Head Coach Brian Daboll
July 30, 2022
Daboll: How’s everybody doing? Good. Cruising right along. Day four here. Different situation today. Been pleased with the coaches, the players, their effort, their energy. Just like a normal training camp, you go out there, you work. You come in, you correct it. Good communication. So, try to have a good day today.
Q: What’s the situational focus today?
A: It is the high red zone and what we call the fringe. So, right when you pass the 50, a little bit past there. So, it’ll be some good work today. Keep on hammering on those situations, and once we get into pads, we’ll ramp up the physicalness, the blocking, the holding the point. But right now, we’re trying to take care of one another and be smart.
Q: With (Safety Xavier) McKinney wearing the green dot, is that because you think there’s an advantage to having a safety do it, or is it because you think he’s going to be on the field every play? How did you kind of arrive at that?
A: So, I had a discussion with (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale). And I have a lot of confidence in Wink. He’s done it that way for the past few years. So, that’s who we chose to wear it right now. We’ve been doing that in the spring. We’re doing out here now, so we’ll do it in preseason games, and see how that goes. But he’s done a good job of communicating.
Q: Yesterday seemed to be the first time you got upset because they couldn’t get a play in or something like that. Is that -- ?
A: No, we had 12 guys on the field. And that’s our job as a coaching staff to make sure the right people are on. You don’t want to burn timeouts. That’s why we crank music as loud as we can. We try to make everything as difficult as we can, whether that’s on a coaching staff, the player side of it, one side of the ball to see how people react and units react. Because that’s important; you’re going to have to fight through some things.
Q: How do you look at a day like yesterday for your offense?
A: Third-and-six to nine day.
Q: Looked like they had kind of a rough day.
A: Well, you kind of expect – I’m not saying you want to expect that – but when you’re formulating a practice plan, and it’s six to nine and you have over 30 reps of six to nine, it’s about three and a half average (per game) last year, six to nine reps. So, when you have 32, or whatever it was, you want to put some pressure on it. You got to answer the bell in those situations. If you’re 40 percent, you’re usually top five in the league. So, you know, if you just do it over and over again in one practice – we’ll have another one that’s going to be third-and-10-plus. So, you know right when we get into it, and we talk about it in the morning, one side is a little bit excited and the other side is like, ‘Here it comes.’ But that’s good; it’s good for those guys.
Q: Do you find that the mental side of the practices are going great as opposed to especially the physical side?
A: Well, the physical side, we’re not quite there yet. You know, we don’t have pads on yet. So, it’s like kind of like spring. I’m big on making sure we’re taking care of our players, whether it’s in the pocket. It’s the nature of the competition. The D-line is getting a bit of power push in the pocket, and we’re trying to hold off on that the best we can. And you can see, there’s not a lot of runs out there right now. And that’s for design. That’s another reason why we’ve kind of done third down early on because we have no pads on. And again, when you get to third-and-6 plus, it’s – I don’t know, you guys can tell me the stats, 95 percent pass? So the pass rush and everything, we’re trying to do things to make it difficult on one side early on, and then when we get the pads we kind of …
Q: How close is (Line Backer) Azeez (Ojulari) to returning?
A: He’s working through it. I don’t want to give you a timetable, but he’s gotten better.
Q: Are we talking soon? Or weeks?
A: I’m not there yet.
Q: The five guys who didn’t practice yesterday –any of them back today?
A: Yeah, there’s a couple of guys that are back. Working through the heat stuff and some normal bumps and bruises. But overall, pretty healthy.
Q: Brian, they’re individuals obviously. But do you look at (Tackle) Evan (Neal) and (Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), your two first round picks, as linked or connected in any way? Obviously, they’re different players on different sides of the ball, but do you kind of look at them and say, ‘Foundation, building pieces,” or those kinds of things.
A: Absolutely. It’s hard coming in as a rookie, regardless of what round you’re taken. But they’ve been excellent in meetings. They’ve done what they’re supposed to do. They’ve worked extremely hard in practice. There’s good competitiveness in practice. But sure, you know, you take two guys that early in the first round, and you want to make sure you hit on them and not just as players, which is important, but as people and the right people for the organization. So yeah, counting on those guys.
Q: Do you think also the way that one guy’s an offensive tackle, a very premier position, and one guy’s a pass rusher – do you say, ‘Yeah, that works in symmetry there, we can be really good there.”
A: It just happened to be that way. There’s good competitiveness out there. Evan’s done a really good job this camp. Again, we’ll find out when the pads come on, but in terms of his sets and picking up the system. And Kayvon’s done a nice job. And finally, we got (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) out there, who he’s competing against, whose a good player. So, there’s good competition on the edges.
Q: With Kayvon, I noticed right from the first practice it looked like he knew right away that when he got in the backfield not to get anywhere near (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones). I know that you drill that into your guys, but for a rookie that’s so eager, do you take anything away from that?
