Head Coach Brian Daboll
September 21, 2022
Daboll: How’s everybody doing? Big week ahead. A lot of preparation to do. Need a good week of practice. As you guys, I think, know, the schedule’s a little bit different. So today will be a normal Wednesday. Tomorrow will be a normal Thursday. Friday will be a walkthrough and meetings much like it was the first week of the season. Then Saturday will be like a Friday. Sunday will be like a Saturday. So, if you can get all that down. First and second down day for us today. A lot of work to do against a really good football team, division opponent, at home. We’re going to need our best week here.
Q: Every game is a big game, but you’ve got the (Dallas) Cowboys on national tv Monday night. Does that add to the excitement?
A: Playing on Monday night is always special, but the things that help you win a game on Sunday at one o’clock are the things that help you win a game on Monday. And I think that’s where our focus needs to be is there’s plenty of things that we needed to correct from Week 2, from Week 1. You’re always evaluating where you’re at as a team, whether it’s after a loss, after a win. You’re doing research on scheduling, making adjustments. You never want to come out and say, ‘Well, we weren’t prepared in that regard.’ We’re working hard to keep improving as an organization all the way around. We look forward to playing on Monday night and trying to build off on some of the things we did well and improve on the things we haven’t done well.
Q: You were not here for (tackle) Andrew Thomas’ first two years. You inherited him in his third year. What have you seen from him when you first got him, when you looked at his film? Did you work on him maybe in Buffalo in some way? How has he progressed in the short time you’ve been here?
A: He’s a good player. He’s very talented. But I think playing offensive line in the National Football League is tough, particularly playing tackle. You’re going against some dominant edge rushers usually. The speed of the game is quicker, even though he played in the SEC at the highest level. I’d say that experience helps. You’re going to go through some growing pains. I’m certain that he did. We all do. I think that his mindset is that he’s a very consistent, dependable person. And that kind of translates to the field.
Q: Do you like that part of him? I don’t know if you want 53 (players) like him, or maybe you do. I don’t know. Is that good for an offensive tackle, that kind of demeanor?
A: I think that it’s important that he’s just himself. There’s some guys that are very consistent. There’s some guys that are extremely high energy like Haddy (outside linebacker Jihad Ward). And that’s okay. I think as long as they’re true to themselves and buy into what we’re doing, compete, consistency, dependability, and he’s done that since I’ve been here. And I think that he’s a good leader, too, in the room. I think he’s opening up his personality a little bit. He’s not dancing as much as Haddy out at practice, but he’s been true to himself, which has helped our offensive football. It’s helped our entire team. I think that’s why he was elected captain, too.
Q: During the spring, I think you encouraged (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) to ‘let it rip’. I think that was the term you used. After two games, how do you evaluate where he is in doing that?
A: Like I said after the game, I think he’s made really good decisions. There’s always plays that we can be better at. But his decision-making process – where he’s gone with the football – he’s made the right decision, I’d say, a lot. And that helps. The job of the quarterback – I’ve been part of teams where we were 35 of 40 for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, and I’ve been part of teams where we’re 17 of 21, whatever it is. His job is to help the offense move the football, whatever that is. It starts with decision-making at quarterback. He touches the ball on every play. And he’s done a good job of that. We’re going to continue to build that. But I’m pleased with where he’s at.
Q: (Running back) Saquon (Barkley) has been pretty impressive through the first two weeks. But how important is it for the offense to find another legitimate – a real legitimate game changer outside of Saquon? And his performance in the first two weeks, has it helped finding that player? Because obviously he’s going to demand a lot of attention.
A: Look, he’s an exceptional player, I would say, in this league. We have confidence in all the guys that are here. That’s why they’re here. Sometimes there’s power in numbers, too. Split things up, make it a competition. Maybe there’s 30 reps a piece for a bunch of guys and just try to have defenses defend the whole field, play good complementary football on the offensive side of it. Do what you’re supposed do. Be where you’re supposed to be, and then again, it goes back to (the previous) question with Daniel: Make the right decision. I think all our guys are working hard. I have confidence in the guys we have. We need to have a good week here.
Q: What have you learned about Daniel? It’s one thing for you to go through the spring and even the preseason with him, but the game I’m sure is a little different. What have you learned about him from that experience so far?
A: He’s much like Andrew. He’s very steady. And I’m a fairly emotional guy. And it’s a good mix because I can get pretty high strung at times, and he’s very, very consistent. I think he responds to a variety of different coaching techniques if you will. But he sees things and we sit there and we talk. We have good communication on the sideline. That’s not something that I’ve had a lot of experience with him, so I’m learning that as we go. (He’ll say), ‘Here’s why I did this,’ or I might say, ‘What did you see here?’ (He’ll explain), ‘This guy was dropping underneath. It was really zone. They disguised it as man, so I didn’t even worry about this other (defensive) back.’ Whatever it may be. He’s a good communicator in that regard, and he’s got a little spunk to him, too. I know everybody doesn’t see it, but he has that as well.
Q: You talk about the different ways he responds to coaching; what does he respond to well?
A: There hasn’t been much that I haven’t done with him that he hasn’t responded to. I think that’s the mark of a good pro. You’re always trying to learn your players, and I’ve gotten on him. I’ve loved him up. What a teacher is supposed to do is teach them, ‘Hey. This is what you did. First of all, tell me why you do it.’ Because it’s a tough position to play. Everybody can see it from the outside, but unless you’re standing back there in the pocket, which I’m not either, you see a lot of different things. They happen fast. (I’ll say), ‘Let’s talk about what you saw. Here’s what I saw. Let’s make a correction.’ I’d say that’s usually the way it works. If there’s a really poor decision, maybe that’s not as much what you see versus what I saw.
