Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: You're 6-2 going at the bye week. Do you give yourself a chance to digest where you're at at this point in time? And how pleased are you (with) where you're at?
A: Ten hours since we've been back. So, we'll review yesterday's tape. We have some workdays ahead of us here as a coaching staff to kind of look into some things and then get ready for (the) Houston (Texans). You're always self-evaluating yourself each week. We have quality control coaches; we have analytics. Then the coaches do it. We try to do it on a week-to-week basis and try to improve on things that maybe we're not doing as good of a job as we'd like to do and try to build off some of the positive things. So, we'll always continue to do that. But really, we're in right now looking at this tape. And the next few days, we'll have some time to get on to Houston and look at a few other things.
Q: It seems like an ongoing issue, week to week, is the slow start coming out of the gate. I'm just wondering is it because something is conflicting with the scripting – assuming you guys are doing scripting – or what do you think is kind of behind the slow starts that you guys have had?
A: It's always something a little bit different. Jacksonville, we came out and started fast. I think we threw it eight out of nine times that game. This game we ran some RPOs (run pass options). Production on first down, in this case yesterday, second down, which led to some third-down calls. Converting on those third downs are big because either you continue on in the drive and keep going, or you have to punt. So, converting on those third downs, but really executing on first and second downs, a wide variety of things. As always, it takes 11 guys to execute a play successfully. So, we'll continue to work on that.
Q: You guys had a lot of success this season, obviously, winning games in the fourth quarter. You're doing it even without a lot of punch, at times, in your passing game. I'm wondering if, when you look at the big picture, do you think that style is sustainable – kind of living on the edge, waiting for the end of games – or if you think you need to add some pop into the passing game at some point?
A: I'd say most games come down in this league to one-score games – a lot of them, a high percentage of them. So, usually the teams you're playing are good. It's a back-and-forth game. A lot of games are won that way. Obviously, you're always looking to improve; those chunk plays help you in moving the ball and scoring points. We'll continue to look at that and figure out ways to try to improve that area. But again, most of these, it's not like you're used to coaching in some colleges, and it's over in the first quarter. These games are back and forth, and unfortunately yesterday we left out a few plays that we hadn't been making those mistakes, we'd given ourselves a chance. Yesterday just got away from us.
Q: When I look at the stats – yards from scrimmage – (running back) Saquon (Barkley) has 900-something (yards), which is towards the top of the league. And then (wide receiver) Darius Slayton has 232 (yards). So, I guess a two-part question is what is Slayton giving you? How far has he come? Especially, that doesn't include his knack for drawing pass interference penalties, which have given you some chunk plays. How much has Slayton come along? And how much do you need somebody else to step up so there isn't that huge gap between Saquon and everybody else?
A: I've been part of teams where it's been balanced. I've been part of teams where it's high on one end (or) high on the other. I think everybody needs to continue to improve on their craft. As far as Darius goes, I've said this before – a few weeks ago – it started off with (the) Green Bay (Packers), he's worked hard. He's kept his head down. He's been a good teammate. You're starting to see some of the results. He's earned the playing time he's gotten here these last few weeks. And we'll continue to need him to keep improving and make those plays for us.
Q: You've said you've been part of teams like this. I don't know if any come to mind, but I don't mean to oversimplify it. But I would think you're going to see a lot of what if looked like you saw yesterday where teams basically say, 'Okay, we're going to divert nine, eight, nine, 10 guys to Saquon. And they can beat us any other way.' Are you expecting to see a lot of that? And is the bye week to come up with an answer for that?
A: We have seen a lot of that from the start of the season. That's really nothing new than what we've been seeing. Obviously, everyone knows we put the ball into Saquon's hands, and we'll continue to do that. You're always trying to evolve and get better in other areas of your game. Like I said yesterday, give (the) Seattle (Seahawks) credit. They did a heck of a job. They did a heck of a job all the way through-and-through, whether it was the pass game, the run game. They did a better job than we did.
Q: One procedural thing – the players are gone today, right, after their meetings today?
A: After today, yep.
Q: And what about you and the coaches?
A: We'll stay. We'll stay today. We'll work through part of the week, and then give those guys off a few days here to recuperate and get back ready to go.
Q: A long weekend or just a weekend?
A: A long weekend.
Q: You've been part of the NFL a long time, where the byes come. How do you feel – this is your first time as a head coach – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually going into this long stretch? Do you feel different than when you were a position coach?
A: No. At this point in time during the season, I think everyone's tired, coaching-wise. Everybody's sore, playing-wise. It's just the nature of this league, and you just keep on pushing through. I think you need to try to take advantage of a little bit of downtime to recuperate, to get some rest and to come back fresh and ready to go for us this last half of the season where we have our bye.
