Head Coach Brian Daboll
June 8, 2022
BRIAN DABOLL: How is everybody doing? Go ahead.
Q. Jon Feliciano yesterday said Wink threw a lot at them doing practice. You've gone against Wink's system. What makes his system so tough to play against?
BRIAN DABOLL: I wouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here. That's practice and OTAs right now. I'll tell Jon that, too.
Everybody wants to win every period. There were some good plays, there were some bad plays both ends. I'm learning as a head coach it's never a good practice because one side is either doing good or the other side is doing bad.
I have said this before with Wink. It’s hard to prepare for. There are a lot of different looks. Designer defenses, if you will, that you don't see all the time that you have to be really good, good communicating, do a lot of studying on them to figure out some of the protection things and different pressures that he brings.
So, yeah, that's one of the reasons why we hired him.
Q. Three tryout players yesterday. And you had them participate in the practice session.
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think it helps, too, to get another set of legs out here and run around, but also get a good evaluation of some of the guys you want to take a look at. You never know when you might want to add someone to the roster. Could be today, could be two weeks from now, three weeks from now.
You can have the ability to have some of these guys out here to look at them. I think it helps.
Q. One of the things that I don't think you can miss from these spring practices is all the different spots Saquon is as a receiver. What kind of advantage is that to you? Your Bills running backs didn't catch a lot of balls. Is there somebody in your past at running back that has had that skill set?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think each year each team is a little bit different, each player is unique.
I think Saquon is a unique guy. You move him in different spots, that makes other guys have to learn other spots, too. It really falls on the five eligible receivers or the personnel groups you hope to utilize.
He's got good hands, he’s a good route runner, a good runner. Try to use him the best way we can.
In terms of other running backs I have had, I wouldn't compare them to any of the other guys I've had. Guys like Reggie Bush I had at Miami were good in the pass game.
Again, each week presents its own unique challenge, how the defense wants to play you, what kind of personnel they want to play, how do they see it, do they see him more as a sub guy, do they want to load up the box and play it differently. I think that's a week-to-week type of deal.
Q. We always talk about this as a quarterback driven league. Can you build an offense around a running back like that?
BRIAN DABOLL: I think you build it around all your skill guys. The quarterback is a pretty important position in today’s day and age in the NFL in terms of being able to pass the football. All the skill guys have to complement him and you put the pieces around him.
Q. With Saquon, the last few years obviously injuries have been a big thing with him. I'm wondering, what have you seen from him physically this spring?
BRIAN DABOLL: He's been good. He's been able to do everything we've asked him to do. Run the different runs when we're doing them. Those are more walk-through relative to how camp is being played. The routes we are asking him to run, his quickness, his ability to get in and out of breaks, his long speed, it's all looked good.
Q. Do you see what you basically saw when you scouted him?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I see a talented player. I'm glad he's on our team. Look forward to working with him. He's been great since I've been here just on the field, running around. Has been impressive.
Again, we got to go out there and do it with pads and under some pressure. Everything we've asked him to do to this point, he has done a really nice job.
Q. Do you sense any leadership aura with him? Can you see it yet? Do you sense that with any guys, maybe him in specific?
BRIAN DABOLL: He has leadership traits. Again, I think you let that play out with the preseason games, the padded practices, being able to bounce back whether it was a tough practice, a tough play, how you are in the meeting room. We look at all those types of things. We have since we’ve had the player. I think it is a long process. He definitely does a good job in the running back room and I think he has the ears of a lot of guys on the offense, keep working with them.
Q. Are you a leadership council or group head coach?
BRIAN DABOLL: I think it's important to talk to your players. I think just because you have experience and a good player doesn't necessarily mean you're a leader. Everybody can be a leader in their own right. Doing what you’re supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it on a consistent basis, that's the first step to being a good leader.
So we have a lot of guys that I think fit that mold. How it pans out, when we vote for captains, which will be a vote for the players, it's their team. That will be down the road at the end of the preseason games, so who they see as their leaders, I think that's more important necessarily than who I see.
