EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Brian Daboll didn’t shed light on whether the New York Giants will rest any starters Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles to stay healthy for the playoffs the following week.
Instead, the rookie head coach said Friday that a decision probably will be finalized Saturday after he meets with general manager Joe Schoen to discuss the regular-season finale.
The Giants (9-6-1) are locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC and will play a wild-card game next weekend at either Minnesota or San Francisco. The Eagles (13-3) need to win or tie against New York to clinch the top seed in the conference and a first-round bye; they could also get the top seed if Dallas (12-4) loses at Washington (7-8-1).
The Giants were a surprise playoff team after having five straight losing seasons and failing to win more than six games in any of those seasons. Their roster didn’t have a lot of depth at the start of this season, and injuries have led to a revamped roster several times over. Any more injuries would severely hurt their chances in the postseason.
Two starters will not play Sunday because of injuries: defensive lineman Leonard Williams (neck) and outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (ankle). Center Jon Feliciano has been bothered by a back issue this week and is questionable. Top cornerback Adoree Jackson, who has been sidelined by a knee injury since Nov. 20, is doubtful.
It’s still not clear whether quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and safety and leading tackle Julian Love will get a break.
“We don’t talk a lot about injuries or who’s playing,” Daboll said before Friday’s practice. “We go through the week of practice. We do the same thing Week 1. We have our meeting after practice. Joe (Schoen) and I talk after practice, in the evening, Saturday. That’s when we make our decisions.”
Players also seemed clueless when asked if they were playing Sunday and how long. Practice squad quarterback Davis Webb laughed when asked if he volunteered to start.
“Yeah, but I do that every week,” he said after practice.
Most of the players said they are preparing to go full tilt. Nick Gates, who might move to center if Feliciano doesn’t play, said the game is not meaningless.
“We might be able to win 10 games in the football season, and that isn’t an easy thing to do, especially after the last four years,” he said. “To win double-digit games, it still means something. It’s still an NFL football game and that means something to me.”
One topic Daboll was willing to address was the news about Bills second-year safety Damar Hamlin, whose heart stopped during Monday night’s game in Cincinnati but talked to his teammates Friday on a virtual call after having a breathing tube removed.
“Awesome. It’s probably uplifting for the entire league, hearing what you just heard when I was coming out here,” said Daboll, who was the Bills offensive coordinator for four years before taking the Giants job.
“Just so thankful that he’s trending in the right direction,” Daboll added. “But it gives you a boost because you’re praying so hard for the young man. To see him improve, or to hear about him improving the way he’s improving, it’s an awesome thing.”