Oct 032023
Brian Daboll, New York Giants (October 2, 2023)

Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have signed offensive lineman Justin Pugh to the Practice Squad. The 33-year old, 6’5”, 311-pound Pugh was originally drafted by the Giants in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After five seasons in New York, Pugh signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, where he played five more seasons. Pugh tore the ACL in his right knee in October 2022 and missed the rest of the year. Pugh has played in 120 regular-season games with 119 starts. He has experience at playing both tackle and guard.

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday (VIDEO):

Q: We haven’t seen a lot of development from the offensive line, specifically the guys you drafted last year. On the outside, that obviously makes people question the coaching. What do you say to that? Why have those players not developed?

A: I’d say that there’s some things that we’ve improved on and obviously some things that we need to work on. Again, some of these games have led to some passing situations late in the game where they’re teeing off and that’s a collective thing, starting with us and down to the execution of the play. But certainly, we have to do a better job all the way around.

Q: Are you satisfied with the job that (Offensive Line Coach) Bobby (Johnson) has done with that group?

A: Well, I’m not satisfied with anything right now so that’s collectively as a team.

Q: How can a quarterback manage better when you know there’s going to be pressure in any offense but obviously there’s been a lot this year but what can (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) do better when that is the case?

A: I think that’s just team offensive football. There’s going to be pressure, I’d say, on a considerable amount of plays in the National Football League. Whether it’s free runners, just congestion versus jail break and there’s times where it’s just jail break and he’s got to do a good job of saving the play. Congestion, moving in the pocket, keeping our eyes downfield but again, that’s a team thing, too. Receivers being where they’re supposed to be, line working together, quarterback throwing on time, and we haven’t done a good enough job of that.

Q: Did you get any sleep last night?

A: No, not much but that’s the way it goes on night games.

Q: Have you maintained the same confidence in your team? Has the confidence in your team wavered in any way?

A: I think – look, when you’re in this position you tell them what we’re not doing right, you own it, you own it as a leader, and you come back ready to go. Again, not the start that we had hoped for, we had worked for, but a long road ahead and a lot of improvement to be done.

Q: I just wanted to ask a question about last night that drew interest it seems from the fan base. Was that tablet thrown at Daniel or was it just in his direction? There’s just been a lot of response about that.

A: No, I wouldn’t throw a tablet there. I just tossed it to the side because obviously it was a little bit of frustration but no, I wouldn’t throw a tablet at him.

Q: Speaking of frustration, (tight end Darren) Waller was not happy after the game. I think he had one target in the first half. How do you get your key playmakers involved even in a game that might be going south but I’d think you’d still want Waller to be a part of whatever this is.

A: I’d say that there were play calls for Darren but certainly can do a better job of that. I’d say there was a number of them that we just couldn’t get to. Whether it was the progression, whether it was the pressure, whether it was the read, but we have to do a better job of that as a coaching staff.

Q: You said, ‘We call things, we just can’t get to them.’ Obviously, with all these sacks and pressures, you’re not going to get to some of these things. You don’t just grade that, obviously, you’re grading each route that these guys are running. What are you seeing from them even if the ball doesn’t get out of the pocket. What are you seeing from Darren and (wide receiver) Parris (Campbell) and some of these guys and are they winning their routes? Are they at least presenting enough open space for Daniel if he can get the ball out?

A: I’d say they’re doing a good job of being where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there. Is it perfect? No. There’re certainly things we can work on there as well, but there’s not a lot of mental errors or things like that in terms of where they’re supposed to be or when they’re supposed to be there. But again, the passing game as you know is a collection of everybody doing their job and that’s what we need to do better.

Q: After the game, some of the guys were mentioning it, (safety) Xavier McKinney said something about, ‘We definitely can go sideways,’ and, ‘I know in this league, if you don’t correct things quickly, they can go south.’ Is that something you don’t want them thinking? Or is that just reality?

A: I mean, my thinking is come back ready to work tomorrow and talk about the things we need to improve and go out there and improve and ultimately play better on Sunday.

Q: I think the big picture question on all the fans’ minds is how does a team that looked so impressive last year get off to this kind of start when you guys upgraded the talent, it’s the second season in the same offensive schemes, and you kept the coordinators? Is it a chemistry thing? Is it the opposition has been so good? How do you explain this seemingly step back from last year when the core is the same and the coaches are the same?

A: Yeah, I would say every year is a new year. I’ve said that since the start of OTAs. And it is. There’s a lot of things that have to go right each game to be successful and right now we’re not there yet. We’re certainly working to be there, but we’re not there yet. And that’s what we’ll try to do this week.

Q: Is there any credence to the idea that maybe you guys are a victim of last year’s success? Like, were you guys ahead of schedule last year?