Q. Regarding Evan Neal, we've seen a lot of rookie tackles struggle. Why in particular do you think it's such a challenging position for a rookie to be able to thrive at? What are the particular reasons for that?
BRIAN DABOLL: They're playing against really good players every week. It's really not rocket science. These guys come from good programs. Any position in the NFL, really, it's hard to jump right in in the NFL and be as dominant as you were in college. That’s just the nature of this league.
So when you go against really good players every week, edge rushers, guys with experience, multiple looks, I think you got to learn on the run and catch up fast.
There's a lot of things going on in rookies' minds, not just plays. They're moving to a new city, a lot of different things to do, a lot of them are on their own first time. It's why you see a lot of rookies, it is a slow development process. And others, not many, you throw them right in and they adapt.
He has certainly done a good job for us. He’s got a long way to go. There's times when he does really, really well out here. There's times, again without the pads on, I'm sure he’s like, this guy is pretty good.
Q. What accounts for Ricky Seals-Jones playing with the third team offense?
BRIAN DABOLL: I wouldn't read too much into any of that. I always tell these guys we have a rep chart, not a depth chart right now.
He's been with the ones, he's been in the twos, he's been with the threes. We've used different personnel packages. That really goes with all the guys. You’ll see different receivers go with Daniel one day. This isn't really, like I said, an evaluation type of camp. It is more of a teaching, learning camp and moving guys around and putting them with different players.
Q. So training camp would look different, you're saying?
BRIAN DABOLL: It could. We’ll see. We'll take it day by day. And when we get there, we’ll figure out the roles, where they're going to be.
Q. What do you like about Jamie Gillan that made you want to bring him over from Buffalo?
BRIAN DABOLL: He’s had a really good camp. He’s a good teammate. He can boom the ball. But he fit right into our culture, what we're trying to create. He's done a really nice job out here. Punt the ball pretty well.
Q. When you're trying to create a culture here, four plus months into it, it's one thing to bring rookies in who are hearing professional coaches for the first time. You have guys on this roster that have heard multiple voices since they got here. How cognizant were you from the very beginning to make sure your voice now is the only voice they're hearing, doesn't matter what they've been told in the past?
BRIAN DABOLL: I don't put much thought into it. Come in here and try to do the best job I can do for the guys, be myself, tell em like it is, be honest, be demanding that they do things right.
But also I think we have some good guys that want to do things right. Again, I tell them all the time, it's your team. They have to be accountable to one another. We'll give them instruction, we’ll teach them fundamentals, we'll try to put the schemes in that best suit them. But at the end of the day, they have to take ahold of this thing and take it where they want to go.
Q. Does that also apply position-wise, a new position coach comes in, starts coaching a guy that's had four position coaches in five years?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think that's unfortunately the nature of our business. There's a lot of change usually every year, a lot of different roles.
The guys that have been in this league for some time I'm sure have had multiple position coaches, different coordinators. You'd love to be the same coordinator or same coach for a guy for seven, eight years. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in.
Our guys have done a really good job, our position coaches, they’ve got to put their own spin on things as long as it's within the framework of what we want to do as an organization. I think the players have done a good job of listening to those guys.
Q. What do you like about Richie James?
BRIAN DABOLL: He's got quickness. He has the ability to play inside and outside. We’ve put him really in all three spots or four spots when we're going with four wide receivers.
I think the quarterbacks can read his body language. Has good hands, knows what to do, dependable. So he's been a good addition for us.
Q. Getting back to Saquon for a second. He caught 91 passes his first year here. I'm not asking for a number. You and your staff, is that something you say, we’ve got to utilize this ability?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah. I think any time you have a good player, if you're an offensive play-caller scheming, you find a way to get the best players the football. Targets. Sometimes as a decoy, touches in the run game. Guys that can produce and make yards with the ball their hand, as a play caller, you like those guys.
Q. How did Dexter Lawrence come out from turning his ankle yesterday? Will he practice today?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, he’s fine. I thought I was going to get through this whole press conference without an injury question, but that’s okay. (smiling). You guys are doing great.
Q. We saw Kenny Golladay run some drills yesterday. Are we going to see him do more maybe the next couple days? What is the line you try to walk there between we'd love to see him out here now but we want him to be healthy come training camp?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, the first thing, the guys in the red jersey, whatever they can do, they are going to be out here doing it. Whether that's a little bit more, a little bit less, each guy is on his own individual program.
What was the second thing?
Q. The line you try to walk.
BRIAN DABOLL: I think that's a valid question. Look, there's a time to be smart and there's a time to make sure you're pushing through things the best you can. You have to balance those.
What is it, June what?
Q. June 8th.
BRIAN DABOLL: June 8th. So guys that we’ve got to take a little bit off them on June 8th so they're ready to go fully on July 26th, I think that's being smart.
You push guys through in training camp, maybe it's the same exact thing and they don't have a red jersey on. It’s week two in training camp, everybody is sore, we know we're sore, but we’ve got to get ready to go, then there's a time to push through things.
All we're trying to do is try to be as healthy as we can be when training camp gets here.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about that because there have been injury problems here in the past. You talk about sports science and the training staff. All those people are the same people who were here. Did you come in with new ideas, different ideas? How do you adapt what has been here?
BRIAN DABOLL: I’d say it's been very collaborative. Certainly, I have ideas, but I'm not a doctor or a trainer. But sports science, analytics, I think there's really good give-and-take.
As a coach, you always want to have as many reps as you can get. Probably 10 years ago, I'd have been like let's come out here and do a thousand reps, but I think it's important to get all the information and make good, educated decisions.
I learned a lot in my time at Buffalo, how they did things in that regard, the reps, what we did with the players, and it really paid off.
Q. I got a question regarding Jihad Ward. What did Wink and Drew Wilkins tell you when you were considering signing him? Seems like he's a guy you can always hear on the practice field. What's he added?
BRIAN DABOLL: What you guys see. He's got constant energy. He's excellent in meetings. I'd say from my experience, not all the time, but when you're a player that comes in as a free agent from another team, it's a little bit harder to lead right away because you are swimming with a new playbook and new surroundings.
I'm not saying you're a rookie, but kind of like that. You kind of take a step back and just kind of feel things out.
He kind of jumped right into the deep end. He's got a great personality, energetic. I love the way he practices. He's always running to the ball. I'd say he helps out…he’s great with like Kayvon and those young guys in his room.
He's been a really good addition. It was a good recommendation on those guys' part.
Q. It seemed yesterday that Wink threw a couple of gadgets at the offense. Do you like that just to see how they react?
BRIAN DABOLL: I think that's one of the jobs of a head coach, too, is to put different, whether it's the defense or offense, in probably harder positions. Maybe there's a little bit more third-and-longs yesterday or second-and-longs, where when it's third-and-long or second-and-long, what do you think it's going to be? A run or a pass? A pass. So you're going to get a lot of junk defenses.
That's the importance of really understanding how to play the game and staying on terms. Conversely, when they're practicing a bunch of second-and-twos, you put the defense in a bind. What is it going to be to stay on track?
My position, I'm trying to put as many different -- whether it's coaches, play callers, players in different positions, some easier for one side than the other, and then conversely the other way around. I think that's important to see how guys react.
Look, every time you're out here and practicing, it's such a great opportunity to improve because you go back, you sit down, you learn from whether it's a mistake, maybe it's a call or a scheme.
That's what coaching is all about, is teaching, learning from mistakes, getting better the next time you're out here. That's why you do all these things.
That's why you try to create, let's say, pressure in practice, when you’re deciding… Look, we’ve had a few minicamp practices, 10 OTAs, now we’ve got two. We’ve already been through 15 practices. A lot of the installation is in. Now it's just kind of putting players and coaches in different positions, even though it is June, so that the next time we hear it in July, hopefully we're better in those areas and we're learning from our mistakes. Me included.
Q. Going to the Rangers game tomorrow?
BRIAN DABOLL: We'll see.