When the New York Giants preseason schedule showed the New England Patriots as being up first on the docket, some thought perhaps the game, while not counting for anything standings-wise, would have a little more meaning to the players and head coach Brian Daboll than usual.
That's because Daboll is a former assistant on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's staff, and many of his players, who were with the Giants when Judge served as the head coach the last two years, is back with the Patriots.
But don't look for the Giants head coach or his players to plan any sentimental trips down memory lane when they set foot in Gillette Stadium.
Daboll, who was a Patriots defensive assistant from 2000-2001 before switching to receivers from 2002-2006 and then having a second tour of duty as the tight ends coach from 2013 to 2016, said he is focused on the present.
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“I’m so focused on trying to get things right every day," Daboll said. "Obviously, he’s [Belichick is] a mentor of mine, but I haven’t sat there and been like, 'Oh, this is the first game.' I know my wife and kids are gonna try to get out to it. But he’s coached what, 750 games? This is the first preseason game for me. I’m just trying to do right by my team--not really worrying about me.”
As for the players, Daboll said he hasn't brought up the topic in his meetings with the team.
"You’ve been in this league long enough where I’ve coached against friends, players, trainers. It’s kind of like you get used to it, you know?" he said.
"For being as long in the league as I've been, like, I know ten other guys on this staff, I've worked with four of them, or I was at this place last year, and I go to this place. It’s just kind of the nature of the NFL."
The Giants face the Patriots in Foxborough Thursday, August 11. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM ET.
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