Head Coach Brian Daboll
BRIAN DABOLL: Had meetings last night with these rookies. There's really kind of four groups here, if you will. There are the drafted guys, the UDFAs that we signed, the tryout players, which I'd say there's a considerable amount of them, and then some of our players who are able to participate, Trenton (Thompson), (Leonard) Johnson, (Makai) Polk, (Jashaun) Corbin and (Kalil Pimpleton) Pimp. We'll have two days here of work. I wouldn't say extensive work, just kind of get their feet wet. But it was good to get the players in here yesterday and get to meet a bunch of new guys. Again, you never know what you find out here. Ryder (Anderson) was a tryout guy last year and made our roster. (Tomon) Fox was a UDFA who ended up being on a roster and playing some plays. It's good to kind of get to know these guys and for them to get to know us. I'd say that's really the biggest thing is to get to know the player and let them know how we do things. The physical stuff, that'll all come here in the next few weeks. It's good to get Dexter (Lawrence II) done. Happy he's back. Good player for us, good leader, good person. Congratulations to Dexter, and happy for our organization, as well.
Q. Did you talk to Dex at all once you guys finalized stuff yesterday?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I've talked to Dex. I've talked to him before, I talked to him yesterday and talked to him today. Obviously, he's excited and we're happy to have him.
Q. How much did sort of moving him to nose tackle make this possible in your mind or take him to that next level?
BRIAN DABOLL: I don't know, he's just a good player, and he fits what we do. He's a good person. He's a good leader. Again, congratulations to Dexter. I know it's big news, particularly around here. Congratulate him, and he'll be in later today. I really want to try to focus on these rookies and this camp as much as we can.
Q. When you have the quarterbacks come in, obviously it's a crash course. How do you get those guys ready today to do what you need them to do?
BRIAN DABOLL: So, you meet a little bit last night, and they've been meeting all morning. There's going to be mistakes. We had a walk-through. There was plenty of them. You don't install very many plays I would say, just because for some of these tryout guys, too, you want to be able to evaluate what they can do physically relative to running around, cutting, things like that, and sometimes you give them too much, they're thinking, and you don't see the true talent of the player.
I'd say we'll take it slow. We don't have, again, very many plays in for those guys to go out there and be able to try to execute, which again, they've never thrown with the players they're throwing with. There's a lot that goes into it. That's why we're going to ease into these next two days here.
Q. You talked about not going to probably do a ton. How does a guy like Ryder, what does a tryout do to make you say we want this guy on our roster?
BRIAN DABOLL: Again, it starts in the meeting room in terms of how they're picking things up and the things they ask, and then you do individual drills like you would go out there and do a workout for a prospective college guy or in the fieldhouse when we bring in other free agents we're looking at. For those big guys, it is tough, no question about it. For the skill guys, it's a little bit better to evaluate, but again, you're just putting them through drills like you do before the draft, and then you go back and take a look at some of their tape and evaluate. It's hard. It's hard to have 50-some tryout guys. It's hard to make. We don't have a lot of spots available, so they've got to kind of stand out in the classroom, on the practice field, how they do things, and if you see something that catches your eye, you do a little bit more homework on them.
Q. Speaking of quarterbacks, what did you see in Tommy DeVito to bring him in here?
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, he came to our camp, the local day. He spun the ball pretty good, was productive. I know he was at Syracuse, too. Was good in the meetings that we had with him. I know he's a local legend around here, but he's got a long way to go, a lot to learn, but good young man to work with.
Q. Do you remember when Ryder was first on your radar last year?
BRIAN DABOLL: No, I just remember him at the camp as a big, long player and kind of stood out to the defensive staff and worked his way in there and brought him on. Again, it's that one in however many, 50 or whatever it is, so it's hard to do, no question about it. That's why we bring in a lot of players for this type of camp. You can do it in different ways. You can just bring a couple of draft picks and UDFAs. We like to bring a fair amount of people in and maybe find one or two guys that you think can help you and work with them.
Q. What are you looking to get out of your third quarterback? You obviously have two guys that are pretty well established. What are you looking for from that role this year?
BRIAN DABOLL: That same thing, we have three quarterbacks here, so the same thing that we look for in all our quarterbacks, can they process our information, can they operate the offense, and do they have a skill set that we'd like to work with.
Q. I'm asking because I know sometimes teams use their third quarterback, they're basically drawing up scouting reports, working in the classroom. How much does that factor into the equation for these guys? Are you looking strictly at how do they spin it, and do they do it right now or are we looking for what can they turn into in the future here?