Q: Were you worried at the start of the season? You’ve relied on a lot of young players about this team’s depth. And have you been surprised? And how important is that in this league to be deep because you know guys are going to start dropping?
A: Again, the guys that we keep, they are the ones that earn it. So, everybody’s got to play at some point. And we’ve all coached guys that are rookies or first year players. As long as they’re out here competing, doing their job, then you feel comfortable putting them in the game. A lot like we talk about with Andrew, there’s certain things you have to learn. And the only way to learn is to play. And it may not be great the first week or the second week, but you’re trying to continually build your roster, build the depth of your roster, improve the confidence of the young players, get the young players reps. And you’re not just going to throw them out there just to say, ‘Hey I threw a rookie out here.’ They have to earn that role, but I do think that playing helps. And then when you put them out there if they’ve earned it, I think that builds their confidence, too.
Q: Have some of them surprised you?
A: I wouldn’t say surprised. I’d just say we had a good group. Again, I go back to (general manager) Joe (Schoen), to our process of really evaluating the players throughout the draft process, starting with the scouts and then the coaching meetings and all the combine meetings and all the extra meetings we had, the Zooms. We tried to select the right player but also the right person with high character that has that tough, smart, dependable mentality. You usually can work with those kind of guys that have good talent but also have those intangibles that are important to us as an organization.
Q: What have you observed about (Cowboys linebacker) Micah Parsons?
A: (Laughs). He’s a problem. He’s a dynamic football player. And he can play multiple spots. He does. You’ll see him at linebacker; you’ll see him at defensive end. He has rare pass-rush ability. We’re going to have to have a good plan for him. He’s fun to watch when you’re not getting ready to play him. I’ll give him that compliment. He just does things that are pretty impressive on the football field.
Q: Do they move him all over on each side?
A: I’ve seen him play in a variety of spots. He plays in the stack behind a loaded-up box. He’ll play on one –. We have to know obviously where he’s at. But our tackles are going to have to do a good job, too. You can’t chip him or ... You can’t do it on every single play. I think that’s the beauty of where they move him around. I think (Dallas defensive coordinator Dan) Coach Quinn does a great job with his scheme. He’s a dynamic player.
Q: Do you expect those four guys on defense – (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), (defensive lineman) Leonard (Williams), (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) and (cornerback) Aaron Robinson – do you expect those guys to play on Monday?
A: I would say – what am I going to say?
Q: Day-to-day (Laughs).
A: Day-to-day. We’ll see. I’ll just start with Thibs (Thibodeaux) and Azeez. They’re getting close. They’re going to take some team reps today. So, I think they took a little bit last week, but they’re going to take more this week. They’re getting close, so we’ll see with them. I’d say they’re still day-to-day even though they’re on the close side. Leo’s rehabbing. Again, Leo’s a quick healer. He tells me he’s a quick healer. So, I’m not going to put it past Leo to be ready to go. Would it shock me either way? No. But he'll stay in; he’ll get treatment today during practice, so you guys know. I that’s the best thing for him. And then ARob (Aaron Robinson) I think is really a wildcard. He’s getting better; he’s walking around. But I’d say I won’t know that, probably any of us won’t until the end of the week.
Q: What about (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson)?
A: Getting better. Close. For this week, I’m not sure.
Q: With this offense, does it make a difference in your mind who has the most catches?
Q: Do you just want to see the ball move around to different people?
A: I just want to try to score, so it could be 12 catches, five catches, no catches. I think everybody just has to do their job so that (we can score). Offensive plays is really – I know we always say – execution. It really is execution. There’s designed spots, different blocks. Defensively, if you make a mistake, you’re out a gap, you can fall back and maybe make a play. Really to have an offense be consistent, which we’re working on, we all have to be on the same page from the start all the way through the finish. And that’s usually when they work the best.
Q: I know you don’t like talking about (the) Buffalo (Bills), but when you talk about your offense there, it seemed like it went to another level when you guys added (Bills wide receiver Stefon) Diggs, who was like that true real number one out there. So, does this scheme elevate even more with...?
A: I wouldn’t just say with Buffalo. He’s a special player just like, I’ll cut it back to Dallas now, his brother (Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs). His brother is a special player. I’ve known his brother since I was at (the University of) Alabama. They’re both very talented players. Again, we’re on our first year. We’re working on details. We’re working on doing things. It’s not going to be right every time. But the guys are putting in a lot of work. They have been. I’m very confident in what they’ve been doing – their preparation, our process. It’s a week-by-week. We just keep trying to get a little bit better each week.
Q: Within the last week, you talked a lot about the emotion of the stadium for home games. How much more does emotion play into a rivalry game on primetime? They got the whiteout playing for the Dallas game and stuff. Is there an extra part of that that kind of pushes things along?
A: I would just say again the fan support’s been great. It was awesome last week. Looking forward to it this week. I think the most important thing is trying to do our job and play well, and you can definitely feed off of the energy that they’re providing when we make a good play or we make a good stop. I mean, it was hard to hear out there for (the) Carolina (Panthers), I know. And that’s like, you say the twelfth man. That’s like the twelfth man. It’s hard to operate offensive football when it’s that loud. So, obviously everybody gets juiced up a little bit after good plays. I think the crowd really was great, and we’ll do our best to help them be great again by playing well.