited for him to come in and play good football for us.
Q: Is that the best non-interception you've had in your career?
A: Yeah, I mean, it resulted in a 102(-yard) Giants record interception return for what, a pick-six? That's definitely the best, for sure.
Q: If you got it, should you have caught it, do you think?
A: Yeah, it hit my hand, so I should have caught it, for sure. I think your follow-up question was would I have scored? I think definitely, yes (laughs).
Q: You think yes? 102 yards, you think you could have?
A: For sure. My rookie year I had a 99-yard pick, too. So, three more yards, I think I would've been able to get the job done.
Offensive Lineman Ben Bredeson
Q. Obviously, everybody's focused on the offensive line performance and how difficult is it for you guys is it when the group changes every week?
A: Obviously, that adds a different element. Gelling is definitely something that's key with an offensive line, but this is why during training camp we had rotation and different combinations. It's something that we need to improve, and we obviously have different guys in there at different spots and we need to work on getting that gelling going as fast as possible.
Q. How do you help a guy like (offensive lineman) Josh (Ezeudu) whose been pretty emotional about his performance the last couple of weeks?
A: We have Josh's back. Always making sure he's okay. He's one of our guys, and we'll always take care of him.
Q. What is the difficulty of trusting the process that's (Head Coach Brian) Daboll and his staff have going on when things are going this bad? What's the challenge in that locker room with the player of staying the course?
A: It's going to reveal a lot about the team. We have a team that's tight and these are the times you need to stay together and come together more than ever. And like coach has said and the process that we've had since this staff has gotten here, staying the course with continuous improvement, and correcting the issues from the week prior.
Q. What is it about the way you guys have been going about things that makes you believe that good things will begin to happen for you guys?
A: Just faith in each other. Believing in the people that we have in this building, the team that we have – coaches, staff, players, and we're working every single day to continuously improve and go out there and win games.
Q. From a big picture team standpoint, what do you think is the biggest difference right now between this season, where everything seems to be going wrong and last season?
A: There's issues that we need to correct on the field. We need to play complementary football and continue to correct mistakes from the week before, and just go and focus on improving those for the following week.
Q. You we're in Baltimore for I think a season, maybe a little bit longer. The old cliché is offensive lineman kind of fly under the radar, and in your three years, you've learned that's not the case here in New York. Do you think it's harder to play offensive line? It's more scrutinized here because of the franchise's high days and what is now – you guys have to shoulder kind of public wise what is now a decade long search for the right offensive line.
A: I think playing offensive line is a difficult position, but at the same time that's our job. I don't think that we can let the difference in a media market impact the effectiveness of our job.
Q. Just wondering when you got pulled out of the game for a little bit. Was that a concussion evaluation?
A: No, I just – in all honesty, my helmet got popped off one play, and I had blood come out of my nose, and the ref informed me that I had to leave the field a little bit and take of that so took care of it and came back
Q. When a teammate like Josh Ezeudu shoulders so much of, in his mind, the responsibility even though it's obviously a team game. How do you work with a teammate to pick them up in those kinds of moments?
A: That's the brotherhood aspect of being on a team and especially in an offensive line room. We love Josh, we believe in Josh, and we'll always have Josh's back. There are times now when he can lean on us, and we'll stand there with him and have his back through it all. We're always checking in with one another, and Josh is going to be alright.
Q: I'm curious, how would you describe the offensive line at the moment, like what's the state of the offensive line, mentality wise, confidence wise?
A: I think there are issues that we need to correct on the field, and we are working through correcting those issues, and we believe in one another and it's a tight knit group. It's one that is driven to do the right things, and play for one another and have results, so I have faith in the room I have faith in all the guys, that we are coming together. Just like I said before, working to improve off the issues, and correct them and build a stronger unit moving forward.
Q: Obviously, (tackle) Andrew Thomas, we know what he is, right? He's an All-Pro caliber left tackle. How important is it for you guys to get him back and for that to be sooner rather than later for the totality of who you are as a line.
A: It's no secret that Andrew is an exceptional player. I think everybody recognizes that. He's the leader in our room; he's the one that everyone looks to, and we want Drew to get healthy and get back as fast and safe as possible. He's a big impact on the field anytime he's out there.
Q: Obviously, with all the things an offensive lineman has to do and has to accomplish out there, when you turn around and see the quarterback on his back, it's got to be a very difficult feeling. What is that feeling like when you turn around and (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) is back there like that?
A: Obviously, that is the last thing that we want. Our job is to protect Daniel and open lanes in the run game and that's something that we are working to correct moving on in the week. But, to answer your question, no, that's obviously not the feeling that we want as offensive line, and we are working to correct that.
Q: How does he deal with it? Obviously, physically we see how he deals with it. Quarterbacks behind the scenes can get in a guy's face, not get in a guy's face, try to motivate him, things like that. 16 sacks the last two games, how does he deal with that, with you guys, in the locker room, on the field, things like that?
A: Daniel is a professional, and we are a motivated group as well and we are out here trying to solve a problem as fast as possible and correct the issues that have occurred on the field. Obviously, we don't want those sack numbers to be anywhere near that high, preferably zero. Just us coming together and working to eliminate those problems.
Q: How important is it to get him back on the field? Obviously, he came off the field with a neck issue, sounds like there is some optimism. How important is to get your starting quarterback back out there?
A: I mean, obviously it's huge. Like I hit on that question with AT, Daniel is the leader of the offense, Daniel is who we all turn to. We obviously want him out there for every single snap, and Daniel is a highly motivated, high-energy player who everyone here respects and loves, and he's a key part of our offense.
View photos from the Giants' Week 5 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.