A: He’s a good listener. (Laughs) It’s hard. It’s hard to play defensive line or be a pass rusher and have to stay away from the quarterback and be smart. But that’s something we stress. We only have a certain number of players, and we’re trying to keep them as healthy as possible. And whether that’s keep receivers up on the ground late in the play like we talked about the other day. But he’s done a good job, most of those guys have. We’re trying to be smart.
Q: How much are you looking forward to getting them into pads?
A: That’s really when training – I mean this is great. There’s a lot of good teaching out here. It’s really, like I said in the spring, it’s a teaching camp. It’s competitive because there’s fans and the nature of training camp. But the evaluation process of the things that they need to do physically and they’re able to do that, really exert that a little bit more, I think we’re all waiting for that.
Q: What’s your tempo when they’re in pads?
A: We’ll keep them off the ground and stay away from the quarterback. But you can actually see the fundamentals that you’re teaching. They’re doing a good job right now of trying to execute it, but when you have the pads on, particularly in the trenches, you get a good feel for some of those guys, their power, their ability to anchor, their ability to pass rush. It’s hard to tell (Defensive Line) Dexter (Lawrence) don’t bull rush right now without pads on. So, when we get to these pads, we’ll be able to see their full arsenal.
Q: How much tolerance do you have for the inefficiency or lack of production on offense? At what point in preseason do you go from, ‘It’s okay to make mistakes,” to “This needs to look better than this.”
A: In what regard.
Q: Like completing passes …
A: Like practice at third-and-six to nine? Like a full like first down, second down? Or just a game? In what regard?
Q: I just three practices to base it off of, but you know completing passes, receiving and executing the plays that you call.
A: Well, it’s not tolerance, I think that’s what a coach does. You go out there, you try to perform. You go out there and have 30 snaps of a variety of blitzes, different looks. There’s so many different things that happened yesterday, like a lot of really good things: hots, breaking off routes. Were there some miscommunications? Absolutely. For some of those guys, it’s the first time in this offense where they’re practicing with Daniel. It’s their third practice. So, we’re kind of day-by-day. Get better each day, have a positive mindset, and correct the things you’ve got to correct. And that’s coaching. that’s at least the way I’ve learned to coach the last few years.
Q: Yeah, so you view it as a longer-term evaluation of how the offense is functioning…
A: We’re in day three without any pads on. So, I mean we got a long time to evaluate here.
Q: Have any of the guys running with the threes and fours particularly stood out to you?
A: I think they’re all working right now. Again, they’re just trying to get the playbook down. We’re throwing a lot at them. Come Monday, it’ll really start up on the evaluation. We’re not going to sit down as a staff – we did that at the end of the spring. This is like an extension of spring relative to the scouting staff and the coaching staff. After we have a few days of pads in and get going. There’s an old ball coach who’s been pretty successful who used (to say), “Let’s not be an instant evaluator.” Three days of practice, we’ll give these guys a little bit of time here.
Q: (Defensive Back) Gavin Heslop is a guy you brought in last week. What have you seen from him? He’s coming back from a pretty bad injury, too.
A: Just working through it. Kind of like the other guys. These guys are grinding along. We’ll have more as we get going.
Q: You put restrictions on what can be videoed during team periods. I’m just curious on the flip side of that, do you have people in the building who are monitoring what’s coming up on social media from the Titans and the Panthers and that type of thing?
A: Well, I think there’s 32 teams, and you’re trying to gain as much of a competitive advantage in every area: strength and conditioning, practice, everything you can do to try to gain a competitive advantage because it’s so competitive. So yeah, certainly do.
Q: In this point of training camp, what is more important: Doing it right, or developing a winning attitude?
A: I think both. It’s a really good question. Look, we want to do everything right. I want to make every call right. I want to make every practice right. I want to put all the reps together so every person’s getting a good opportunity. You want to develop a winning identity. And I think developing a winning identity starts on how you do things right now. And again, we’re not competing. We don’t have a game here for a long time. You’re kind of competing against yourself and trying to build team chemistry. And then look, that’s why you go out there and practice. That’s why we sit down, we try to make a detailed schedule. Is it always prefect? No, obviously. But you try to put guys in different positions to teach a lot of different things: technique, fundamentals, the ability to deal with adversity because things are going to hit. You stress, ‘Hey, let’s have really good focus each and every period.’ But again, there might be a practice where we’re doing all second-and-1 and second-and-2s all day and put the defense in a really stressful situation to back us up. Fundamentals, technique. I think you’re never satisfied as a coach and really as a player. You want to be as good as you can be. Some of things – botched snaps, 12 guys on the field – like, that’s inexcusable. But other things, physical things and some mental things that show up for the first time, that’s going to happen. That’s why you have training camp, and that’s why you teach.
Q: You mentioned the botched snaps, is (Offensive Lineman) Jon (Feliciano) going to be out here today? Or probably another day?
A: He’s probably another day, yeah. He’s still, he’s grinding through it. But no. We’ll have these other guys that were snapping yesterday. And you can’t have those, they know that. It’s like a drop or a bad pass. We got to fix what we can fix and go out there and not do that.