Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: I want to ask you about (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson). When you have a corner playing at the level he's at, what does that do? How important is that for you guys' defense?
A: It's important. He's really done a good job since we've been here. I think he's bought into what we're trying to do. I think he's had a really good camp, and that's led into a strong start to the season. I have a lot of confidence in him, and I'm glad he's part of our team.
Q: And just specifically, the way you guys are going to play with so much pressure and so aggressive, you really can't do that probably if your corners aren't capable of f playing on an island. Like some systems, you maybe hide a corner; it feels like here you probably can't.
A: I think (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) does a good job though of mixing up. There's a variety of way to play to pressure, as I know Wink has talked to you about. You can bring only four guys and consider it a pressure and do different things on the back end in terms of your coverage systems. I think Wink does a good job of mixing that up, and Adoree's been a very dependable player for us.
Q: I wanted to ask you about the start of the last two weeks. The offense has kind of gotten off to a slow start as compared to the second half of the games. What can you do to maybe expedite things a little bit, get them going on a faster tempo and being more productive as far as scoring opportunities?
A: That's an important part of the game for us is trying to get off for a fast start. That doesn't always happen. The last two games are the only two games to go by in terms of the regular season. So, we'll continue to work at that and put together some good openers. It takes everybody – the coaching, the playing – everybody. And it's something we'll work on.
Q: Is it possible that you might consider like an up-tempo or a no huddle offense to kind of jump start things?
A: I think we go into the week and the game trying to put together the best plan we can. And I think the offensive coaches do a really good job. Again, we haven't had the results that we're hoping for, but I believe in the process and the preparation that those guys do. We'll continue to try to do a better job at that.
Q: I know you've been talking about competition and that leading into playing time and the way players are used in the games since training camp. A lot of coaches talk about that, not a lot of coaches always follow through on that. It seems like they just throw everybody out there the way things were. A – do you think that players believed you before the season started, that that's the way you were going to treat things? And two – is it difficult for the players to accept that kind of role?
A: I think those are two good questions; I think they're best questions for those guys. All we try to do is the very best we can as a coaching staff; we have high standards in terms of going out there, preparing well, practicing well. Each week is a different week. I know we talked about this yesterday. The receivers, Slay (wide receiver Darius Slayton), he was active but had a few reps. Kenny (wide receiver Kenny Golladay) didn't have a lot. And if you look at the defensive side, sometimes it's planned. You know, (inside linebacker Austin) Calitro had five. In the previous week, he had 40-plus. So, we'll try to do what we think is best for our football team. I think that's the most important. I think you just are open and honest with the players of what their role is, what they need to do to improve and let those guys go out there and compete it off each week. Again, we're kind of at the introductory stages of our program and what we're trying to do, and I think competition is the best thing for everybody.
Q: When you make a decision when it pertains one of the highest paid players of the team, do you have to check above you to make that call? I'm talking about Kenny, obviously. Do you have to check with (general manager) Joe (Schoen) or (president and chief executive officer) John (Mara) and make sure that's okay?
A: Joe and I collaborate on pretty much everything in our building. I bounce ideas off of him; he bounces ideas off of us. I think something we want to create is as competitive of a team as we can. And regardless of where you're drafted, how you got here, how much money you make, we believe in everybody goes out there and competes, and we play the guys that earn the right to play that week.
Q: Any (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams update?
A: It's his knee. But it's better than it could be. So, he's day-to-day. He said he feels a lot better than he did yesterday. He's walking around, so we'll just take it like we normally do with these things each day. So, hopefully he's a fast healer.
Q: So that day-to-day means?
Q: Another defensive question for you, I guess two parts. What did you think of the way Dane Belton (safety) played, and how did his play allow you to do some different things defensively with (safety Xavier) McKinney and (safety Julian) Love?
A: It was good to have him out there. I thought he played fast. It was his first NFL play, and he recovered a fumble there on the kickoff. He's been a guy, as a young player, that's been right in the back hip of those guys when he was injured. You can tell his preparation paid off. Just like a lot of the guys, there's certain things he can improve on, like all of us. I thought he played fast. It was good to have him out there in terms of the defensive packages. I think that's something each week. You go into a game, offensively you look at things. What do you like to do? How do you like to match up? We certainly do that there, and Wink does a great job, along with the defensive staff, of figuring out what we need to do for that particular week. So, for this week, it was good relative to how Carolina played the weapons that they had and the matchups we thought were in favor of us if we played it a certain way.
