Daniel Jones of the Giants celebrates his third-quarter touchdown against the...

Daniel Jones of the Giants celebrates his third-quarter touchdown against the Colts with head coach Brian Daboll at MetLife Stadium on Jan. 1. Credit: Jim McIsaac

By Friday afternoon, Giants players had finished for the day. Many left the building to go their separate ways, some to massages or to rest, some to family responsibilities or to watch film.

Their work week had ended. Make that: Their playoff work week had ended.

The Giants have 17 players with playoff experience. The rest will either use their imagination or wait until kickoff on Sunday afternoon at Minnesota.

“Each week throughout the season, you learn from your experiences, good or bad,” coach Brian Daboll said. “We try to compete for 60 minutes. When you’re playing in the playoffs, you’re playing a really good football team, so everybody’s going to be at their best.”

And yes, the Giants cranked up the Skol chant during practices.

The noise in U.S. Bank Stadium, a dome, can be deafening. It seems likely to expect the fans to be even louder than they were three weeks ago when the Giants visited. This is, after all, the postseason.

“Yeah,” Daboll said, “we try to blare it up as loud as we can, all the music that we got. Anticipating a pretty hostile crowd.”

The Giants on Wednesday practiced in advance of their wild-card playoff game against the Vikings this weekend in Minnesota. NewsdayTV's Kim Jones reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp; Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac; AP/Abbie Parr

The Giants have a routine for road games.

“We do a lot of situational stuff [on Friday],” Daboll said. “We’ll have our meetings [Saturday morning at the facility] and we’ll get on an airplane.”

After landing in Minneapolis ahead of Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Vikings, the Giants will bus to their hotel.

It seems likely the anticipation of Sunday’s kickoff will start to build.

On Saturday evening, they will have a team meeting.

Daboll will speak, but not for long. That is not his way. One player in the locker room Friday said some of Daboll’s Saturday night speeches last just two minutes.

Two minutes.

“I don’t really say a lot the night before games,” Daboll said. “It’s a players’ game. I say a lot during the week getting them ready, but the night before the game, to me, that’s players’ time. Same right before the game, that’s players’ time. It’s a players’ game and we’ve got good leaders in our room and we’re just going to go out and play.”

On game days, either safety Xavier McKinney or nose tackle Dexter Lawrence, two of the Giants’ 10 captains, addresses the team in the moments before they take the field.

Daboll and his staff had an early goal of getting to know the players and cultivating relationships with them. That has resulted in a locker room that is as harmonious as — or more so than — any Giants locker room in recent memory.

With much, much, quicker messages delivered the night before the game.

“If you need someone else to fire you up, that’s a problem,” Giants receiver Sterling Shepard said.

Shepard indicated that team meetings on the night before games have changed dramatically under Daboll.

“Team meetings in the past have been hours,” he said.


“Not under this coaching staff.”

“How long were team meetings in the past?’’ Shepard asked a teammate.

The reply: “Long.”

Daboll seems to understand the importance of a short message that will resonate rather than a rambling message that might not.

Walk-throughs at the hotel before the team meeting might have gone 30 to 45 minutes.


“We get a quick message from Dabs, watch a video and we’re gone,” Shepard said. “If we won the previous week, we’ll watch a hype video. Sleep is more important than anything at that point.”

McKinney said he appreciates Daboll’s brevity.

“I think that’s good,” he said. “Me personally, [I’ve always believed] coaches can’t ever go out there and play for you. They can’t give you that mentality to go out there and push you. The only things they can do is coach. We got to take care of the rest on the field.

“I like it. He always preaches to us that it’s our team. We got to do what we got to do to make sure our team’s good.”

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