Head Coach Ben McAdoo
July 27, 2017
A: Great to see all of you today. We just finished up with our first team meeting. We have a conditioning evaluation coming up; it will be great to see them out there moving around. We’ll have them moving around in position specific ways. We’ll take a look at them and see how they respond to the movement and how they really recover from the work load. That’s primary for us.
We have a couple guys who at this point are going to start on PUP: Shaun Draughn and Valentino Blake. It looks like they’ll start off on PUP for us; Shaun with an ankle, Blake with his back.
In our first team meeting we covered a variety of topics. First, I let them know how much I appreciated how they took care of their business in our ‘prepcation’. We had six weeks, and we don’t have to answer any questions about guys being on the ticker. We stayed off the ticker, we did a great job with that. It just shows that we have talented men of integrity in the program.
We talked about the journey ahead before we focus on one day at a time. So we took a big picture look at the calendar and the schedule. Really, it’s a schedule that we’ve all dreamed of; it’s a great opportunity for us. I think we have maybe five weeks that run like a normal week, so we’ll be all over the map. We have a lot of challenges and opportunities ahead and we’re excited for it. We took into consideration a lot of things when looking at the calendar year – the whole year. We put a plan together with a fine-tooth comb for these guys and it’s going to give us an advantage to play our best football and our best football is needed when the weather turns. We have more days off than we’ve had in the past, which is necessary. We have REM days, we have hydration and nutritional improvements, strength and conditioning, and practice loads. We’re all going to be looking at - mental conditioning will be a big part of it. We’re excited for the calendar year ahead.
Then, we talked about dialing it back down and just focusing and taking things day to day from that perspective there. We did review our goal, we talked about it. We talked about the calendar years may flip, some faces may change, but our goal doesn’t. Our goal stays the same and we like being that type of organization that chases our dreams that way. We talked about how we’re going to get there, and that’s really the big thing for us. Proving ourselves to ourselves, striking a balance between confidence and reality, and our youth and experience must gel – that’s going to be important for us.
And to hit home, we hit a poem “If” by Kipling, and Frasier the Lion was a story we told for our experienced players, our 26 year olds and above.
Before we open it up and I get to my normal guarded self, I just want to let you know I appreciate everything you do for us and for this league and covering this team, and I look forward to working with you this year.
Q: Did Owa report?
A: Owa reported, yes.
Q: Everybody reported, Ben?
A: Everyone reported, yes.
Q: Which Kipling poem?
Q: In terms of the schedule, who did you rely on or what kind of research did you do in terms of setting the itinerary and facing those long trips with the long season schedule?
A: (With our) in-season schedule, we have our typical schedule that we like to follow if everything is normal and you’re playing at home at one o’clock on every Sunday, and then you make adjustments there. Whether you’re playing on a short week, whether you’re playing on a long week. As you’re going through the season, when is it most crucial to get sleep and rest and more REMS on a Wednesday and on a Thursday – the two most critical days of the week in preparation – and rely a lot on our medical team and our strength and conditioning staff, and our experienced coaching staff and data.
Q: That’s an in-house medical team?
A: Yeah, a lot of times you talk about how you can reach outside of the building to find experts in certain fields, we do that. We do our research, reading, and sometimes you can just walk down the hall and you can find the best expert in the business.
Q: How do you view the roster for the season, and what do you think are the strengths of it?
A: The strength of the roster, it’s too early to tell. I think we’ll find out here; Saturday the 5th will be a big practice for us. We’ll have a chance to hit a lot of situational football with pads on. Get some one-on-ones and things like that in. I think we’ll start to really learn a lot about ourselves then.
Q: Some of the players before were talking about the importance of continuity in this lineup; how important do you think that is to the team’s success?
A: As far as the offensive line goes, I think it helps when you play with each other for an extended period of time. It’s usually a group that can finish each other’s sentences. They have to be able to feel each other and feel each other’s body language – that’s a big part of it. A lot of times they communicate telepathically up there, the guys that have played together a long time. I think that’s important that they can function as one.
Q: Would you agree that it’s a big vote of confidence that given the performance of that five-man unit, that same group is back in tact?
A: Yeah, we went out and did our homework on the draft class and the free agent class and we felt we can make the improvements we needed to make in-house. So we’re confident in those guys and trust that they’re going to do everything they need to do to put themselves in the best position to get better. We trust the coaching staff to improve and we’re excited to get them going.
Q: How do you carry over the confidence you built last year but at the same time say it’s a new year?
A: Well, it is a new year. That’s part of the reality of it. We have a lot of guys in a lot of different situations and it’s not like riding a bike. You have to prove yourself every day in this business, let alone year to year. There’s a number of guys in our locker room that are on one-year deals. Whether it’s players or coaches or whatever the case may be. I mean, we’re all on a day to day deal. Someone else could be standing up here tomorrow if I go out and do something stupid today. That’s just the nature of the business. So we all have to put our best foot forward and handle ourselves like pros and handle ourselves day to day.
Q: Do you think it’s difficult to match the long-term goals and getting ready for tomorrow’s practice; how are you able to do both those things at once?
A: It’s my job to focus on the goal of the organization and I need to paint that picture. At the same time, we need to understand what it’s going to take to get there, and what it’s going to take to get there is being great day to day.
Q: What drew you to the poem “If”?
A: First time I read it. I read it then I listened to it. Then I listened to it a couple different ways and, obviously, I was a little better listening to it. I sat there with my son and listened to it. I think 25 and under, it’s a pretty powerful poem.
Q: Did you just recently hear it?
A: I think it was June 14.
Q: What was the occasion?
A: Just trying to get better.
Q: So, it was the second day of minicamp?
A: Yes, it was.
Q: Why do you think this was the appropriate poem for the team?
A: Well, we have a youth group and an experienced group. We have players ranging from 21 years old to 36 years old. That’s a big age difference. The good teams merge well and gel well and we need to do that. We need to understand what the other person’s going through. Empathy is a big part of that and it really carries over as one of our values. A 36-year-old understanding what a 20-year-old is going through and a 20-year-old trying to understand what a 36-year-old is going through, and it’s not easy.
Q: Do you believe the players took the same message from the poem that you did?
A: We’ll see.
Q: In a Q& A, John Mara said 2011 has been awhile, it’s time to win another one. What’s your reaction?
A: You live and you learn from ’16. We didn’t get it done in ’16, so the goal is to get it done now. That’s what we’re working for every day.
Q: Is there anybody besides the PUP guys who aren’t going to participate in the physical evaluation?
A: We have a couple guys that are going to try some things out – we’ll see how it goes.