Head Coach Brian Daboll
August 30, 2022
Daboll: How’s everybody doing? So, obviously we met with a lot of players today, this morning and yesterday. And again, I’ve said this before, it’s always a tough time of year for players and I’d say for the rest of the people in the organization. Still working through some things. So, I know it comes out at four. Probably will be more prepared tomorrow, Thursday when (General Manger) Joe (Schoen) comes up to kind of give you guys answers to some of the questions you may have. So, that was the last two days. The other thing we did this morning is the players voted for captains, so I’ll give you guys the names of the players they selected to represent them in the leadership role. On offense, it was (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones), (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) and (Tackle) Andrew Thomas. On defense, it was (Safety Xavier McKinney) X, (Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams) Leo and (Defensive Lineman) Dexter (Lawrence). In the kicking game, it was (Long Snapper) Casey (Kreiter), (Kicker) Graham (Gano) and (Inside Linebacker) Cam Brown. And there was another player who got a good amount of votes both on defense and in the kicking game that’ll be added to those guys, and that’s (Safety) Julian Love. So, that was all player votes, and there were other players that got votes, but those guys got the most votes. And those guys are the elected captains for our season this year.
Q: Julian will be a captain then?
A: He will be. Yep.
Q: He gets his own category then?
A: No. He got a good amount of votes on both sides, so he was the last one we announced this morning after the walkthrough. But all well-deserved, I think. All of them exhibit good leadership, and I think that’s a testament to them that they’re voted on by their peers. So, those will be our captains.
Q: How do you like to work, or will you like to work with your captains? Will you have weekly meetings to check in with them as a group, or is it more one-to-one?
A: We will. We’ll have weekly meetings, and they’re the voice of the locker room. So, I think that’ll encompass a lot of different things. We’ll just let it happen organically. That’s how we’ll approach it.
Q: And this is not a leadership council?
A: Those are the captains that were voted.
Q: And that will be your group, right?
A: That’ll be our group. Yep.
Q: So, for the start of a game, you’ll send our three or four of them or something?
A: Yeah. I haven’t even – we’ll cross that bridge (when we get to it). But we’ll only send out a couple, not all of them. But I think it’s good when the people that are in those rooms – and we’ve let everybody vote. They voted for two players at each spot – offense, defense and the kicking game – and then just tallied up the votes and then looked at how many were voted. And those guys stood out in each area.
Q: With (Wide Receiver) Sterling Shepard obviously just getting on his way back here, can you talk about what he’s done behind the scenes? He’s obviously been one of your guys that’s been here for a few years now. I’m sure you’re looking forward to seeing him on the field with Daniel. Aside from the playing aspect, which he hasn’t had a chance to do yet, what has he, what’s he doing behind those doors?
A: Provides a lot. The whole rehab for him, he’s really worked hard at that to get back. And he’s a great voice for the receivers in that room. He’s played a lot of football here. I think he’s instinctive. He’s learning our system as we go. We’re asking him to learn different spots. He’s just done a good job in that role, and he’s one of the guys that did get votes, just didn’t get as many as the other guys.
Q: What went into your decision to only keep two quarterbacks?
A: We still got some time here. But relative to our roster management, that’s where we went at this point. I think (Quarterback) Davis (Webb) has done a really good job. We’ll see how that all unfolds.
Q: In one of your first, I don’t know if it was your first or your second press conferences when you met with us, you said – I’m paraphrasing – said it’s important to show players, talk to them, care about them: their lives, what’s going on at home, this and that. Because you take that out of it, does that make today – what’s going on now – that much harder to do?
A: Yeah, for myself personally? Yeah. These guys, like I’ve said before, they have put a lot of time and effort and energy into doing everything they can do to create a role for themselves, and it’s tough when you’re talking to each individual. And each individual is different. Each individual handles things different. But I think that relationship that you build when you have to tell somebody that they didn’t make it, that’s always a – at least for me – that’s tough.
Q: Do you speak to guys who – I mean guys know if they’re on the bubble or not, so to speak. Do you speak to the guys that did make it through, and what do you suppose their emotion is like when they are not on that list today even though it’s obviously ever changing?
A: The ones that make it?
Q: Yeah. Guys that are close.
A: I think a lot of those guys always think that they’re close. That’s why there’s some anxiety throughout camp, and tempers flare. And there’s a lot of things that happen in camp that you don’t always understand what’s on a player’s mind – particularly guys that think ‘Am I close? Am I not close?’ I just think you have honest conversations with them, and let them know, ‘Hey, here’s how you were evaluated in camp. Here are the things you can improve on and we expect you to improve on, and here’s what the standard is and the expectation is going forward,’ and just be straight with them.
