Daboll matches wits with Sirianni as Giants host Eagles
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There’s a new twist to the New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles rivalry that dates to 1933.
This year’s version pits Brian Daboll of the Giants (7-4-1) against Nick Sirianni of the NFL-leading Eagles (11-1). It’s their first meeting as head coaches, but they go back a decade.
Daboll was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 under Romeo Crennel when they decided to gave Sirianni his first job as a position coach, putting him in charge of the wide receivers.
“We didn’t have a great year,” said Sirianni, who like Daboll grew up in western New York. “We were 2-14, probably one of the hardest years professionally that I’ve had. But it was one of the years I grew the most as a coach because of Brian Daboll, the things he taught me about, about the game of football, things I use to this day.”
The pair sound similar talking about football, focused on one game at a time and improving every day in practice. Little mention of big-picture or down-the-road scenarios.
They sidestep discussing playoff implications, even though the Eagles can clinch a spot this week with either a win or a tie. Philadelphia comes into the game with the NFL’s best record, the third-ranked offense and the No. 2 defense.
“I think Nick’s a fantastic coach, known him for a while,” Daboll said. “He gets the most out of his guys, and they’re playing at a really high level. That’s why they’re the best team in the league.”
After a 6-1 start in Daboll’s rookie season as a head coach, the Giants have slipped in recent weeks. They are 1-3-1 and are coming off a 20-all tie with Washington in a game they squandered a late seven-point lead.
While the Giants need the win a lot more than the Eagles, Daboll is not changing his approach this week. He is looking at what he can do to help his own team and then focusing on the oppenent’s tendencies, their key players and what might be exploited.
Bottom line: it’s just another game for Daboll and Sirianni, who has led his team to an 18-4 record since starting his first season at 2-5.
THE LAST TIME
Jalen Hurts’ last visit to MetLife Stadium on Nov. 28, 2021 was not very memorable. He was 14 of 31 for 129 yards, threw three interceptions and was sacked once in a 13-7 loss.
Since then, the only games Philadelphia has lost were the 2021 regular-season finale to Dallas, the wild-card playoff game to the Bucs and to Washington on Nov. 14.
Daboll was Alabama’s offensive coordinator for a year when Hurts was there.
“He’s as competitive and mentally tough as I’ve ever been around,” Daboll said. “He’s a great teammate. Unfortunately, we have to play them twice a year. Very happy for the success that he’s had. Again, he’s a special young man to me, and he’s just a mentally tough guy. Nothing rattles him.”
GIANTS SECONDARY WOES
The Giants have been playing without top cornerback Adoree Jackson for two games because of a knee injury.
Dallas and Washington took advantage of his absense. CeeDee Lamb of of the Cowboys had six catches for 106 yards on Thanksgiving. Terry McLaurin of the Commanders had eight catches 105 yards and a TD on Sunday.
Two Eagles receivers had 100-yard games against Tennessee last week. A.J. Brown had eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and DeVonta Smith had five catches for 102 yards and a TD.
In losses to Detroit and Dallas, the Giants were held under 100 yards rushing. They gained 134 yards on 30 carries in the tie with Washington last weekend.
The difference might have been the return of right tackle Evan Neal (knee) and rookie tight Daniel Bellinger (eye), who were both hurt against Jacksonville on Oct. 23.
Saquon Barkley scored on a 13-yard run against the Commanders on a play Neal, right guard Mark Glowinski, center Jon Feliciano and left guard Nick Gates created a massive hole.
This will be Eagles cornerback James Bradberry’s first game back at MetLife Stadium since the Giants released him in a salary cap move this spring, saving the team $10 million.
The even-keeled Bradberry has 14 passes defensed along with three interceptions this season.
The Giants had hoped that second-year pro Azeez Ojulari and rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux would give them dynamic edge rushers.
The linebackers missed the first two games of the seasonwith injuries. They started next two and then Ojulari missed the next seven with a calf injury. He returned as a backup last week, and the Giants had five sacks. Thibodeaux and Ojulari each had one. Ojulari added a forced fumble and recovery on his sack.
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