Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) – just a little injury update. Adoree' – does it look like it's anything serious?
A: I would say with all the injuries right now, I don't have any updates for you guys. We got in late last night, so I'll get more updates as the day goes on here and tomorrow. We'll see where we're at Wednesday. That's really with every player.
Q: You guys are out to a 4-1 start, and you're coming off a quality win against a quality opponent, obviously. As a head coach, how do you keep these guys grounded to make sure they just don't get a little bit ahead of themselves?
A: I just think we stay consistent with how we approach things during the week, again regardless of result, whether you lose. Whether you have a losing record, whether you have a winning record, I don't think you can focus on your record. You have to focus on what you need to do to improve throughout the week and for the team that you're playing against and be as consistent as you can with that. And we've tried to do that as a coaching staff. I know the players have tried to do that. And that's how we'll approach it every week regardless of the outcome. What do we need to do to fix the things we want to fix and improve on? Build off the things that we've been doing well and be as prepared as we can going into the next game.
Q: They (the Green Bay Packers) had a lot of success in the first half, kind of those quick passes to the flat, like those out routes and not so much in the second half. What did you change to take those away or at least deter that?
A: Well, I think some of those plays (Packers quarterback) Aaron (Rodgers) checks to, I think. I don't want to speak on behalf of their offense, but he has a pretty good idea. You can see him signaling to receivers, and I think that's predicated on sometimes the defensive look. They did a few of them in the second half, but far less of them. But again, I just think our players executed the defenses that (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) called, the defensive coaches called. And it was good communication. We knew that during those first few drives, that was something that they were getting to. It's better than the 50-yarders over your head. But again, I think Wink did a good job of mixing it up.
Q: I want to follow it up: You mentioned the 50-yarders over your head. You haven't given up a lot of those – I guess I'll knock on wood for you – it was sort of the, if there's a weakness in Wink's defense, especially last year (at the Baltimore Ravens) that's what happened. You kind of come after teams so much, you can get beat over the top. Why do you think you guys have been able to play this style and not get beat deep very often?
A: I think the guys have done a great job of executing, of playing the techniques and the fundamentals. Most of it is, a lot of times it's the safeties. They're the last line of defense and playing the deep part of the field and reading the quarterback's eyes – again when we play man-to-man coverage, of trying to do a good job of staying on top – playing the ball. Again, big plays usually result in some form of points. But even the ones that we've given up to this point, our guys have done a good job of lining back up. And whether it was a long run by (Panthers running back Christian) McCaffrey, whatever it may be, of playing the next play. Again, early in the year you watch the league, a lot of those big plays, there's just nobody back there. There's a breakdown, and as the season goes on, when you're watching the league and looking at teams, usually that's tightened up and it's a really good design by the offense or just a really good play by a particular skill receiver. So, it's something that we work on. I think that (defensive backs coach) Jerome (Henderson) and (assistant defensive backs coach Michael) Treier do a good job in the back end with those guys. We test them as much as we can during the week to try to prevent those. It's hard to do when you have a really good team that can push the ball down the field, but that's part of playing the deep part of the field in terms of secondary. And it also goes along with the rush, too. If you can get home and make them (the quarterback) throw it quicker, some of those take a little bit longer.
Q: I know you don't have an update on injuries, but for (running back) Saquon (Barkley), he obviously came back into the game. Is that something he needs to get checked? What's the process in that now?
A: You talking about moving forward?
Q: Yeah. Like does he need to go get tests on the shoulder? Is there more?
A: With anybody that gets 'injured' or dinged up during the game, our medical staff will look at them. We'll treat them during the week.
Q: Will he go to the doctor's and get an MRI or something special on it?
A: I think whatever we need to do, and again I'm not at that point right now with a late night of travel. Whatever we need to do for him, we'll do. And hopefully he'll be ready to go.
Q: It's something that I've heard a bunch today. You heard it yesterday after the game: You're the worst 4-1 team. What do you think when you even hear that?
A: I don't focus on any of that stuff. Again, like I said earlier, our job is to go out there and take a look and correct the things we need to correct each week. Focus on our improvement, some of the things we can do better. Build off some of the things we have done okay and get ready to play our next opponent. That's all we can control.
Q: How much do you maybe chuckle at that and say, 'Hey. We're winning games in the NFL. That's all we care about here,'?
A: Quite honestly, my focus is on trying to do what we need to do each week and be as consistent as we can. Whether we're 4-1, 1-4, whatever our record is, that's what our record is. It's always about improvement and trying to do the best job you can each week to play your best and coach your best.
Q: I want to build off a previous question about those little check passes he was throwing – (Aaron) Rodgers. It seemed that the ball's in the air, and their receivers are already engaging your defensive backs. Shouldn't that be pass interference?
A: That's up to the officials. So, I know the way that we teach it. Again, those are bang-bang type of plays. So, you try to hold off the best you can so that when the receiver catches it, you're kind of simultaneously blocking. And again, those are quick plays. But any of those questions, I leave to the officials.
Q: The other question that I have is: Did you take the restraints off (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) in the second half? Because it seemed like he just started running a lot more.
A: No. I think that when the opportunity presented itself in terms of scrambling, he did a good job of making the right decision on a couple of those action plays. And then in terms of a couple of the runs that we had – whether it was zone reads or specifically for him – we waited until the second half to get to those. It was part of the halftime communication.
