Head Coach Brian Daboll
June 2, 2022
BRIAN DABOLL: How is everybody doing?
Just rolling right along here. Practice nine. We have another one tomorrow, then we'll have our mini camp next week. Roll into the summer break. Get ready for training camp in terms of logistics and all those things. So there's been a lot of meetings relative to that. We'll have more and try to be set here once next week hits.
So go out there and try to have another good practice today.
Q. Will minicamp be much different than the OTAs?
BRIAN DABOLL: It will be a little bit longer. We'll do an extra walk-through with the practice, but it's not going to be over the top. Again, no pads on. Player safety is important to us. Will be in a little bit longer meetings, but not too much. Fairly similar.
Q. What have you seen so far from Austin Allen?
BRIAN DABOLL: He's got a lot to learn. Big-body guy. Fit right in with the rest of the guys. But long way to go.
Q. How have you been balancing teaching versus evaluating?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, really this is a teaching camp because, again, it's important. People are learning our language, our playbooks, how we want to do things here in terms of the building. So there's been a lot of teaching going on, which it needs to be.
The evaluation process is really more can they take the stuff from the classroom to the field. Other than that, without any pads on and stuff like that, that will be more in training camp.
Q. With Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay limited, what kind of opportunity is it for some of these other receivers? Has anyone like a Richie James or Robert Foster flashed to you so far?
BRIAN DABOLL: No, they've all done a good job. Coach Groh has done a good job working with those guys. Kenny and KT are involved in meetings, picking up the things. They're not out here for certain periods doing things.
All those young guys, some of the older guys, Slay (Darius Slayton) has done a good job for us. All those guys are picking it up and doing what they can.
Q. How valuable has it been for a guy like Wan'Dale getting all the reps with Daniel?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, the more you can do, the better off it is because you're out there actually doing it. Again, it's one thing looking at it on a book. Even the walk-throughs are helpful for those guys.
Wan'Dale is obviously a rookie, got a long way to go. But smart. Picked up stuff fairly well, really does a nice job out here for us.
Q. Do you sense you're building a pretty good camaraderie? How important is that?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think it's really important because you're going to have to weather the storms. That's what you try to do right now this time of year.
I think the guys, really it's the guys, it's their football team, the players. You try to do the best job you can in leading, putting a good culture together, bringing in the right kind of people, then let those guys take it over.
Q. To get back to Wan'Dale a little bit, he's a guy that can do a lot of different things. How do you balance not throwing too much at him right now and letting him kind of settle in?
BRIAN DABOLL: You don't. Throw a lot at him.
Q. You throw a lot at him?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah. He can handle it. He's smart. It was part of the evaluation process in terms of getting ready for the draft with the position coaches and the coordinators of really trying to teach these guys as much as we can in that process to see what they can grasp, how smart they are, along with all the other evaluation tools you use: going to the school, talking to people.
We place a high premium on intelligent players. He's certainly one of them.
Q. Shane Lemieux basically didn’t play at all last year, so when you guys evaluated him for 2020, what did you see? The previous coaching staff liked his toughness in the run game. What did you see as a pass blocker?
BRIAN DABOLL: We liked him where I came from, too, coming out in the draft. Had good conversations with Mario (Cristobal). He's a tough, smart, dependable guy. Plays with a nasty edge, which you need up front. Did a really good job in the meetings that we had with him leading up to the draft when I was in Buffalo.
He's done a really nice job here. He's smart. He's what I thought he was when we evaluated him. Now when the pads get on, he'll have an opportunity to show that.
Q. You seem to like those interior guys to maybe not be the flashy guys, high draft picks, but be tough, smart, nasty. Is that basically a true statement?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I really want them to protect the interior part of the pocket and get movement in the running game more than anything. I think you have to have an edge when you play. But more importantly you have to be able to execute the techniques, understand the assignments, play with the guys next to you, and do your job the best you can, which for us is protecting the interior depth of the pocket so the quarterback has room to step up and get movement in the running game.
Q. You guys have obviously done a ton of evaluation on all the guys. Is this the time where you also want to put guys in positions that maybe you're not sure if they can play?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah.
Q. Get them out there and see what they look like.
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, position flexibility. We've talked about this. It's important. We expect our guys to know a lot and learn a lot, put them in different spots, see where some of their strengths are and maybe some of their weaknesses are.
Maybe somebody is better in a spot that you didn't think he was. Particularly this time of year when you're not getting ready to play games or anything like that, you're going out there, teaching your system, letting these guys go out there and execute it.
Q. What did you do about the fight last week?
BRIAN DABOLL: Really wasn't much. Just move on to the next play.
Q. What was it like last night again at the Garden to be received the way you were? Do you feel you're a part of the fabric of New York sports now?
BRIAN DABOLL: Like I said before, this team is a fun team to watch. It's an unbelievable atmosphere, great people. Eastern Conference Finals, doesn't get better than this.
They start out quick. Great pass by Zibanejad. Kreider knocks it home. It's been a fun team to watch and follow. The great thing about sports is they just keep coming back, so... Kind of get attached to them.