Q: A bunch of your players in the locker room, and you said it before, they said one of the keys to this team is they're not afraid of failure. I'm not 100 percent sure what that means, but are there examples of that that you coached in yesterday's game that show us that you're not afraid of failure?
A: Well, I think that you can get bogged down in this league pretty quick by making a mistake and letting it affect the next play. The other thing I think for play callers is you put together a plan you prepare during the week. You explain it to the players, and then when you get into that situation, I've been there before, (you think), 'Oh boy, should I really call this?' I think (offensive coordinator) Mike (Kafka) – I think that was a great example at the end of the game there with the pass play that Mike called and put it in DJ's (quarterback Daniel Jones) hands. I think we really had good communication from Mike to the quarterback. Again, that was discussed probably a couple plays before. He knew the play he wanted to go to. And then those two plays, back-to-back plays, where (safety) Tony Jefferson made the tackle on (Panthers running back) Christian McCaffrey. That was a great play; one of the plays of the game that allowed us to get to third-down and get that sack with Julian (Love). Pretty aggressive play calls, I'd say both on Mike's end and on Wink's end. So, again, I want them to be themselves, play fast, play free, move onto the next play. We all make mistakes. I'm probably the leader of that. Once you make them, don't let it linger. Move onto the next play. The next step is the most important.
Q: Would an example of that (be) – tell me if I'm on that mark with this or not – about maybe not worrying about consequences and have the conviction. You call for (running back) Gary Brightwell, Mike makes that call. (Running back) Saquon (Barkley) is in the backfield. So, if Gary Brightwell drops the ball or gets stopped for no gain, it's easy for me to come to you and say, 'Just give it to Saquon.' Isn't that the easiest thing to do? Why do you give it to a guy that has one career rush? So, is that also like, 'I'm not afraid to fail in that situation because I believe in this play?'
A: Yeah. I think – well again – our job as a coaching staff is to do the very best we can to prepare those guys and put plays in that we think are going to work. You're never sitting up there at night drawing up a play going, 'Boy, let's call this play. We only got probably about a 10 percent chance to hit it.' You spend a lot of time on it. Do they all work? Absolutely not. There's been times where – let's just call it a gadget-y play or a trick play or maybe something's that a little bit unique that I've called – that it hasn't worked. And you can't worry about the criticism that you're going to get with it if you believe in that play and you think that's the right thing. And that happens quite a bit, but you have to, again, have conviction in it. That's why you're putting the play in or the defense in or the special teams play in, and you just don't pick it out of a hat. You work at it. You evaluate it. You practice it. There's been times where you think it's going to work. You go out there and practice it a couple times during the week, and by Friday night or Friday after practice, you're throwing it away. So, that's the job of the coaching staff. That's what we'll always try to do here. And I'm pleased with how those guys prepare and the preparation that they put in, much like the players.
Q: How difficult is it as a play caller when you're not having success with the run to stick with it in the second half, and how would you evaluate Saquon's game yesterday? Obviously, it wasn't the same numbers as the first game, but in many ways, it was still very effective.
A: That's always a challenge. And again, I think it just depends on what you're trying to get accomplished. Obviously, Saquon is a big part of what we do and what we want to do. And when you go into half and there's eight carries for zero yards, I just put myself in Mike's shoes. You're going, 'Oof. We've gotten zero yards on eight plays.' But Saquon's one of our best players, and again, the running game in this league is not always pretty. Maybe it's two, maybe it's zero, maybe they're doing different things that they're getting in the backfield and hitting us for a couple losses. But again, I think kind of how the game's flowing, that dictates some of the things. We were in a close, contested back-and-forth game. The big thing for us, obviously, how that game was going, was let's take care of the ball; let's continue to feed 26 (Saquon Barkley). And a couple of those runs you saw later that got hit for a minus one, squirted around the corner off the edge for a big play. And then he had another one. So, he's certainly a guy that's important to our offense. And is it tough at times when you're not gaining yards? Sure – I'd say particularly as the play-caller. But again, that falls back on your preparation plan and your commitment to the players, particularly your really good ones.
