Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: I have a couple questions on guys who didn't play last night. The two defensive linemen, Nacho (Rakeem Nuñez-Roches) and A'Shawn (Robinson), was that just based on where they are coming back from things?
A: Yeah, that's kind of the sitdown with the trainers and the sport science and develop a plan for each of those guys. They weren't going to play last night.
Q: And then (cornerback) Rodarius Williams, was he hurt or was that just couldn't get him in the game?
A: No, he wasn't hurt, we actually released him this morning. We've got some younger guys, been busy here in meetings. That happened this morning.
Q: When you look back at last night, where do you start with evaluating? We know what we saw in the press box, it looked awfully good from there but where do you start with an evaluation of a game like that?
A: I'd say it's the same for every game in terms of what we look at. The overall execution of the play, how each person is performing their individual job and technique and assignment. There is a lot to correct, regardless of when the game is being played, preseason, regular season, who's playing in it. That's the job of a coach so you go through the tape. Certainly, a lot of things to correct. You praise some of the positive things that were accomplished in the game but every game there is so many different little things to correct so we just try to stay consistent with our approach. Whether it be a preseason, a regular season, any of those. We just try to stay consistent with how we approach things. Come in as a coaching staff, we watch the tape all together, offense, defense, special teams, just as a coaching staff. I'd say in the preseason, you are really evaluating a lot of the players in terms of the competition spots, where they are at. So, you spend a lot of time doing that and then you have another meeting right now. All the coaches are with their players right now so just trying to improve on the number of things that we can improve on.
Q: It seems to me that (wide receiver) Jalin Hyatt has come a long way in a short period time, how do you see it?
A: I'd say he falls right in line with all the other rookies. I think they have been here for quite some time after the draft process. They've made strides each and every day. There is a lot of things that are happening to them for the first time. Just because you are not getting a lot of passes as a receiver and catches as a receiver doesn't always necessarily mean you are not improving, and I think he's done that since he's been here. There is a lot to learn, he still has a lot to learn, but he's made strides. I think (wide receivers) Coach (Mike) Groh and (offensive assistant/game manager) Cade Knox have done a really good job in that room with him along with the veterans. He would be the first to tell you that he's got still a lot to learn and a long way to go.
Q: When you are dealing with a rookie like (running back) Eric Gray, who you are asking to do the return game, sometimes the best play is minimizing, you know what I mean, it's not a splash play, it's just making a catch…
A: Risk (vs.) reward.
Q: How do you assess his two? He had a couple decisions early, kind of looked like he almost let the first punt drop and then he came in, kind of waved people off and caught it. Then on the kickoff, there is a temptation maybe to get the ball when it's bouncing around there.
A: Yeah, made a good decision there, actually got good field position off of it. Yeah, I think he has made good decisions back there. The more he does it, the better it is, particularly outside and in our stadium in particular with the wind. There was some good wind there last night in terms of the kicking game. He's worked hard at it, he will continue to work hard at it and much like Jalin, I think he's made some strides, but he's still got a ways to go.
Q: Is it hard to trust a rookie in that situation because there is a lot of problems that can arise?
A: No, I think whether you are a rookie or a two-year vet, a five-year vet, you go through a process that starts back in OTAs and camp. You work hard at it, you prepare for it and if you prepare hard for it and continue to practice it, as a coach you have confidence in those players because of the amount of time and effort and energy they put into it.
Q: What did he (Eric Gray) show you on the nine-yard touchdown run? Seemed like he had to get some of that on his own.
A: I thought he ran with a good pad level. I thought it was well blocked upfront with the line and Belly (tight end Daniel Bellinger), there was some good finish in there and he had some good leg drive and finished it off there. That's important, you have to get the ball downhill, particularly down there in the red zone and run with good pad level and leg drive, got to block it up well. The space is condensed, course patterns are a lot different. There is more guys in the box, there is usually an extra guy you are going to have to either run through or run around. It was good to see him be able to finish the play in the end zone.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Daniel Bellinger. When (tight end) Darren Waller came, Daniel kind of was the forgotten guy. What have you seen from him and how is he complementing Darren and the office?
A: He played some last year, quite a bit and then he had the eye injury, but he's got the right mindset of kind of the person we are looking for. He's smart, he's tough, he's dependable, he's a good teammate, he works hard. He puts the team first. I think it's good to have veterans in the room that can help those players as well, those young players. I think he's made strides from when he played last year to where he's at now. Time will tell once we get going here in the regular season. Good young player, has the right mindset and has a good player in the room to learn from as well now.
Q: I wanted to ask you about (tackle) Evan Neal. Obviously, came back from almost two weeks of not practicing, can you just talk about the progress he's made and what was he doing to kind of not fall off despite the fact that he couldn't practice?
A: Yeah, you know he was in the protocol, so whatever we could have him do, he did, relative to the rules of the protocol He's another young player that worked hard in the offseason. He shed some weight, I'd say improved technique and it was good to have him out there. I thought he showed well here in this game.
