Head Coach Brian Daboll
November 18, 2022
Daboll: Normal Friday. (Tight end Daniel) Belly (Bellinger) won’t play. I would say (offensive tackle) Evan (Neal) is, not optimistic about that one, but he’ll do some stuff today, so we’ll see where he’s at. Really everybody else, we’ll make our decision here after practice. Kind of all trending the right way, even (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) I’d say, but we’ve got to see him out here at practice.
Q: So (offensive lineman Joshua) Ezeudu’s neck injury’s not anything serious?
A: No, I think he’ll be good to go. We’ll go through practice.
Q: What have you seen so far from (guard) Shane Lemieux? How close do you think he is at this point?
A: I think he’s had a good week this week. I think it was better than last week’s. I think if we need him to be ready to go, he’ll be ready to go.
Q: With Evan, was it just a matter to get him to the point on the practice field or was this a situation where you had hoped that he’d be ready?
A: I think we’re just kind of easing back into it. Want to make sure we do right by the player, and I think he’s gotten better each day. We’ll see. I don’t want to just say definitely “no” until we see him out there today, but I would say I’m not too optimistic on this game.
Q: How much has Evan been able to do in practice?
A: He’s done some movement things and moved around, and I think (that’s) kind of the next step for him coming back. But he’s made strides each day.
Q: How hard is it going to be for a guy like Evan, if he doesn’t play this week, to get back next week?
A: We’re going to do a fair amount of walk throughs. I think we’ll just take it day by day and see where he is. If he doesn’t play this week, we’ll see where he is the next day.
Q: It’s supposed to be cold and windy on Sunday. I assume during a game you adapt to circumstances as the weather unfolds but in terms of game planning, do you think about stuff like that?
A: Yeah, you definitely have to have a weather plan, particularly if you live up in the Northeast. We can think it’s one thing one minute and all of the sudden there’s 25 mile hour winds. I think you always have to have a weather plan in place and be prepared for those types of things. If the conditions warrant a change or adjustment, then that’s what you do.
Q: With (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II) is it just one of those things where you guys want to kind of mange his workload over the coming weeks?
A: Yeah, he’s played a lot of football. I think whether it was Dex or really any of the guys that have played a lot, I think we talk about that at the beginning of the week. Each day of practice, kind of see where we’re at and just manage the load for these guys that have performed at a high level and played a lot of football.
Q: Will giving (running back) Saquon (Barkley) such a heavy workload last week deter you from doing the same thing again?
Q: Because it worked?
A: Again, it goes back to how the game is flowing and what you want to do, but if it comes down to it and he needs 50 carries for us to win, then give him 50 carries.
Q: Do you have a conversation with him before a game like last week’s or this week’s where maybe you say, ‘hey, this is going to be 35, 40 carries’?
A: No. I think as the game goes, you get a feel for it and what’s going to happen relative to play calls, how many times he’s touching the ball. I don’t think you can go into a game and say, “hey, you’re getting this many carries” or “you’re going to get this many passes.” I don’t think you can do it that way. I just think as the game goes, that’s how you call it and you do what you think you need to do to win.
Q: Will Wan’Dale get in at all today?
A: I don’t know. We’ll get him out there, we’ll see how practices. I’m optimistic about that one.
Q: Obviously there’s familiarity for you with (wide receiver) Isaiah Hodgins but skillset wise, what is it you like about him? What makes him a good fit here?
A: Very smart, he’s been in the system for quite some time. Obviously, we’ve changed a little bit of it but picked it right up. Has good hands, good teammate, got quickness, good size, so yeah, those things.
Q: I know you’ve preached to your players: we take it day by day, we’re worried about this week. But how much do you think they’ve realized that you’re now one game out of first place? That first spot in the NFC is right there in the range of outcomes.
A: I’m sure they realize it, but that’s not something… We don’t talk about it when we were 0-0, when we were in third place. Again, we’re at the halfway point or a little bit past the halfway point of a long race. I think you just keep on running, get ready for the next game, and play that game. The minute you start thinking about other things or what’s going to happen three weeks from now, it just doesn’t do anybody any good, particularly the team.
Q: If you’re in Week 16 or 17 and that’s the goal, do you then maybe bring that up to players? Or are you even against that at that point?
A: Ask me in Week 16 or 17.
Q: I assume you would love to be in that position in Week 17.
A: Of course.
Q: What makes (Lions wide receiver Amon-ra) St. Brown so effective?
A: Very instinctive. He has a good knack for getting open, he’s got quickness, really good hands, he’s smart. I went and watched him when he went to Mater Dei out in California. Productive player, productive in college, just a smart, instinctive receiver. He’s got a good knack. I think the quarterback has a lot of confidence in him. In any situation, too. ‘Got to have its’, third down, red zone, he’s done a good job.
Q: You go 60 minutes but you’re playing a team that puts up a lot of fourth quarter points but allows a lot of fourth quarter points as well. Does that conversation happen with your guys, that no matter what the situation, this fourth quarter could be wild?
A: We got our 60 minutes, most like every team right, play 60 minutes, don’t worry about the score. Obviously, we’ve been down some this year, we’ve come back, we’ve scored more points in the second half than we have the first, but every game is so different. Just focus on the next play and try to do things right from the get-go. I’m sure there will be quite a bit of adversity throughout this game like there normally is. This is a team that takes the ball away and can score a lot of points in a hurry.
Q: What is the conversation with a player, let’s just say (inside linebacker) Tae (Crowder) or (wide receiver) Richie James, who played a ton of snaps early in the year and then barely playing. How do you deal with that?
A: I think they all know from the get-go everybody’s important to the team and you’ve got to be mentally tough in this business, after a win, after a loss, whether you’re playing a little bit, playing a lot, then you’re not playing. I just think that we try to do what’s best for our team and those guys have been good teammates.
Q: Is (wide receiver Darius) Slayton’s trajectory from the summer until now and what he’s gone through, I’d imagine he’s one of those (guys) you can point to, to guys like that aren’t getting opportunities. What have you seen from him just off the field that has translated on the field?
A: It is tough. It’s tough for these young guys that go through some tough spells. It’s tough for everybody, everybody wants to play. You love as a coach to play everybody, but he wasn’t playing a lot early, he was inactive. He just kept a very positive attitude, attentive, knew what to do, was ready when his number was called and then he had some opportunities. He made the most of them and he’s earned the right to play and be a starter for us.