Q: How hard is it when Leo gets hurt? It seems like you just flipped the defense to a more nickel and dime package. I mean, how hard is that to do? You went with two linemen almost the rest of the way.
A: I think that just is a credit to the coaching staff. Again, being prepared for really (anything) – you've got to have contingency plans when things come up. Adjust, and communicate it on the sideline. That's a strength, I'd say, of Wink's and the defensive staff. I'd like to say that's a strength of all our coaches. I have a lot of confidence in that regard, and on top of that, it's the next-man-up mentality. So, every person on our roster is important from the practice squad players to the backups to the starters because you never really know during a game what you're going to need. And that's why their preparation throughout the week is really important in terms of being a pro, understanding the gameplan. And when they have an opportunity, like I'd just say say Ox (outside linebacker Oshane Ximines). We talked about him last week. He's had his opportunities, and he's made the most of them. He was the backup guy, and he was behind (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux and (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari), and all that guy did was work his tail off all offseason. And I think he's reaping some of the stuff that he's done. And that's how you want all your players to be.
Q: I'm just going back to (a previous question) and what he asked about Golladay, the contract and everything. Have you felt the need or has John Mara asked you to ask about playing time for one of the higher-paid players on your roster? I know you did not bring him with you, he was here when you got here, but have you had that conversation with John at all?
A: I'd say this, Joe (Schoen) and I talk about a lot of things. Mr. Mara has been great in terms of Joe and I have handled a lot of the football things. Obviously, you're going to have communication with your ownership group on a lot of different things, we certainly do. I think we have a good relationship in terms of communication. Again, whether it's the highest-paid player, the lowest-paid player, the highest draft pick, an undrafted free agent – we're going to go out there and let the guys compete it out. One week doesn't necessarily mean this is what's going to happen the next week. I think everybody understands what we are trying to do as an organization in terms of continuing to get better, competing for spots, working as hard as you can work. Again, I'll just say (wide receiver) David Sills has done a good job. He's done a good job and he's earned some of his playing time and each week is a competition.
Q: I'm just curious, the way offense has evolved in this league – Is there really such a thing as a gimmick or gadget any more in offenses in the NFL? How have you adjusted to that idea of no play is too gimmicky or too cute with the way you guys want to run things?
A: I would say that if there's a good play out there that we can research, it's worth our time to research. Calling gadget-type plays, I think there's a time and a place for them. It makes the defense defend the whole field, and I would say if I was down the street at a high school game and saw a good, cool-looking play, I would research it. There's a lot of good coaches in this profession starting with little youngsters to high school to college to pros. The minute you think you have all the answers because you're coaching in the National Football League, that'll get you real quick. I think be open minded, do as much research as you can and if you think a play is going to give you an advantage regardless of special teams or offense or defense, you owe it to the players to do that research. And if you believe in it and you think it's going to work, then you call it.
Safety Julian Love
Q: As we speak, you might be number one in the NFL on third down defense. Tell us some of the reasons why you guys have been so successful in that area?
A: One, it's just players being kind of gritty and making it a point to get off the field. That's what we try to pride ourselves on especially in the secondary. We've been just battling honestly. It hasn't been pretty or perfect, but we've been battling. Secondly, it's attributed to (Defensive Coordinator) Wink Martindale and the staff and the scheme that we've been running. He comes up with great schemes for the whole game but third down especially. We take pride in that as a defense.
Q: Is that something that Wink has emphasized from day one?
A: Yeah, for sure. When you look at the areas of the game you need to win, he pinpoints third down, the red area, and then closing out half – so like two-minutes. Those are just emphasis points for all defenses, but Wink has been preaching on it and harping on it since OTA's.
Q: A couple of players yesterday mentioned this team and this coaching staff being unafraid to fail. What exactly does that mean?
A: That's a good way to put it I think. For a team you just want guys to send it. You want guys to play fast, play free, without worrying about being perfect. I think that's something that guys might have fallen victim in the recent years. Now from top down, and its coaches too, just being open and willing to send it and make mistakes because there's winning and there's learning. That's how we approach it.