BRIAN DABOLL: Well, I think with any young player, quarterback, running back, receiver, you're looking at their skill set and how you think they can help your football team, whether that's a developmental prospect -- the other stuff, the scouting reports and all that stuff, we have plenty of young assistants, and I know that's something that Davis (Webb) did, but it's probably a unique situation. This is more let's look at their ability, let's see how they process things, let's see how they learn our stuff and see if we think they can develop because that's the ultimate goal of a coach is to help a player develop into what we think they can be.
Q. With a guy like Jalin, he's a drafted guy. He doesn't have to go out and prove he's fast; you know he's fast. How do you start with a rookie receiver like that getting him refined in routes and things like that?
BRIAN DABOLL: I'd just say it's a process. It's a process for some of the new receivers that we just added. It's probably a little bit of a bigger mountain for the younger players because there's so much to learn. I've said this last year, too, they where things are in the building, how we do things, meetings, how we do things in the training room, and then they have all this information that they have to try to listen to and then go out there and be able to process and use their skill set. It's a day-by-day process and I don't have grand expectations for any of these young players because they have such a long way to go, regardless of where they were drafted. Just come in, learn how we do things, compete, and if you do that, you beat somebody out then you beat somebody out.
Q. Do you look for something like a punt returner in these camps, and do you have anybody in mind right now on your full roster and here that you think maybe that's a role they could fill?
BRIAN DABOLL: I mean, we'll see. Again, it's May. It's a long time. We've got a lot of guys on the roster that can field punts. We'll see how that goes.
Q. How do you balance players who are -- they're learning, they're going to make mistakes, but if the mistakes repeat themselves, I've got to think that's frustrating. How do you kind of balance from popping off they guy versus teaching the guy and coaching him along?
BRIAN DABOLL: That's a great question. Sometimes I pop off, sometimes I teach. You're a teacher at heart. Again, there's a bunch of things that come into this first camp. You really want to set a precedent of how your organization wants to be run and what your expectations are in the classroom, on the field. But I understand that these guys just came from -- some from far, a lot of trips, some didn't have much of an opportunity in terms of getting looked at in the draft and are here for tryouts, so there's probably a lot of anxiety, a lot of nervousness that are running through these guys' minds right now. I really appreciate that about these young players. Going back to Alabama and being around them, then coming back to the league, I think that helped me. There's a certain level of expectation, but again, it's the first day out here. I know there's going to be a lot of mistakes made. It's the first day out here for 2023 season for all the coaches, too. We've been in phase 2, but this is really our first practice. We've got to improve, as well. That all starts with me.
We'll all make mistakes. We'll learn from them. I'm not going to change how I am. For mistakes that are dumb mistakes, then I usually get upset. But there's going to be a bunch of them made today and tomorrow, a bunch of them made with the new guys we just signed. We've got a long way to go, just keep grinding it out, getting better day-by-day.
Q. One of the new guys, the UDFAs who's gotten a lot of attention is (Bryce) Ford-Wheaton. Curious what attracted you guys to him.
BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, thought he did a good job at West Virginia. He came in on one of the pre-draft visits. He's a big-body guy who's got pretty good numbers in terms of explosiveness and running. He really was a pleasure to meet. Did a good job in the pre-draft process of learning some of the stuff when he talked to Coach (Mike) Groh. So just another guy to throw in the mix and let him compete it out.
Q. Where does a rookie center start on a day like today?
BRIAN DABOLL: At center. Just kidding. The process?
BRIAN DABOLL: All the guys are in there with Bobby (Johnson) and (Chris Smith) Smitty, and there's a lot to pick up, but again, I think that what we try to do, I'm not saying it's right or wrong, what we try to do is limit really what we put in the first couple days just because, again, there's so much for these guys to learn every year, and I want them to just go out there and feel comfortable and try to play fast. John Michael (Schmitz) is a smart guy, but there's so many things just even from the walk-through that we just had that your mind is moving a million miles a minute. Just like we do with all our guys, we have a process in place of how we try to develop them in the classroom, on the field and that'll take some time.
Q. During the course of your career, you've dealt with quarterbacks a lot. Is there somebody you can remember who was at this stage right here who went on to really surprise you what they became in their career?
BRIAN DABOLL: Off the top of my head, I don't think I can give you one. Are you just talking about as a rookie or an undrafted rookie?
Q. Maybe you did it somewhere else, but you saw them in something like this for the first time and he went on to -- the Brock Purdy stories --
BRIAN DABOLL: Well, not really. Most of the places I've been, it's a couple days, don't make too much out of it. Really get to know them, them get to know us. Again, just the first step of them being here in these doors, and like I said, probably a lot of nerves, but I also want those guys to go out there and be themselves and have some fun and get something out of these next two days.