Q: You said you're going to self-scout everything in this little period that you have here. What about yourself? I'm sure you do that pretty much every week, but do you especially want to kind of maybe delve into how you've done and maybe say, 'This was good. This was good. This, I need to do more. This I need to do less,' that kind of thing?
A: Yeah. I'd say what we do is we do do that every week. That's why, this time right there, you kind of look everything holistically. But each week, you're doing that. And that's what Mondays are for and part of Tuesdays. I do that every week, whether it's decisions throughout the game, revisit the game, go onto the next week, look at a ton of different stuff. I think you need to stay on top of that, it's kind of like a game. You can't wait 'til halftime to make some adjustments. You've got to keep on doing that throughout the game, and we've done a lot of that. I've done a lot of that since I started.
Q: Coming out of the bye, do you expect to have any of the guys that have been missing some time back for you? (Wide receiver) Kenny Golladay specifically. I don't know how close he is or if there is a chance to play out of the bye.
A: I think we'll see. It's probably too early right now to give you an answer on that. (I'm) hopeful, but too early.
Q: Over the next few hours, 12 hour or so, what is your involvement going to be with the NFL trade deadline and as a first-year head coach, what has dealing with this been like? Is this something where (general manager) Joe (Schoen) brings you potential options? Is this something where you and Joe are in constant contact, or are you only really privy to it in terms of the specifics of it when there is a potential deal on the line? What has the process been like for you as a first-time coach?
A: I'd say like I've said throughout relative to a variety of things here, Joe and I are in constant communication. Lock-step on a lot of things. We talk about pretty much everything there is to talk about in an organization. That's just how we approach it. That's really no different to game management or free agency or draft. There's always communication.
Q: What about (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) gets players to relate to him and play for him in your opinion? How has that helped you as a first-time head coach?
A: Wink's been a great teammate, whether it's as a coach or I'd say, for a player. He's authentic. He has experience. He's done a really good job for us.
Q: I wanted to ask about (inside linebacker) Micah (McFadden). He got a lot more defensive snaps yesterday than he has since Week 5. What have you seen from him to warrant that?
A: Continual improvement. He's done the right thing, on and off the field. We use a lot of packages on defense and shuffle a lot of guys in and out, and that was something that we were going to do this week and give him some chances. He made the most of them.
Q: Do you expect here, as the season moves along, to maybe use some of, I shouldn't say use young in general because I know you're playing a lot of young guys but, some of the rookies that maybe haven't played that you're able to get them in more as you move forward here?
A: I think we'll play the guys that we think earned it and then for that particular week gives us a chance that we think is best for our team. That's what we've always done, and that's what we'll always do.
Q: How active do you expect to be in the next 24-27 hours? Do you guys expect to be active at all in regards to the trade deadline?
A: I'm pretty tired right now, so I'm not going to be too active. I'm not going to be running or jogging or anything like that. You said for the trade deadline?
Q: Yeah. I wasn't asking about your workout routine.
A: Oh, I thought you said active. Long flight. I don't know, we'll see. We'll see. Those are conversations that I'll have with Joe and take each of them as they come.
Q: Do you feel like this team needs – you've had a lot of injuries at certain positions, you've been left shorthanded – do you feel that in order to keep this up or take it to the next level you need to add reinforcements?
A: I think what I always say, we'll try to do whatever we think is best for the team. Each circumstance that comes up – whether it comes up, whether it doesn't – we'll just take it head on.
Q: When you look at the first eight games, do you sit there and say, 'If you had told me going into the season we'd be 6-2 at the break, I would have jumped and said great?' Or how do you react to where you are?
A: I just take it day by day. Those are in the past; put money in the bank, so to speak. We're sitting at 6-2. We have nine games left that are on the schedule, and we got to take them one week at a time. Get a little bit of rest right now. We've got a long stretch here. Come back rejuvenated, ready to go and get ready to play Houston. Just take it one week at a time.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: Is it, I don't want to say it's good to lose but, is it a good reminder yesterday losing that you guys have to be at your best to win every week or to win as much as possible?
A: I don't think it was an issue of us being overconfident or ever overlooking any opponent. We're not the type of team to do that, we don't have those kinds of guys. There are a lot of things that went on in the game, I don't really think that was one of them. I think we understand, and we have understood before Sunday that we need to continue to improve, and we need to play our best football every time we go out there. I think the game yesterday showed us some things, but we've got a humble group that wants to work hard and wants to improve every week.