Q. How did Joe Schoen get the invite last night?
BRIAN DABOLL: Joe has been there, too. Give Joe a lot of credit.
Q. Your name is up there.
BRIAN DABOLL: They must like bald guys, but no, Joe has been there for a bunch of games, as well. In fact, we brought some of the coaches. Coaches want to go, too. We go each game, the ones we can.
A few weeks ago we went to one of the games, and I said, who wants to go to the game, with the coaches. Almost all of them raised their hand. You do the third grade thing, put your name on a piece of paper, throw it in a hat, pick it out, whoever gets it gets to go.
Q. Did they not get to go the second time?
BRIAN DABOLL: No, there hasn't been any repeat guys. Joe and I have went, but it's been good.
Q. Have you always been a hockey fan?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, yeah. I played hockey when I was a kid.
Again, it's really just, you talked about being part of the culture here. It's just an awesome thing. And after every game when they're down and people saying, well, they didn't do this, they didn't do this. Been pretty impressive. They’ve been a resilient group.
Q. Did you go to a lot of hockey games when you were in Buffalo?
BRIAN DABOLL: When I could, yep.
Q. Are they undefeated with you there?
BRIAN DABOLL: They play well at home, I'd say that. Obviously the home games that I've been part of, they've been playing well. Certainly not because of me, I know that.
Q. When a new staff comes in, new guys, everybody gets a clean slate. How much from your experience can that be like a lifeline for a guy who might have been buried with the last staff?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, that's a good question.
I don't know. I think the places that I've been part of that have started out anew, I think most everybody does that. You want to try to do it your way, or our way, should I say, be true to you, give the guys opportunities to be themselves, let them either get with the program or not get with the program.
Sometimes it's hard as a coach not to have any preconceived notions about players, staff, whoever it may be, because it's such a small group.
I think everybody should be afforded that opportunity.
Q. How difficult is it to go from the 90-man roster to that 53? In a perfect world, would you rather bring the 90 with you through the season?
BRIAN DABOLL: Well, it's just the nature of the league, of having to release players and get down, the rules. That's part of the job that obviously I'm new to.
It's not fun. I've had relationships with players when I was a position coach or coordinator that you have to have conversations with. There's only so many guys you can keep.
You certainly have empathy towards those players that give everything they got, and at the end of the day you just have to move on from them for whatever reason it is, numbers, maybe not as good as the other person in front of them.
Those are tough conversations to have if you're a people guy because you appreciate the work and the effort, the intensity that they put into their craft.
Q. Do you expect Andrew Thomas to be ready to go for minicamp? Thibodeaux?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, hope so. Hope so. Look, the guys are still in red jerseys. They're rehabbing. When they're ready to go, they'll be ready to go.
Q. Is Andrew on track? He looked like he was laboring last week.
BRIAN DABOLL: No, he's doing a good job. Everything we've asked him to do rehab-wise, really all the guys, they're doing what they can do. When they're ready to go, they'll be ready to go.
Q. How has it been having Davis Webb around to incorporate that culture you were talking about?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I have a great appreciation for Davis as a person first, but how he goes about his business. He is excellent in the meetings rooms. He's good with the other positions. It's good to have people that know your system, no question about it.
But I want him to go out there and play quarterback, too. He has bounced around a little bit in the league. Give him an opportunity to go out there and play.
Q. You mentioned training camp a little earlier. You going to have joint practices and sessions?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, we’re working on that. Maybe, maybe not. That's the best answer I can give you. I don't have anything concrete.
Q. Do you want to? What are the benefits of that?
BRIAN DABOLL: We're still talking about that. Again, being in the league as long as I've been, I've seen it a bunch of different ways. We're not at that point yet.
Q. With Kayvon, whatever injury he does have, is it something that's going to need rehab time or are you just playing it safe with him?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, well, I think they're all at different spots, the guys in red jerseys. Knock on wood, hopefully he'll be good to go.
Q. 'Good to go' you mean by training camp?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah. Hopefully. Again, I'm not going to promise anything. He may or may not.
Q. You're not expecting him next weekend?
BRIAN DABOLL: I'm not expecting him to be out of a red jersey today. We'll just start with today. We'll see next week how it goes. There's a lot of things that can happen over the weekend.
Q. How did you get the Stanley Cup in the building yesterday?
BRIAN DABOLL: You hear that guy behind you? Pat, you want to answer that?
PAT: The NHL asked and we said yes. How’s that?
Q. Did you touch the Cup?
BRIAN DABOLL: Pretty cool. No, I did not. Pretty cool thing to see, though.
Q. Anything you can take for this team, lessons there, or do you want them to just appreciate the moment?
BRIAN DABOLL: As a coach or as a person in this industry, you always try to learn and grow, learn from different teams or different competitors.
Again, what a resilient group. Two Game 7s back to back when they're down, right? Boy, they got off to a fast start, though, yesterday. Getting off to a fast start helps, no matter what sport you play.
Q. You didn't take first-year coaches are supposed to get their teams to Conference Finals?
BRIAN DABOLL: I appreciate that (laughter).