Q: Because Darren is essentially a fourth wide receiver, you saw with (tight end Rob) Gronkowski in New England, how much does he allow you to do with your offense that maybe you couldn't do before?
A: Yeah, I think he's got obviously a good skillset. I wouldn't classify him as a wide receiver; I'd say he's a tight end. We ask him to do everything that tight ends do. I've coached the position for a while. A variety of blocking schemes… Again, he's a player that you can use in different roles relative to where he lines up at the line of scrimmage or outside the line of scrimmage. He's capable of doing those things, so he gives you some flexibility in terms of formationally and personnel usage and things like that, and he's done that throughout his career. He's a good guy to have on your team and work with.
Q: How important are those pre-snap alignments to what you try to do? It seemed like on the first drive you had a different formation every time you went out.
A: I'd just say I think it depends on what they're doing defensively to you as well. So, it's kind of like the cat-and-mouse game. You put one group in, what do they put in? Sometimes it tells you stuff, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it gives you false keys. It all depends on the defense that you're facing and the philosophy of that defensive coordinator or that defensive play caller.
That's something you look at during the week as you get going here into the regular season. You never have an idea of exactly how teams want to play you, so you have to have multiple things ready to go on a call sheet based on what you're going to get formationally from another team defensively. So, that's kind of pre-work that you do during the week, and you really don't know until you get that out there in the game of how they want to approach it.
Q: On the Bellinger touchdown, you lined up Waller just inside him. It looked like the two defenders, their eyes went to Waller, and Bellinger obviously blocked a little bit first and then popped open. Did you feel like that formation there allowed him to get open?
A: I thought it was a pretty standard play that the players executed well that (offensive coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka) thought would be good down there in the red zone. I'd say there was a play fake with it. They were on (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) pretty good, and again, another good example of Daniel adjusting his throw and his arm angle and things like that to get around the defender that's kind of unblocked on that play, or should I say late blocked on that play. Yeah, they did a good job executing.
Q: I was talking to (wide receiver) Bryce Ford-Wheaton last night after the game just a little bit about the message that you guys send. I'm sure you send it to all the players when they get here: 'We know what you can do in your offense or defense, but special teams is really going to be your ticket to kind of open eyes and stick that you can be in this league.' I know buy-in is important, but how difficult is it for players in general to kind of take that message and translate it and really make an impact on special teams, given the idea that you guys don't necessarily have the live action that you do have in the summer? How much of it is trying to translate what their skill set might be?
A: I think it's really not that difficult, because for some of the players, if they don't do it, they're not going to be on the team. So, that's job security or not having it, and that's the reality of it. There are obviously some players that come in and play at certain positions and that's their role, then there's other players that have a different role whether it be in a different punt team, or punt return team, kickoff, kickoff return… I think everybody understands that. The people in the building, and I'd say, just people in general that are competing for roster spots throughout the National Football League, that there's a role for you if you can go out there and earn that role and show that you can do it at a high level. I would say that's probably the biggest thing. If you can earn a role and you can do something really well, regardless of what team it is on, a defensive unit, an offensive unit, a punt team unit, a punt return team unit, and you're really good at it, you have a chance of sticking around a place. So, there's I'd say a lot of competitive spots right now that people are kind of vying for, and certainly special teams, particularly with role players, backup players, can make a big difference.
Q: I guess a better question would have been if the buy-in is there, but some guys can't do it. Some guys go out there and try to do it and they can't do it. So sometimes it's finding that right fit, right, in terms of what guys can do?
A: Yeah, no doubt about it. If you're not a starter or you can't do it, then you're probably not going to be around very long.
Q: What did you see from (offensive lineman) Josh Ezeudu and your interior offensive line, the starting group in general?
A: Yeah, I think all three of them did a good job. We rotated them as you guys saw, and I'd say they all were pretty productive in the things we asked them to do yesterday.
Q: Obviously, you're rotating them. It was a pretty even split. Do you want to have that set, or would you like to have it set? How willing are you then to take that into the season and just keep going with that rotation?
A: Yeah, I've done it in multiple spots. Last year, we did it some. I've done it in a lot of different spots that I was at, whether it was as a coordinator or even a position coach. We'll let those guys keep competing it out. They've done a good job. No decisions have to be made right now, so we'll kind of let it play out.
Q: Do you have any other roster moves that were made this morning to go along with Rodarius?
A: No, not right now. Nope. That was the only one.
Q: Were there any injuries out of last night?
A: Yeah, I have not yet met – this is kind of like last week – with the doctors yet. So, I'll have a better answer for the injury stuff on Monday for you.
Q: Is there a reason (running back) Saquon (Barkley) didn't play?
A: Yeah. We just didn't play him.
Q: You had so many passes in that opening series. I was just wondering, if we're not going to use him with the first team, he's not going to play?
A: It's kind of—we have a plan for each one of our guys, and that was his plan.
View photos from the home preseason opener between the Giants and Panthers at MetLife Stadium.