Q: Obviously, that doesn't give everyone carte blanches just to do whatever they want on every play. Do you have maybe an example or two from maybe yesterday's game that would indicate what not being afraid to fail? Was it maybe your blitz or sack?
A: What was that term you used in the beginning? Carte blanche?
Q: Carte blanche –
A: Carte blanche?
Q: If you have carte blanche that means you have freedom.
Q: So, if Wink says, 'Julian I give you carte blanche on every play to blitz,' that means you can blitz on every play. I imagine he's not saying you have carte blanche.
A: I must've missed that English class at Notre Dame (laughs). That one alludes me.
Q: Carte blanche. I think it's French.
A: I think a good example, obviously you've got the sack that's a big play, but in the first quarter (Panthers Running Back Christian) McCaffrey got a screen and I was able to bring him down for a gain of maybe five or six, maybe seven (yards). On that play I was on my rear end. I fell on the ground plain and simple, but you just get up and you just play free. Maybe in the past I might've thought like, 'Oh my gosh they're going to hate that on film.' But there is none of that, you get up and you make a play because the teams depending on you just to really play loose and play free.
Q: You have Carte blanche to continue this zoom call.
A: (Laughs) Appreciate it.
Q: When you have a guy like (Cornerback) Adoree' Jackson who just basically locks down another team's number one wide receiver, whoever he is matched up with, what does that do for you guys as a defense?
A: It's crucial. His role for us has been very important. We have expressed how important he is on personal levels, from a coaching perspective, because he's our guy and right now he's our number one corner. It's important to have a guy like that who is just playing the game right now at a very high level. What he's doing for us has been, you can see in the tape, has been really great stuff. And it was his birthday, so he had a day. Good day for him.
Q: He doesn't really get that attention. Do you think that will start to change or why do you think that might be the case?
A: I'm not sure. He goes about his work. There's not a lot of noise, he doesn't do anything extracurricular, he's just about his work. He's been successful in this league. I'm not sure why he gets that label or why he has in the past, but we know what we have. Thankfully, he's on our team and he's a great guy.
Q: If you've heard the fans or watched the TVs, how do you guys keep from getting a big head? Even the odds makers have favored you against Dallas this week.
A: Honestly, today's a crucial day for us. We got in, we made a lot of corrections that we needed to make and we're going to just have a good week of practice. That's all we can focus on, that's all we can do. It's crazy to look far in the future. We've seen many teams in NFL history that start a certain way, finish a certain way, it's the NFL. Things can happen any week. Our biggest game of the year is this week because it's the next game. Simply put. On an outside standpoint I think (Head Coach Brian) Daboll has done a great job of emphasizing what's important. He harped on it today with us and we I think as a team understand. We won two games. I know it's a little different than it has been in the past few years but at the end of the day it's two games. We want to stack and just go 1-0 next week.
Q: What's it going to mean to this defense to have (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) and (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) back?
A: There's conversation about putting me at defensive end, but I'll let the young guys go after it, a selfless guy (laughs). But it's huge having them back. I'm excited to see what Thibodeaux brings to this team, he's a stud athlete. It's been good to possibly be getting him back. I think Ojulari's a fantastic player. He's a guy who just goes about his work. Kind of what I mentioned about Adoree' earlier. He's a guy who's quiet but just gets after it. Potentially getting these guys back with us, is huge. They're just studs. It means a lot for what we do as a defense.
Q: Coach Daboll has been telling us, 'It's going to be competition and whoever competes the best and does the best at practice is going to play in the game.' A lot of coaches say that. Did you believe that as you saw these lineups going through the first two weeks?
A: When something is said like that you could see that as lip service, I guess. Like, 'Yeah we get it, there's certain things that are also in affect,' but he stayed true to his word and that's what it is. We want guys to be prepared, we want guys to be as ready and we have as much confidence in them going into games as we can. Practice is important, and he puts an emphasis on practice. If you have a bad day, you've got to get it turned around, you got to get it corrected. We all have bad days so that's just what it is. He's staying true to his word, and I respect that. He's staying fair.
Q: What did you think of (Safety) Dane Belton's performance from the first play recovering the fumble and if you guys said anything to him about it all the way through the rest of the game?
