Head Coach Brian Daboll
September 16, 2022
Daboll: How’s everybody doing? On a Friday, had two good days, got to finish up strong. Anything else you guys need, I’d be glad to answer them for you.
Q: How do you think (Tackle) Evan Neal played individually for his first game in the NFL?
A: Just probably like everybody else, there was some good and things to improve on. He’s a dependable guy. He’s smart; he’s tough. He communicated well with his teammates up front. I thought it was a good start. Certainly, things to build off of.
Q: How hard is offensive tackle relative to the other positions? Obviously, quarterback I would assume is the hardest for a rookie, but how hard is offensive tackle for a rookie?
A: I think they’re all hard. Every position is hard. But again, he’s out there usually out there usually blocking a premier edge rusher for the most part. So, there’s a speed element to it that’s he’s got to get adjusted to just like all the rookies do. But I thought he did a good job.
Q: What’s going on with (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)? Obviously, he was added back to the injury report.
A: He was added back to the injury report. We’ll see where he’s at today. He practiced, participated in some team periods. But his hamstring tightened up, so that’s why he’s back on the injury report.
Q: So, he left in practice for the (injury)?
A: Well, he didn’t leave practice; he just didn’t participate in all the periods he would normally participate in. He practiced in some team periods. He tightened up, so he came out. And that’s why we listed him on the injury report.
Q: Is it an aggravation of what he had before?
A: I think it’s the same leg.
Q: What’s your sense on Sunday?
A: We’ll see. We’ll come out here today and see what he can do today and see where we’re at.
Q: Did you stop practice yesterday due to low energy?
A: No. I saw a report about that. I just brought everybody up; (I’m) not sure where that came from. But brought everybody up, told them we have an important day ahead of us. It was just individual periods. It wasn’t anything with the team. Again, there’s a standard here that we want to try to reach every day, whether it’s in the meeting room, whether it’s in practice. So, before we started the team periods, I just reaffirmed what our standard was. I thought we had a really good practice during all the team periods.
Q: With guys who are injured, if they’re cleared, they’re 100 percent? Or do you have a situation where they’re cleared, but you don’t want to put them in for like a full workload. I’m obviously talking about (Outside Linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux. Can he play but not maybe the full allotment?
A: I think that every guy that’s injured, we have to do a good job as a staff, starting with our medical and strength staff, of determining where that player is. And if they can do something that can help us as a team, yeah. We can have different plans for that particular player. How many reps or what package we put them in or what down we put them in, yeah, we talk about that.
Q: Where’s he at?
A: We’ll see today. He’s making progress. I think he’s improved each day, so this will be a good day to see where he’s at today.
Q: What do you need to see from him for him to be able to play on Sunday at this point?
A: I think that it’s a couple things. One, I think the player has to feel comfortable. I would never want to put a player out there that doesn’t feel like they can do their job at a high level and risk further injury. There’s always a chance of that regardless of if you’re injured or not. But then two, just we watch him move around, see how he runs, see how he changes direction, see how he does the things we need him to do for this game. That’s why we try to take it all the way (to the game). To the guys that they may play, they might not play, we try to take it all the way to the end to see if we can give them a chance to play.
Q: Having said that, do you sometimes have to protect the player from himself if he wants to get out there, but you don’t think it’s right or the staff doesn’t think it’s right for him to get out there?
A: Absolutely. There’s a lot of guys that I’ve been around in my career that just you need to pull back from them sometimes, guys that are healthy even. You need to pull back from them and pull back some of the load because they love to practice. They know that practice helps you get better; it helps the team. And there’s certain players throughout my career that we’ve done that with. We’re still getting a feel for all the guys here. This is our first real week. Last week was a little bit different with the extra couple days and first game of the season, so just in terms of how we practice. We need these guys out here to practice and improve as a football team.
Q: I have one more question on the two-point conversion. How much of that comes from –
A: Can I say we’re onto this week? (Laughs). I can say that.
Q: I guess going forward, too, the way you way coach, you say you’re going to coach aggressively. How much of that stems from the end of that Bills-Chiefs game and being left basically on the sideline helpless with overtime?
A: None of it, obviously. No. Each week, I spend a great deal of time with (Director of Football Data & Innovation) Ty (Siam) and (Offensive Assistant/Game Manager) Cade (Knox), and we go through tons of situations. Tons of situations: when to accept the penalty, when to decline it. There’s certain things that I don’t always agree with relative to numbers and things like that, but I think it’s important in the position that I’m in that I try to learn as much as I can and have good, valuable discussions but hopefully before it happens. We know there’s going to be certain things that pop up throughout a game that you have to make a quick decision on, but we spend a lot of time on a lot of different areas. And you try to be as prepared with your plan as you can, not just the schemes, but the decision-making processes of it. So, they’ll throw up a bunch of fourth downs (and say), ‘Hey. The numbers say we should go for it here.’ And I might say, ‘Well, I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do relative to –. How does the ball get to that spot of the field? Is it a fumbled punt that we get it? Do we want to go for a field goal and make sure we get points, or is it fourth-and-1?’ I mean those things come up all the time. I mean you saw it last night (with the Chargers-Chiefs game) – what was it? – fourth-and-inches at the goal line. And (Chiefs Head) Coach (Andy) Reid kicked the field goal; turned out to be the right decision. But as long as we’re prepared and we go through the process the right way and we do everything we can to get ready for a game, then the outcomes are the outcomes. But if you believe in what you’re doing and you prepare as hard as you can, I think that’s the most important thing. You’re not always going to get the results you want, but the preparation that leads into that is really, really important. If you’re not doing that, then you’re just flying in the wind there. And that’s not good coaching.
Q: On Kadarius – is it frustrating for you as a coach to see a guy, who you know could probably help you guys a little bit, just have these injuries?
A: No. I just feel for any player that gets injured, whatever it may be. Those guys are out here trying to compete, work as hard as they can. Everybody wants to be on the field, and I feel for the player more than anything.
Q: Is there more he can do to avoid the soft-tissue injuries?
A: I think he does everything we ask him to do, and we’ll see where he’s at. Maybe it’s just a tightened-up hamstring. Maybe it’s a little bit more. But he’s in there, he’s getting treatment, we’ll evaluate it today.
Q: How did you see him respond this week before the injury in meetings and in practice after kind of not playing too, too much in the opener?
A: I’ll say this: He’s been consistent since we’ve been here. Unfortunately, he’s had some injuries. In terms of how he prepares and goes through walk through, and sits with his teammates, how he was on the sideline. Look, I appreciate those guys that stay into the game when he only had seven reps. Again, where that goes this week, if he’s able to be out there, we’ll see.
Q: You said like five last week. Did anyone emerge there (at Aaron Robinson’s spot)?
A: We’re still working through that.