A: I don’t go back in terms of that. I just try to focus on the here and now, which is we’ve got a lot of improving to do, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.

Q: Darren Waller mentioned something about that he had to chip a lot and stay in and that kind of limited his opportunities. I wanted to know what you thought of that and if you kind of agreed with that?

A: Certainly, we used some of that where we had to keep tight ends and backs in to try to help out protection at times. The longer-developing plays, you need a little bit more time. So, there’s certainly some protection things that you have to try to do to try to push the ball down the field. Then you have to take your calculated chances of when you want to do that, and how you want to do that when you don’t.

Q: Obviously, the interactions with Daniel are something that everybody breaks down and tries to infer what happened and what’s going on. Do you plan on talking with him? Do you regret having that happen on the sideline on the field? Not just you going to him on the sideline, but also him kind of walking past you.

A: Regret what? What instance are you talking about?

Q: Just getting animated in saying that stuff to Daniel and sort of tossing the tablet.

A: No, I’m just coaching. So, I’m coaching Daniel when he comes off the field. Again, the tablet thing, I’d have to go back and see it. But again, I remember exactly what it is. We were talking about a particular play, and I just tossed it off to the side.

Q: The flip side is people could be saying you’re kind of showing up your player by doing that so animatedly on the sidelines.

A: Yeah, I’m not doing that.

Q: Along those same lines, is it a concern to you that when Daniel comes off the field and you start saying something to him about the play, that he, at least what the camera showed, was that he walked right by you. Does that reflect a disconnect in your opinion?

A: No, Daniel is a coachable person. Again, things aren’t going great. Again, I’m not exactly sure what the cameras did or did not show, but Daniel is a coachable guy. I like working with Daniel and we’ve got some things we’ve got to do better.

Q: Are you and Daniel on the same page? Both ways. Does he understand fully what you expect of him, and do you need to either alter or reevaluate your approach in how you either handle him in those moments or what you are asking him to do?

A: Yeah, I’d say Daniel and I are in constant communication, so I think we have a good understanding of one another. Again, there are certain plays that happen in game where, again, I’m not going to coach everybody the same, but I have a great appreciation for Daniel and how he approaches things.

Q: (Defensive lineman) Dexter Lawrence II said last night that he feels like he might need to hurt some people’s feelings to help get this team turned around. Is that a player in your mind just trying to lead or when you hear stuff like that, do you begin to worry about players starting to turn on each other when you are playing this way?

A: No, I know the guys that we have on this team and the coaches, and look, we’ve got a lot of work to do, make no excuses. Not how we wanted to start, but again, like I said last night, I have confidence in the players, I have confidence in the coaches.

Q: When you talk about all the things that you need to improve on, now you go into a short week and obviously whatever feelings are going on, do you as a coaching staff have to zero in on certain things and say, okay, if we can get X, Y and Z tightened up this week, you know you are not going to fix everything in such a short time before the next time you get on the field, how do you approach that?

A: Each week you have keys of the teams you’re playing and certain things you need to improve on from the week before. You try to work on those during the week, you try to hit your keys for the game and that’s pretty much consistent each week and how we approach it.

Q: Do you have priorities off of last night that you look at and say we need to fix this tomorrow, this cannot continue?

A: Yeah, I mean obviously scoring points is a premium. We got down there in the red zone, had a chance to make it a really competitive game and that one play flipped the game pretty quick. Got to do a better job of finishing early drives. I think our third down defense improved. We played much better defensively; I saw some improvement defensively. Too many penalties on special teams, so those are some hot topics.

Q: Last night you were pretty banged up on the offensive line, you already had guys out coming into the night. Are you going to have make some moves here to be able to compete this week or do you think some of these guys will be back?

A: Yeah, still waiting on all these results from the trainers here.

Q: Was there any thought on the fourth and one, the first offensive series, hey look, we are struggling to get points in the first half, kick the field goal, or has it reached the point with almost every team when you are in that position at that spot of the field, you go for it?

A: I just felt that was the right thing to do. So, again, those are stuff that we talk about throughout the week, talked about it during the drive, right where we were at. Felt comfortable with the decision and felt comfortable with the play.

Q: Why didn’t the play work in your mind? It’s a play that’s obviously become popular in the NFL.

A: Yeah, we’ve been successful for it, they did a good job of stopping it. So, got some penetration, built a wall and ended up stopping the play.

Q: Are you able to practice that play?

A: You walk through it, it’s not a live rep of practice, but we’ve been successful at it, just weren’t on that one.

Q: Were both injuries to (tight end) Daniel (Bellinger) and (center) John Michael (Schmitz Jr.) both on that play?

A: Yeah, it was.

Q: It’s hard to believe, it’s kind of a flashback to the Dallas game, where you get two guys hurt on a play that just doesn’t work.

A: Yeah, both guys got hurt on that play.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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