Head Coach Brian Daboll
August 24, 2022
Daboll: How’s everybody doing? So, it’ll be a big week for us here. Today we have a padded practice. Tomorrow we’ll practice against the Jets. Then we’ll have our normal Friday. So, big week ahead. Focused on today and should have a good practice out there.
Q: What have you learned so far about this team from when you started to where we are now?
A: They just keep getting better every day. They got a good mindset. They come in. They work hard. They do what’s asked of them; spend extra time on taking care of things that they need to take care of. It’s been a good group to work with.
Q: You put two guys on the reserve/PUP list, but not (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep. Where does he stand? Will he be back?
A: Yeah. He’ll be back today.
Q: What do you mean by back today?
Q: Doing just individual drills and stuff, or he’s actually going to do more?
A: We’ll kind of ramp him up. We’ll ramp him up just like we did when the other guys come back. But he’s done a good job in his rehab, and it’ll be good to have him out there.
Q: Do you have a general philosophy of quarterbacks playing in the preseason? Your starting quarterback. A lot of coaches do it differently. Do you have any thoughts on it?
A: No, just off of my experience of this year, I think you’ve got to do what’s best for your guys. And I thought the first game, getting (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) some work. And then the second game was good for him, was good for our entire offense. And we’ll see how it goes for this third game. I think it probably depends on where you’re at in terms of your offensive installation, how many years you’ve been together, probably a lot of other factors.
Q: Do you know how you’re going to use him on Sunday?
A: No. I think we got two good days here ahead of us in pads. And then we got our Friday. We’ll make that decision later in the week rather than earlier.
Q: It seems that (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) is carrying something of a defiant mentality into the season. How much do you think that approach will serve him well in what he’s trying to accomplish?
A: I don’t know. I think that’s probably a good question for him. I just know that – I’ve said this before – since spring and since summer, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s been really a pleasure to coach. He’s had a good mindset. He’s learned our stuff. He’s played hard, and he’s ran hard. What’s in his head or what he’s thinking, I think is better off for him. I just know he’s done a really good job for us really since we’ve been here.
Q: Is there something you’ve learned about him that you didn’t know when you got this job?
A: He’s ultra-competitive. He’s very, very competitive. Not just on the field. Just really with anything. And you like to see that with your players. I wasn’t around him physically. You scout him coming out of the draft; he was a pretty talented player. But all of those things have shown up out here. But his talent, his competitiveness has stood out.
Q: How much does as a coach do you care or monitor what guys do use as motivation?
A: I think you try to learn your players the best you can to motivate them. Sometimes players can motivate themselves in certain, different ways. I think that’s good. Each player is different. What motivates you might be different than what motivates me. So, I kind of let those guys be them, and if something’s on their mind, and that’s motivating them – great.
Q: You’ve talked all summer about how it’s an evaluation process. You’re watching the guys and how they perform. When you get into this stretch here now with the joint practice and the preseason finale, do you send a message to the team that you want to see things ramped up a little bit? How do you approach really what has become the final stretch here?
A: I think we always want to ramp things up. We always want to be urgent in what we do from the meeting rooms to the practice field, I don’t think you can go up and down with that. I think you have to have a high sense of urgency in this league. Do you sit there and talk about what’s upcoming in a week? I just shoot it to them straight. We started out with 90. Now you’re down to 80. It’s going to go to 53 pretty soon, and unfortunately the world we live in, there’s going to be 600 or 700 guys that will be working out on Tuesdays trying to get onto another team. Another 400 or 500, whatever it is, for the practice squad, with 16. So, I think the more you start thinking about that, the less you do when you have a chance to do it, which is right now, today, in practice. We all know it’s an evaluation period for all of us. I think you just concentrate on doing your job the best you can, and then you can live with the results.
Q: You talked a lot about finding what Daniel’s comfortable with. Is RPOs safe to say it fits with that? And why is he effective with those?
A: I’d say RPOs are something that he’s comfortable with. I think he’s comfortable with a lot of stuff that we’ve done on offense. Most quarterbacks are. Drop back, play action, RPOs now since it’s come up through the college game. We’re still working on all the stuff that we have put together, but it’s definitely an element. There’s different ways to run RPOs. You read a defensive lineman, you read a linebacker, it can be a safety. It’s usually a one-man type of read to help you make a quick decision. It’s still not easy because you have to make it in that split second. So, it’s like running a zone read. Like, ‘Why didn’t he keep it?’. Well, I mean the guy’s right there. It’s like making a read on a coverage. He’s done a good job with all the stuff we’ve asked him to do. RPOs is one of them.
Q: How is (Kicker) Graham (Gano), and are you going to bring in a placekicker?
A: He’s making progress. We still could; but if he’s ready to go toward the end of the week, we probably won’t, obviously.
Q: How about the other offensive linemen…last week? Jon Feliciano?