Q: If I could take you back to January when you were interested in this job, obviously it's only one of 32 (teams), and the Giants are a historic franchise. And there's a lot that goes into that. But roster-wise, you obviously wouldn't take a job you didn't think you had a chance to win. I've heard you say, 'Players win the games.' Did you think this was a more talented roster than maybe the outside perception of it? Because you have a lot of former Giants draft picks – whether it's Saquon, (safety Xavier) McKinney, (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) – playing at a really high level that I would think is promising for a foundation versus like, obviously anybody playing good as well, but like if it was a bunch of rental free agents or your young players are playing well. So, did you see a chance for 'This is a place with young players that can play well,'?
A: I understand your question. I kind of live in the moment here. In just my experiences dealing with the guys from OTAs to training camp into the preseason, these guys give everything they have. And I'm honored to coach the guys and be the coach of the Giants, like I've said before. But each guy tries to get better in the things that they need to do. And everybody on our team is important. Obviously, guys like Dexter and Saquon and X (Xavier McKinney), Leo (defensive lineman Leonard Williams) when he was out there, they're good football players. But it takes all of us to continue to improve and do well. And you saw people yesterday like (cornerback Justin) Layne made a couple plays there in the fourth (quarter). And (cornerback Nick) McCloud made a play on the crossing route – guys that haven't been here a very long time. But again, that's our philosophy here is to make sure as a coaching staff that we get everybody up to speed as quick as we can. And everybody contribute in a positive way.
Q: And the other thing I wanted to ask is, I don't have the number here in front of me and I probably should. Shame on me. But you guys are outscoring your opponents at a really high level in the second half. My question is: What's a typical halftime like for you guys? Could you just like tell. Obviously, you talk to the team. Are you drawing up plays on your board at halftime? Is it just conversation? Like, what's happening in those 15, 20 minutes that you guys are just so much better in the second half than your opponents?
A: I would say the communication goes on throughout the entire game – even in the first half. And things that we think we need to try to fix or how we're getting attacked, I think the coaches do a great job on the sideline. Again, at halftime you have a little bit more time to talk about it and to really give the guys (insight and say), 'Hey look. This is how the game's kind of unfolded. This is what we want to get to.' It's not like a mass overhaul of 20 new plays or things like that, but there might be a few things that we're stressing that, 'Look, this is how we think they're attacking us from a coaching side. Here's how we think we can counter that. So, I'd be alert for this, this and this. Here's a few plays we want to start out with the second half.' Whether it's a complement of the play or maybe it is something that we saw that we changed a little bit, but again I'd say the coaches, and starting with Wink and (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka, they get together with their staffs. But that communication when things are going on, when the defense is out there in the second quarter, you're still talking about that. But then, if you have to adjust in the middle of the second quarter, usually offenses go a couple of series, and you kind of get an idea of, 'Alright, this is how they want to attack us.' Or the same thing defensively. So, you're constantly communicating. It's not, 'Hey let's just wait until the half to get these things fixed.' (Instead it's), 'Let's try to fix them now.' And then maybe you got a few more ideas, and you kind be composed at halftime. And again, (we say), 'This is what we think they're doing. This is what we either have to continue to do or change a little bit.' And then you go out there, and you're ready to go.
Q: I'm just wondering, like watching the game from home yesterday, if I didn't know that Daniel had had the ankle injury, I don't think I would've seen that watching on television. Did his comeback period show you anything, whether about toughness, commitment, sloughing off what maybe could've sidelined – at least for some period of time – another player?
A: I think I've gotten to know him pretty well here these last few months. He's a very mentally tough kid, I shouldn't say (kid) – young man. But he's also physically tough. And I got to see that here just throughout the week, getting prepared for this team that we had to play and their defense, which they have some pretty good guys up front. But he's really tough. He didn't want to miss any reps. We also had to try to get (quarterback) Davis (Webb) ready to go. So, again, each day he got a little bit better. He was pretty sore, I'd say, after the game. And then the next day, he's in here as long as he can be in here getting treatment. So, one, he cares about the team. And he did everything he could do to be as ready as he could. And I'd say that for the first five weeks that I've been with him for the regular season, I think he's exhibited his toughness – both mental and physical – every day I've been around him.
Q: My second one is, I guess, a similar theme but about a different person. Wink Martindale is just such an interesting guy to stand in front of him and listen to some of his answers with obviously a lot of experience. Have you seen anything from Wink – or what did you see from Wink where you were like, 'This is the guy I want to lead my defense?'
A: He has a lot of experience, and he's been pretty successful in this league as a defensive coordinator. I think he does a great job communicating with the players. I think he does a great job of communicating with his staff. He's smart, and I just think he's very prepared. And he's composed on the sideline. As a playcaller that's done it for some time myself, that's not always the easiest thing to do when things aren't going great. But he's very composed. He's very good with the coaches and the players on the sideline and during the week. And he gives his players ownership to our defense, which is important, and also with the coaches as well. So, (I'm) happy he's part of our staff. I think he's a fantastic coach and an even better person.
Q: You waited a long time for this opportunity. A lot of people are surprised that you guys are 4-1 at this point. I saw multiple stories this morning that (read), 'Brian Daboll is Coach of the Year.' A lot of praise for the coaching staff at this point. I mean, how do you react at this point to all of that kind of chatter?
A: I'd say it's all about the players. Give those guys credit. They're the ones that come in every day, work extremely hard, do everything they can do during practice, in the film room. And I'd say the coaches do an excellent job – the trainers. It's a team, everything is a team effort here. We've only played five games, so this is a very humbling league. It can get you quick. So, focus on the next game – the things we can do better, which there is certainly plenty of them. We'll continue to work and try to improve in those areas, but it's all about our team and trying to get better each day.