A: Oh my gosh, that's quite the start to a career. I couldn't be happier for him. He's a guy who came in as a rookie and has done everything that we've asked him to do, everything I've asked him to do, from a rookie perspective. He's stayed prepared, he's stayed locked in mentally, which is so tough to do when you're really young. He was able to get around the ball this weekend. I couldn't be happier him. He's going to do a lot for us, he needs to do a lot for us, quite frankly. I think that's what is expected of him, and he knows that. I think the future's bright for him.
Q: You played in a three-safety rotation whether it was you and (Former Giants Safety) Jabrill (Peppers), (Safety Xavier) McKinney, (Former Giants Safety) Logan (Ryan). Now you guys looked like you played three different safeties yesterday with you, McKinney, Belton. What is the potential for that group and what did it allow you to do? Because it looked like you and McKinney were almost playing inside linebacker. Is that part of a job of a safety in today's NFL, to almost be like a Swiss army knife?
A: Yeah, in today's game I would say honestly that's what you saw, playing in the box and down low. From a week-to-week perspective that's just the Christian McCaffrey affect. We needed speed on the field to account for what he can do with the ball in his hands. That's what that was and we're going to switch it up every single week depending on what puts us in the best position to succeed. I've been a part of three safety rotations in the past, at the end of the day you just want your best players on the field. Wink does a great job of playing to players' strengths. Which not every coach does, so we have the freedom to know that we're getting put in the situations where we can succeed. That's what that is.
Q: What, if anything, in the brief time that (Dallas Quarterback) Cooper Rush was there did you learn about him? Is there a little different feeling now this week, that a division rival on the docket to play this week?
A: Cooper, I just remember him being a great guy off the field. Obviously, he wasn't starting games for us, but he was a great guy in the locker room. That's all I can say about him in terms of his character he was a good dude. When it comes to this week though, it's a divisional game. There's animosity between these two teams. It's going to be an exciting one. Obviously, it's Monday night, it's at home. Our home crowd was really rocking Sunday. It's going to be an exciting game. With all that involved, it's important that we maintain who we are and we're just a grimy team. I'm going to be honest with you. We're just a grimy team who knows it's never going to be easy but we're going to try to find a way to win. That's what this week will be. We'll get on the gameplan and have the best plan for them. It's just another game in terms of concepts with a little heightened excitement for Monday night.
Running Back Gary Brightwell
Q: You made your mark on special teams last year, you had one rushing attempt, and you had one in the first game. That third-and-one play where you're lined up in front of (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), did you think you caught the Panther by surprise? How excited were you on that play and why do you think it worked?
A: When that play was called, I was already focused on it because I had seen the down and distance. When it happened, I was ready. It was just a typical short yardage play that I knew I had to get that one yard and whatever comes after is extra.
Q: Do you think it looked like they were peaking at Saquon a little bit, which defenses are known to do when he was in the backfield. Do you think you being the up man there, they didn't expect you to get the ball?
A: I'm not really sure what they expected. If Saquon is in the backfield, they should be expecting him to get the ball – one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Q: What does it say about this team that in a key situation there they turn to you? Two of the last two touchdowns were scored by (Fullback Chris) Myrick and (Tight End Daniel) Bellinger. These aren't the guys that have the fans wear their jerseys all the time. What does it say about the team that you are the ones that are turned to in these key moments?
A: As far as what took place on that play in the third and one?
Q: No, just the team in general.
A: What are you asking.
Q: That it didn't go to Saquon there and they're not throwing to their big-name receivers all the time, that they're spreading the ball around a little bit to guys who are maybe a little lesser known. Guys who weren't first-round picks and big free agency signings.
A: I feel like in football you got certain packages that make plays happen. That was just one of those packages.
Q: When you make a play like that, when you get one chance and make that play, can that earn you more opportunities? You look at the depth chart you have a good running back room but how do you think about that? Do you think that should earn you more opportunities with the ball in your hand if you succeed when your name is called?
A: I mean honestly, every week I prepare for the best so every week I'm preparing to play in the game whether I play or not. I just own my role so every week I'm just going in preparing to play. I'm doing what's asked of me. I'm doing my job, that's all I can do – just do my job.
View photos from the Giants' Week 2 game vs. the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium.