Head Coach Brian Daboll
July 29, 2022
Daboll: How’s everybody doing today? Good. So, we’re on day three. Two good days of work, lot of competition, good tempo. Look forward to going out there today. Another, I’d say, important situation where it’s a little bit third and longer. So, there will be a lot of different looks to deal with. Put the guys in some stressful spots, particularly the offense and try to have a good day?
Q: Do you have any more Yung Joka songs during warmup?
A: Could be. Yeah. Could be.
Q: Why did you do that?
A: Oh, we did it in the spring too. We play a bunch of music, and it was one of the songs. He’d send me songs here and there throughout the offseason. I’d ask him for some songs, and some I’d like better than others. And uh, talented guy.
Q: Brian, I’m kind of curious. Do you have a rhyme or reason for how you’re structuring these practices? You know the short yardage, the red zone, or the third and medium henceforth.
A: Yeah, observant. Well, it’s areas you need to work on. Red zone is a really important area in terms of scoring the football and then stopping and creating field goals. An area we definitely need to work on. It also helps players coming back from being down 30, 40 days of working in the offseason. And you’re not running 20 go routes or covering posts or deep crossers and things like that. And then usually on like a third and two-to-five day, it’s a lot shorter routes, too. You’re running routes at the sticks or you’re running shallow crossers, things like that. So, some of the running in the ramp up period helps those guys. Today it’ll be a little bit longer. Again, trying to put players in stressful situations in practice is important. That’s why you practice. You learn from it, and you move on. You see if you can fix the things you need to fix. So that’s kind of what we’re doing. I’d say the next day is kind of the fringe area – in that area – and then we got a day off. Then we’ll start with pads. That will be a first and second down day where we can kind of get after it in the running game, and really start playing real football, if you will.
Q: Brian, you had the offense or defense running some sprints in the middle of practice yesterday. What was that about?
A: So, it wasn’t anything like they made a mistake or did anything like that. I think that you need to be at your best when you’re tired. A lot of games come down to the fourth quarter in this league, and when you’re tired, maybe you’re not concentrating or focusing as much as you need to. Kind of short sprints there, put them right back on the line of scrimmage, call a play quick, get them lined up, make sure they know who’s in the game. And everybody’s operating when they’re tired. It’s not like it was 40 sprints or anything like that, but still a short, quick sprint to get their wind up a little bit and get them out there to play and operate and execute a play.
Q: Is it almost like simulating if you have a 40-yard play downfield where they need to run down and get lined up for the next play.
A: Yeah, and we’ll do that too once we start moving the ball and actually start getting into first and second (downs). Right now, it’s just situational football where were just calling it and playing the game. We’ll do that. But I just always thought – and I talked to some really good coaches in the offseason to try to improve myself, ask a lot of questions – if you run sprints at the end of practice and you come up and you break it down, and there’s nothing else going on after that. So, we’re doing a little bit of that before the practice ends and then putting them in a situation, whether it be the last play on the goal line, a big fourth down, 17 seconds left at the 18-yard-line in the red zone. And try to have them do it when they’re tired. I think that’s important.
Q: Out of curiosity, who’s brain did you pick in the off season?
A: I keep that private. I try to do it every year out of respect to the people. I’d say some very successful people. And not just football coaches – basketball coaches, businesspeople. I think that, you know, you’re always trying to learn and grow and be better. And whether it’s leadership or practice scheduling. I try to take bits and pieces, make sure you’re yourself. But there’s so much to learn particularly for a first year like me. When I was a coordinator, I did it with successful play-callers. When I was a position coach, I did it. I just try to self-evaluate and improve each year.
Q: Brian, you had the players call some of the plays yesterday or the last couple of plays?
A: I think signal callers (Safety Xavier McKinney) X and (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), they’re relaying plays in at times to the players. Just put them on the other end of it, I think there’s some friendly competition fire there and the guys get a kick out of it. There was a lot of energy there at the end of practice. I asked X this morning if he liked his play call, and Daniel too, and usually you like it when it works, and you don’t when it doesn’t. But X was pretty firm on his call. We’ll do that as well. We’ll have the walkie talkies or headsets out there for our players and there will be times – and I did it in the spring – where I will purposely cut them off on (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) and (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafta because it could happen in a game like that and now they have to take control and be able to operate and not panic and all the hand gestures. Just go out and make sure you have a play all in mind and be able to lead the team.
Q: Coach, (Wide Receiver) Wan’dale (Robinson) went down yesterday. Is he okay?
A: Yeah, he’s good. He was cheering at the end of practice there. I was getting on him this morning, I love how he was cheering but I said, ‘Hey I thought you were down’. He said, ‘I’m good.’
Q: It seems like the defensive backs were pretty upset with the refs on the last call.
A: I just try to tell these guys to not worry about the refs. They’ve got a job to do. It’s hard enough when one side wins one time. That’s the competitive nature that you try to build within your team. Within the groups, within the players. And we’ll continue to try to build that.
Q: (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton – why does he work so sparingly?
A: Yeah, well (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) has been back. I have confidence in Slay. We all saw he had a couple of drops out there, but hat’s that practice is for. But again, we’re in the second day. A lot of mistakes that will be made – some physical, some mental. And that’s why you have coaches. You have so many coaches on a football team. Coaching is technique and fundamentals and figuring out reasons why. It’s easy to come back – a player comes back – and you say, ‘You need to block this guy, or you need to catch the ball,” but find out the details, coach it up. He’s worked real hard, and he’ll continue to work. And he’ll get reps throughout camp. You know, we’re working with the guys – you know Wan’Dale and KT right now – and (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) with that first group. How that goes? We’re in day two.
Q: Do you find that he’s responding better from a mental standpoint after drops?
A: Yeah, he’s – that’s part of coaching as well. Not just telling a guy what route to run or what adjustment to make. It’s getting to know the person and what makes them tick, too. How do they respond to negative criticism? How do they respond to positive criticism? Each player is different because they’re different people. And you better figure out what makes them tick, each person. You’ve going to have ups and downs. Everybody reacts – you, me, my kid – everybody reacts different. My oldest kid reacts different from my youngest kid. And if you don’t know that, and you treat them all the same, I think you’re doing them a disservice. Darius is in a good spot. Again, there’s, dropping a ball and throwing a bad pass, that’s so easy for everybody to see and it’s right there in the open. But how you respond, and I believe right there at the end, we had a call it period when he came down and ran a little shallow, and Daniel scrambled out and he made a big play. So being able to respond to that is important.
Q: Brian, you tell us that drops are part of practice? But do you have to tell the players? Certain guys are more fragile than others. So do you have to tell the players, ‘Hey relax, it’s part of practice?’
A: I think each player is different, too. Some people, I might not say one word to them. Some people, I’ll say, ‘Keep your head up.” Other people, I’ll say – I don’t want to say it right now. Again, it’s different. The way you treat people…they’re not just out there as robots as players, the way you treat people is important. And you better figure out what makes them go. I mean it’s a production business. We all got it. Nobody wants to drop a ball. Nobody wants to throw a bad pass. Nobody wants to miss a block. But it’s going to happen. The last time I’ve seen a perfect game played in football is really, well, I haven’t. How you respond to bad things is just as important as how you respond to good things.
Q: Kadarius … after a late play. Did you want the ball out quicker from Daniel there, or is that something the receivers did?
A: No, I think. The play with… I’m animated a lot. I know you guys, I mean, there’s music, and you can’t know what I’m saying. Sometimes we got to do a good job of keeping guys off the ground too and not grabbing jerseys. Both sides. whether it’s offensive lineman grabbing, we got to make sure we’re playing smart.
Q: There was a guy after practice who needed some medical attention. Who was it and is he okay?
A: He is okay. I’ll tell you, there were a couple guys. We’ll probably have a few guys down today relative to heat and hydration and just to be smart on that end, but he’s good. It was Felice. (Offensive Lineman) Jon Feliciano.
Q: With Kadarius, what have you learned about him over the seven or eight months?
A: He’s a good person. He cares about his teammates. And we have good communication, him and I. He likes football. He likes music. I think he’s a very loyal, a loyal guy. And you got to build trust with KT. And he had to build trust with me. Really no different than a lot of guys. Trust is probably one of the most important things in any relationship you can build. I’ve told you from day one, I’ve been very happy with KT, his approach, how he is as a person, first and foremost, because that’s what matters to me. We’ve seen him in college. We evaluated him. He has a tremendous skillset. He’s smart. We move him around quite a bit. He’s a good young player that we’re going to help develop anyway we can both on and off the field.
Q: Brian, did you have any experience with the Guardian Caps at Buffalo, and what do you like about them here?
A: Yeah. Anything that can prevent injury or help prevent injury or reduce the risk of injury for players, I’m all for. Health and safety for the players is our first priority as an organization – making sure these guys are as healthy as they can be and as safe as they can be. Whatever the doctors and the trainers and the statistics say, if it’s going to help the players, I’m all for it.
Q: Is it a player decision?
A: No, all the league is wearing them relative to the positions.