A: Yep. Felice will be doing something out here. Jamil (Douglas) will be doing something out here. We’re getting more healthy. I think the trainers have done a good job with our guys. I’d say there’s more people coming out hopefully by the end of the week, we’ll have even a little bit more.
Q: Is (Guard Shane) Lemieux in that mix? Or is he later?
A: Hopefully he’ll do – we’ll see where he’s at today.
Q: Daniel. He’s had a couple practices where it’s a little uneven. But in the games, he has looked pretty good. Does that mean anything to you?
A: Yeah, because the games matter the most. Again, we’re trying to script and do a lot of different things in practice. Again, you’d like to have a perfect practice every time you step out there. But the great thing about practice is it doesn’t count. It counts if you learn from it. And he’s done a good job of getting a lot of different looks, going back in the meeting rooms, talking with the receivers, talking with the coaches, talking with (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka, talking about the protections. That’s why you practice. You try to make practice harder than it is in a game as a coaching staff, the best you can – whether it’s situations, different looks, blitzes, same thing with motions and shifts. You kind of map things out to try to put pressure on as many players and coaches as you can. And that’s what we try to do. I’m not saying everybody tried to do it. That’s what we try to do. And I think he’s done a good job of learning from it and then applying it in games.
Q: Just to get back to Shep real fast, do you expect him to do team drills tomorrow and maybe play Sunday?
A: I think we’ll just ramp it up. Take it day-by-day. See where he’s at after today with some of the stuff we ask him to do. But he’s rehabbed well. He’s done a good job. So, it will be good to get him back out here. He’s a good player for us.
Q: Are you excited to see him in your offense and what he can potentially do with this?
A: Yeah. He’s been a good player. I think he can do a wide variety of things. Good route runner. Got quickness. Intelligence. Can read zone. Read man. Understands the coverages. Has a lot of experience. Played multiple roles. So, I’m excited to get out here and work with him.
Q: How do you see him fitting in? I know you said multiple roles, but you do have a bunch of inside guys. Do you want to use him on the outside? Do you view him as primarily a guy who’s a slot guy? I mean that’s probably where he’s had his most success.
A: I think he really can play any spot we need him to play watching him on tape. He’s been productive inside. He can run stuff outside. He has an ability to create separation, which helps the quarterback. So, again, he’s a veteran that’s played some football, has a good rapport with Daniel. So it’ll be good to just throw him in the mix. Told him he’s going to have to learn a lot of spots.
Q: As the sport has evolved over the years, the emphasis on the quarterback position has obviously grown exponentially. Is it possible today to build an offense around a very good or great running back? Or is that not a reasonable scenario?
A: I think your job as a coach is to figure out who your best players are and then build into those strengths. Again, the game, as you mentioned, has changed dramatically from 2000, my first year, to now it’s evolved– not just at the NFL level but at the high school level to the college level – so it’s kind of a changing dynamic of what it used to be with the big shoulder pads and big fullbacks and wadded up formations to spread out. But again, I think you try to take your best players and utilize them the best way you can, whatever that is. Whether that’s around the running back, around receivers, around a tight end, I think that’s what you’re charged with as a coach.
Q: In regards to making your final cuts, do you know by now in your mind that you have a pretty good idea who’s on this team or is it, in your mind, it’s still wide open – ‘I got a lot of questions that need to be answered,’?
A: Are there certain players that you know will be on the team? Sure. But I think a lot of the other spots, and I’m not giving you specific spots, yeah there’s certainly a lot of competition out here that we’re interested to see here this next week with our guys.
Q: What’s your view on guys who are like primarily teamers? Like when you’re making the roster, does the sixth receiver have to be a better receiver than the seventh guy? Or a better special at teams? Do you know what I mean?
A: I do. That’s a great question. It’s a case-by-case basis. But it’s certainly talked about quite a bit. Obviously if you can have a player that contributes on offense or defense and contributes in the kicking game, that’s on the bottom, maybe not your first or second guy, that goes a long way to develop some depth and give you more. You can only take a certain amount to the game too. So, if the sixth receiver, the fourth receiver, the sixth defensive back, whatever it may be, if they’re good contributors in the kicking game, I think that goes a long way.
Q: When you have a guy like Shep who’s dealt with some of the injuries that he has, does he have to change the way that the plays at all to maybe get back what he lost from the injury? Or when you look at him, do you see a guy who’s 100 percent back and hasn’t lost anything?
A: Until we’re out here running around, when these guys come back from injury, when (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) and those guys say they’re ready to go, I think we have a good plan to try to ramp them up. And then, you just let them play. I’ve coached guys that have been hurt before and come back from injury, and I think the more they think about it, the worse it is. You just go out there, if we think you’re ready, and you think you’re ready, then let’s go play. But again, there’s a ramp up period that goes along with it to get them in the right mental frame and physical skillset, too.