Q: This is kind of a first for you, going into a bye with such a good record with so much to play for as far as standings and playoff berths. I know you're not looking ahead to that but first of all, what are you going to do during this break? Are you going to get out of here and are you going to try to put it away for a few days?
A: I'm going to try to reset a little bit. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do, probably hang around here for a little bit. Maybe try to go home. I think look back at this first half, review that and see what I could have done better, what we could have done better, and things we can learn and take from to best attack this second half of the season. I think it's a balance between that, between studying and reviewing, understanding how best to go forward and there's also a time to reset and recharge a little bit.
Q: How much, I don't know if fun is the word but, how encouraging is it for you that you're going into the second half of the season in such good shape in the standings? I know you're not focusing 100 percent on that, but you know the deal. How excited are you about the possibility of what can come here?
A: I think we're all excited. It's been fun to win, it's been fun to play well, and pull out some of these games down the stretch. We appreciate the position we're in, we're enjoying that but there's a lot of work to do. I don't think anyone is satisfied with where we are. I think we understand, like I said earlier, we understand there's a lot still out there for us, there's a lot we still need to do if we want to be the team that we think we're capable of being.
Q: I want to touch on (wide receiver) Darius (Slayton) for a second. Yards from scrimmage for the Giants is (running back) Saquon (Barkley) one, then you, then Darius who didn't have any in the first four games of the season. What kind of lift has he given you guys basically coming back from no-man land to becoming when they take away you and Saquon that seems to be where you go with the ball.
A: He's stepped up, he's played really big for us these last few games for sure. I've always said, I got a lot of trust and confidence in him to make those plays and he's done that, he's stepped up and been that guy for us. We'll continue to look for him and I'm confident he'll continue to step up and make those plays for us.
Q: How big of an advantage is that? This isn't a criticism of any first-year receiver but how big is it when you have a guy you've been with for three-four years? How big is that in terms of just muscle memory?
A: I think it's important. I think that trust level and having played there a lot, understanding each other and where he's going to be, how he's going to read certain looks and I think there is a big piece of that. I've certainly got confidence in all our guys, and we'll continue to work on that and build that chemistry through this second half of the season.
Q: I know you've always had confidence in every one of your teammates but what kind of difference is (tackle) Andrew Thomas making? I can't look at stats, I can't look at yards or touchdowns, but it feels like the job he's doing on your blind side has been an immeasurable difference for this team. What kind of level is he playing at? What kind of difference has he made?
A: He's playing at an unbelievable level. I think when you compare him to guys across the league, I think he's the best. If not, he's certainly in that top two or there. He's playing at an unbelievable level and that's huge for us on offense. It's huge for me as a quarterback and being able to count on him playing at that level down after down, game after game. He's been huge for us. He deserves a lot of credit, certainly. It's no surprise to us, he comes to work every day. I think even last year he was playing at a really high level. He had some injury stuff; he was going in and out a little bit and that made it tough on him. He's a heck of a player for sure.
Q: Yesterday was the first time in a while you didn't get a first down running. What did Seattle do to limit your effectiveness with your legs?
A: They did a good job keeping the contain with their rush, with their pass rush, and then having eyes on me in zone coverage – probably being ready for that. I think there was some opportunity still, I could have found lanes and made plays with my feet. I'll look to do that when I can and continue to study chances, I may have to do that in the future. Credit to Seattle, they're a good defense, fast defense and they played well.
Q: Were they a little faster in person or did they look fast on film? Were they even faster in person?
A: Yeah, they got good players across the board. I think their linebackers run well and play well in space. I think their defensive line retraced and ran to the ball well and the secondary coming up and making plays to stop the run also.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: How cool was it to see (Center) Nick Gates get out there and contribute on Sunday?
A: That was a great moment I think for us, and definitely for him. Seeing him in practice was a great feeling for us earlier the past few weeks but seeing him on gameday getting a chance to get out there and be on the field again is a great thing.
Q: This is the first time you're going into a Bye Week with a winning record and a very impressive record, is there any different feeling this year heading into a bye?
A: Yeah, it's a great feeling going into the Bye Week 6-2 but that's just the first half of the season. We've just got to continue to get better each week. Clean up a lot of things and hopefully win the stretch later in the year.
Q: What would it mean for you to be selected to a Pro Bowl, to be selected All-Pro, a lot of people have you as one of the best if not the best offensive tackle in the league right now. What would that mean to you?
A: I would say honestly the biggest thing for me is winning. As long as the team is winning, I'm feeling good – especially if I'm doing a good job contributing. I think all of the individual accolades come if you're winning, you're playing well. So, I just try to focus on getting better each day and I think those things come later on.
