Amid Odell Beckham Jr. Drama, Brian Daboll, New York Giants Focus On Washington

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll didn’t sound at all sure that his big-play receiver, Darius Slayton, would be available to play Sunday. He did not participate in Friday’s practice and he’s currently listed as questionable Sunday.

Did that change the amount of time he spent on preparing for the dinner the Giants had with Odell Beckham Jr. on Thursday night?

“All my time is on Washington,” Daboll told assembled media on Friday. “I just got a free meal.”

The emphasis is understandable, with Sunday’s game against the Washington Commanders representing a potential hinge point in the battle for the NFC playoffs, one in which all four NFC East teams hold a commanding position.

That can change quickly for New York, however, despite their 7-2 start. A loss would drop them to 7-5 — combined with a Seattle Seahawks win Sunday, and the Giants would be on the outside looking in with five games left in the season, including two left against 10-1 Philadelphia.

Even so, Daboll doesn’t try to hype his team up more come December, even though players have made it abundantly clear they have the playoffs in mind as a goal.

“You really can’t do that,” Daboll said. “You have to have giddy up every week in this league. It’s a humbling league. We’ve had some wins. We’ve had some losses. You got to try to be consistent in your approach when you go out there to practice, when you go into the meeting rooms. You need that every week. As a coach, you got to get the pulse of your team and see what they need to help them get to that point during the week. Our guys have worked hard. What wins in September also wins in December. You can’t forget that either.”

This December game gets even harder with an already compromised secondary, missing cornerback Adoree Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney now navigating nagging injuries to replacements like Darnay Holmes and Dane Belton, both of whom are questionable for Sunday.

It’s all enough to keep Daboll focused on the here-and-now, however talented his dining partner over what he described as “a good steak” might be.

“I try to take it day-by-day,” Daboll said. “That’s just the way I do it. I think there’s a lot of things that can change. I don’t think you can focus on the change that could happen three days from now, two weeks from now. That doesn’t really do you any good. It’s just ‘What can you do today to help your team be as good as you can be? How can you yourself be as good as you can be?’ That’s how I take it: one day at a time.”