INDIANAPOLIS – Brian Daboll said he starts each day by writing 10 to 15 things on the white board that he feels need to be accomplished before he and his coaching staff shut off the lights and leave.
"And at the end of the day there’s 30 more things that you’ve got to get done," he said.
Welcome to the process of starting over from scratch, assembling a coaching staff that has never worked together and trying to do so in a compressed NFL calendar that keeps throwing deadlines such as this week’s Combine, the looming start of the league year, free agency and the draft at you. It’s only about five and a half more weeks until the players start reporting for the offseason training program and about two months before the first of two veteran minicamps, and so far the Giants have been at it for about six days.
It was only last week that they had their first full staff meeting with the coaches.
"We’re a new staff," Daboll said. "We’ve got to get to know one another. We’ve got to build relationships because there will be tough times and we’ve got to be able to lean on each other when times are tough. It’s not just Xs and Os. There’s a lot of things that go into it in terms of chemistry and team-building, not just with the players but I’d also say with the staff. We’re spending a lot of time together and we’re grinding away."
Daboll has never before worked with new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka or new defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale.
"I think the most important thing when you’re trying to put together a staff is take your time, really ask a lot of questions," Daboll said. "It took a while. It basically took the whole first month to try to do it the way we wanted to do it. We had our first staff meeting about a week ago so we're behind on a lot of things, but very encouraged with the people that we hired."
Being behind does not suit Daboll. At a recent meeting with the offensive staff he asked quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson, both of whom came to the Giants from Buffalo along with him, to keep him accountable.
"We’re not in year five now," he said. "Even though we were together for four years, this isn’t our fifth year. We’re not with Josh [Allen] and we’re not with the same coaches. There are things we can draw from but I get impatient at times and want to push the envelope. ‘Let’s make sure we have this motion and this and do that…’ But we have to crawl before you can walk. And it’s the same thing for Kafka. He was with Patrick [Mahomes] for so long and Andy [Reid] but this is our first year. We’re on about day six of actually going through stuff in the playbook."
Eventually they’ll catch up. Probably.
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done," Daboll said. "When you are in year one of a program there are a lot of things that need to be done. It’s much different. That’s what I’m learning."
That and the key to checking things off that ever-growing daily list.
"No sleep," he said.