Q: How much do you think you're contributing to the winning? I can't look at your yards or your catches or your touchdowns even though you had some last year. How much do you think you're responsible for where the Giants are right now?
A: That's the thing about the offensive line, we do a lot of the dirty work. It's not just me it's all of the guys up front, the tight ends, receivers, quarterback, everybody buys into the process. We're working hard just to be physical in the run game, try to protect, try to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball.
Q: Where do you think you personally have made the biggest leap from last year?
A: Honestly, I would just say consistency. There were some plays last year I would say I had lapses in technique. I think I'm doing a better job this year of just focusing on my technique each and every play regardless of the situation and I think that's helping my game.
Q: Does this break come at a good time for you? You've had to monitor your ankle and things like that. Are you looking forward to staying off it for a week now?
A: That's a great thing to have some time to recover, get your body back. The ankle is something that I work with every day, I manage, so I'm not too worried about that. It's a great time for us to relax a little bit, take a step away from football and then hit it full throttle when we get back.
Q: The Bye Week is about a week, maybe less than a week. Does it do a lot that you noticed last year and this year? Would you feel better next Monday when you come back to work?
A: Yeah, this schedule's a little different than what I'm used to, so this will be my first time having this much time away. Just trying to do a good job of getting some lifts in, making sure I'm getting good sleep, and trying to eat as good as possible. You know you've got to get a little bit of good food. I'm going back home so just trying to do a good job of staying locked in, so I feel good when I come back.
Q: What are the one or two go to things you must have when you're home and who's going to make it for you?
A: Go to is American Deli. It's a wing spot in Atlanta. Got to have it.
Q: What was the general message from (Head Coach Brian) Daboll heading into the Bye Week?
A: The first thing was just focusing on managing your time right, taking care of your body. The other part was the first half of the season is over with, we did a good job putting ourselves in a good position, but that part of the season is over and it's about what we do next. So, just doing our best to go 1-0 each week and staying focused on that.
Q: In terms of the crowd noise in the building yesterday, as a collective unit for you guys, I know you've played in some tough spots early on this year. How much can this group grow from that experience yesterday in terms of what you had to deal with? Can that help you going down the road in the second half of the season?
A: That was a great atmosphere that we played in, definitely challenging being able to communicate. We just watched the film, there are a lot of things that we can clean up. Which in a game like that, that's what you want to see. It's like, 'Okay, we didn't just get fully dominated. There are some things that we can do better as players, as coaches.' Give credit to Seattle they did a good job but there are some things that we can definitely improve on and get better at going into the next few weeks.
Safety Julian Love
Q: You were in (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton's draft class, right?
A: Yeah, 2019.
Q: That's what I thought. So, you've been through kind of what he went through earlier this year. There was a time where you were kind of not playing very much and had to fight your way back. I'm wondering how much respect this team has for Darius going from an inactive healthy scratch in Week 1 to not getting a single target Weeks 2 and 3, and now he's third on your team in yards for scrimmage behind (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) and (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones),.
A: In the locker room, everyone is a fan of Slay, he's a well composed guy; he doesn't speak too much at times, but he's definitely a team favorite in the locker room. Yeah, it's tough to get from that place to where he is now. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of inner motivation to get to where he's gotten. It's tough but he's fought through, and he's made some big plays for us.
Q: The last couple of years the record was 2-6, 1-7, 2-6, 1-7, and now it's 6-2. Is there any way to put in perspective how big of a turnaround that is?
A: It definitely can't be overstated. That is credit to how we go about each week. Whether we win or lose, the mission and kind of the focus stays the same the Monday after we come in the following week. That's top down. That starts with (General Manager Joe) Schoen and Coach Dabs (Head Coach Brian Daboll). They've done a great job of keeping it in perspective week to week.
Q: You're 6-2 now. Do you let yourself think that if we win three, four, five more games, we're back in the playoffs?
A: I think for me, I know Coach Dabs does this as well, you put the season into quarters. The first quarter we were 3-1. The second quarter we were 3-1. Really, if you keep on that path, things look good for you. But you've got to keep it segmented. You can't think about the whole picture, this whole second half. We just know that we have a bye week. Obviously, we need to rest. We need to take it seriously this bye week because our bodies need to recover. It's been a grueling past two months. When we come back, we'll play the Texans, and it starts then with them. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves because we haven't to this point, so we want to stay on that path.
Q: Is yesterday kind of a reminder that you guys are a good team, but when you have those little breakdowns, it can fall apart?