Q: Are there any guys you know will shift to IR?
A: There’s probably a few. But we’ll get to that here. (I’ll) have a better answer for you tomorrow or the next day.
Q: Who’s your kick returner right now?
A: We have some candidates.
Q: He’s on the roster, you think?
A: Yeah. I mean, we got a roster right now that, look, you’re always trying to upgrade regardless of if it’s right after cuts or September, October. But we have confidence in the guys that have done it for us.
Q: Do you put much stock into your preseason in which you guys threw a lot of passes, I think the most in the league, and had, gave up the fewest sacks in the league? Is that just the preseason thing, or does that mean anything to you?
A: I think anytime you’re competing, it means something. I’m not a big numbers guy as it is regardless of it’s the regular season or the preseason in terms of how many passes, how many runs. The most important thing is try to do the things you need to win and execute at a high level.
Q: When you and Joe get together and you start talking waivers tomorrow and then other guys you may want to bring in later in the week, because you’re so close to the regular season and you do have some spots that you need to have guys contributing, do you have to strike a balance between maybe guys you’re familiar with, guys who might know your system from previous spots? Or is it just ‘Let’s get whatever talented guys we can bring in here and just accelerate the curve?’
A: Try to get the best guys you can get to help improve the team, and then it’s the coaches’ job and our job to get them acclimated to how we do things here and the system of how we do things. Again, when you’re getting ready to play in the regular season, whether it’s this point in time, or you pick up somebody later in the year, there’s been plenty of times when we acquired a player and as a position coach, I’m up with this guy for three, four days in a row just going through stuff. Again, the stuff you’re putting in this camp looks like this, and as you get to the regular season it boils down for us each week based on the opponent that we’re playing and the things they have to learn while trying to catch them up with some of the bigger things that go along with it.
Q: So, it’s different if you bring in a guy first week of August, he’s got to learn everything, versus a guy you’re bringing in now who might have a much smaller – ?
A: Smaller menu, yeah. And then you’re continually meeting with him and teaching him how we do things both on and off the field – the expectations along with the entire package. But when you’re getting ready to play the regular season, it’s usually a condensed package based on the opponent that you’re playing.
Q: Is there any other guys other than (Guard) Shane (Lemieux) that won’t play Week 1 for sure right now?
A: I’ll get that to you here in the next couple days.
Q: Is (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Kafka) going to be your play caller, safe to assume?
A: We’re still working through that. But again, I’ll tell you, I’ve said this before, I was pleased with really the whole offensive staff and how they approached the preseason and how Mike did things.
Q: Do you expect (Wide Receiver) Darius Slayton to be on your Week 1 roster?
A: Yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see where we’re at right now. We had a good conversation with Darius just like (the earlier question) about expectation role. He’s done a good job, and we’re excited to have him.
Q: Did you talk to him today even though you didn’t cut him?
A: Yeah, we talk to all our players.
Q: I mean individually.
A: Yeah. This day right here, and again, they’re private conversations. But what I think is important for me is to get some of the decision makers – that’s myself, Joe, coordinator, position coach, special teams coordinator – and meet with individual players that are on our roster and go through those things that (we) talked about (earlier) so there’s clear expectations. There’s strong alignment in the room with the decision makers and the players. And if there’s any questions they have – they’re all private conversations that we have – but I think that’s good for communication purposes with your guys on your team.
Q: How would you characterize the summer that Slayton’s had so far?
A: He’s done a good job. He had that little injury that he’s fighting through. But right before that injury for that week, again the Patriot week, like he was doing a good job at practice where you could see his speed and did a good job with us.
Q: You look at how at how fluid this 24, 48 hours is, you talk to all of these guys, I mean some of these guys probably won’t be here. So, how do you approach those conversations with guys that aren’t safe?
A: Just open and honest. And the guys that are on our team, we’re excited about. And where their role is and what they do with it is going to be up to them leading into the regular season games, and you just shoot them straight. ‘Here’s what you did in camp. Here’s some of the things we can be better at. Here’s some of the things we can be better at as a coaching staff. And here’s what we expect in terms of our standard going forward.’
Q: What do you say to guys like – I mean (Wide Receiver) Alex Bachman and Davis come to mind – when you see what they put on the field in the preseason. What do you say to them when you have to make a decision like that? What do you put into it?
A: I’ll just keep those conversations private between myself and the players. Every conversation is a little different. I’d say they’re all difficult when you’re talking to the players.
Q: (Inside Linebacker Micah) McFadden, is he hurt? Were his X-rays negative?
A: He should be good.