New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll certainly understands the importance of Sunday night’s game against the Washington Commanders. He also absolutely knows where his 7-5-1 Giants stand in the NFL playoff race with four games to go.
Good luck, though, getting him to talk about it. Media members have tried, unsuccessfully, a number of times recently.
“You got to focus on what’s ahead of you, which is what the most important thing is – which is not easy to do for people that work; players, coaches, organizations,” Daboll said on Friday. “Does no good looking four weeks ahead, three weeks ahead. You got to focus on what’s the most important, that’s just what I believe in.”
We have talked a number of times about all of the “what ifs?” surrounding potential outcomes on Sunday. Daboll isn’t entertaining any of that.
“I just think it’s important to do the things you need to do to get ready to play the game,” Daboll said. “Again, I’ve been in a wide variety of situations as an assistant, as a coordinator and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, that’s just my philosophy. Let’s focus on what we can control and that’s the most important (thing). How we prepare, ultimately how we go out there and play and coach, that’s what really makes the difference. What if this happens? None of that really matters.”
Good team or bad, playoff race, meaningless game, playoff game, Super Bowl game, Daboll said Friday the job of a coach doesn’t really change.
“I’ve coached in all of them. I’ve coached when I was 2-14. I’ve coached in Super Bowls, not obviously as a head coach. A national championship. I’ve coached when we were not very good,” Daboll said. “Again, the hard part that goes back to your question is trying to keep the main thing the main thing. That’s what I try to do.
“I just think you’re always teaching. You’re teaching (during) adversity. You’re teaching when you do well to remain consistent and keep the main thing the main thing. I know it’s a boring answer, but it was kind of how I was raised in this business, it’s what I believe in, and I think it’s important.”
That consistency in approach helped the Giants get off to a 6-1 start. It has helped them not fall apart as injuries have mounted and they have faltered, going 1-4-1 over their last six games.
Here are some of the other takeaways from Daboll’s Friday media availability.
Haunted by Week 13 result
Daboll said he has re-watch the 20-20 tie vs. the Commanders more than 10 times.
“I couldn’t tell you a number,” he said.
There are several plays he knows could have swung the outcome of that game.
“There’s always a lot. A bunch of them. There’s usually, when you’re in close games like that, there’s four or five plays. You don’t know when they’re going to happen, it could have been in the fourth quarter, first quarter that if you make them, it gives your team a much better chance to win when those close games are 20-20, 17-14,” Daboll said. “There’s always one play here or there. You never know when it’s going to be. Usually about four, five, six of them. Learned that from coach (Marty) Schottenheimer.”
On playing Washington twice in three weeks
“You watch it [the tape] – I don’t know how many times you watch it over and over again. Was that the right decision? Were we doing the right stuff? How was the matchups? What do we need to change? What worked good? Can we disguise stuff to make it look the same?,” Daboll said. “There’s a whole, when you have one game - when you play a team twice, you spend a lot of time looking at that first tape. For us, we watched all these other games not too long ago. I’d say it’s a thorough evaluation of that tape.”
On doing better running the football
“You go through the week of practice, you put in plays that you think are going to work and then ultimately, you’ve got to go out there and execute them,” Daboll said. “You’ve got to block it well, you’ve got to run well, you’ve got to make the right checks, it’s really a team thing. All of us, coaches, players, everybody.”