A: I mean, yeah. You just described what football is in the NFL. You might be a good team, but if you have breakdowns, then you lose games. That's what it was for us yesterday – turnovers, penalties. That's the story of the game in the league and we've done a great job up to this point of keeping that in check, so we're going to clear that stuff out of the way and handle that. Moving forward, we've got to continue to be on the right path that we've been on.
Q: What impressed you most about the defense in the first eight games, and what do you think needs to be worked on when you guys get back to go to another level?
A: I think the most pressing thing that stood out to me was our situational football. We've done such a good job on third down and in the red zone, two-minute drills. That's something that is talked about a lot. It's a common thing that coaches say, but it's not just coach talk for us. It's something that we've strived to be good at, and we've done a great job of it so far. I think we've done a great job of limiting points as well. Teams might have yards, but we've been holding them. And there is that (inaudible). That's something we definitely have excitement for and something we have to continue and something to improve on. I think it's just general fundamental football. I think we want to start games fast; we want to create more turnovers. It's all things that are attainable. With that, it's really just communication and playing more in sync. Guys continue to be selfless each day, and that will get us to where we want to go.
Q: Have you ever been part of a defense – it seems like (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) is able to get guys, and even if it's for four or five plays – that uses so many guys every game?
A: I don't know if I've been a part of a defense like that. But in the successful defenses that I've been a part of my whole life, even dating back to college and all that stuff, it has taken not only the 'stars' of the team to be making plays, but it takes guys to step up in the crucial situations. And that's what it has been for us. You see guys, off the top of my head, like yesterday (Outside Linebacker) Tomon Fox had a really good game. That's a rookie – a guy who's really come along and earned his way and stuff like that. Guys keep flashing all over the place. Guys need to continue to flash and be staples on this defense, on this team, for us to be successful.
Q: You're 6-2. I think your team has outscored the opponents by six points. Before this past week, you're the only team in the league where every game was decided by one score. Can a team continue along that path, can you guys continue to win that way, or at some point, do you think that you're going to have to get better at some things on either side of the ball where you can have a little margin?
A: Yeah, I think it could be like that for sure. As long as we just continue to do the important things, which is take care of the football, take the football away, stop the run, get our running offense going, play complementary football. If we do all that – regardless of the score – we're going to win games. That's what it's kind of been for us. Yeah, we want to be winning by more and all that stuff, but at the end of the day, if we win by one or we win by 30, a 'W' is a 'W.' That's kind of been our mindset. Is it sustainable? Yeah, because it's really based off of all the fundamentals of being successful at football. That's kind of what Dabs harps on each day.
Q: It does put a big stress on everybody, right? In the fourth quarter when the ball bounces this way or that way, there's really very little margin for error with this group.
A: Yeah, the margin for error is tight, for sure. But I always go back to what Wink told us right before the season started – in moments, like sudden change moments (where) a turnover happens or something like that, and normally guys are like, 'Oh, man. We've got to go back on the field.' He said something and he was like, 'You should be excited to go back on the field to showcase who you are. I want you to be excited to run back on the field no matter the circumstances.' So, that's what I've taken into account and has been my mindset each time we go out there, especially in those pressure situations. I'm like, 'Alright. Now it's time to let my personality show through my play.' I think this team has owned that, too, so that's why you see us making these big plays in key situations.
Q: I think traditionally people in this league talk about attacking the opponent, studying the tendencies of the opponent. It strikes me what makes this defense a little different and how Wink approaches things is that you guys not only look at their tendencies but your own tendencies. Week to week, you try to change your tendencies so that if they hit you with a punch, you know you can counter with something that maybe they haven't seen before. How much of a challenge has that been in the first half of the season? Do you almost see this defense getting better in the second half because everyone is more focused on that idea that, 'This is how we can grow as a defense by focusing on ourselves, not necessarily how we're going to attack the other team'?
A: I think better now than ever is a time to evaluate yourself and evaluate what you've done up to this point. Obviously, you want to study opponents, and we're going to continue to do that. That's a part of the game. But Wink has done a great job – not just Wink, but the entire staff. (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome Henderson has done a great job. (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew Wilkins has been huge for us in our game tape. (Defensive Assistant) Kevin Wilkins, everybody top down on the defensive side of the ball. Being really intentional about how we want to go about things and why we want to go about things. If you do – I'm sure some of you will do a tape study of the past eight games or whatever – if you look at our looks from each game to each game, it's really different. What we were doing Week 1 to this past game, it's always changing. That's part of the method to the madness. I know people think Wink just sends people on blitzes, but there's a method to it. That's something that's made us successful on defense. You'll continue to see that. We want to evolve as a team. We're not going to be stagnant and let people scheme us up. We want to continue to scheme opponents and switch up how we do things.