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Transcript: Head Coach Brian Daboll

Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/28/2023 7:01 pm
Head Coach Brian Daboll

July 28, 2023

Q: Can I ask you about linebacker Bobby Okereke? Since he’s come into the locker room and everything like that, sometimes guys are a little reluctant to be leaders, speak up and what not. What have you noticed with him in terms of his leadership and how he has taken in the locker room with the younger guys?

A: He’s been a true pro. I think he has fit in really well, not just with the defense, but with the offensive guys as well. Been a good leader for us in a short time with OTA’s. Usually, when you play that position, the middle linebacker position, you have some leadership traits about you and he certainly does.

Q: I know you have a lot of football you have to get to in the next couple of weeks. When the heat and the elements are like today, what kind of precautions do you take to keep an eye out on how guys are feeling?

A: We met on it last week, just getting ready for this week. So, I think the training staff, nutritionist, sports science, we have tried to get them to a spot these last few days where they are doing what we need them to do to try to stay as healthy as they can with all this heat. That’s training camp. We will keep an eye on everybody and make sure we have the cooling tents and all these different drinks to help them stay hydrated. I’m sure they will be sweating a lot out there today.

Q: When they’re actually on the field it’s just a matter of if you don’t feel right, speak up?

A: Absolutely. We put in water breaks. Two or three of them at times and take the helmets off during walk-through, just to let the heat get out a little bit. Try to manage them the best we can.

Q: Is there a temperature where it’s like okay or is it humidity, air quality?

A: Those guys do a great job, the training staff. They do a fantastic job. The health and safety of our players is always first and foremost. We will go out there and try to get a good day in.

Q: What led to evening practices? What is the purpose of these?

A: That is something we have talked about in these meetings. We’re going to do that a few times. Plus, it gives them a little bit more recovery time, kind of on the third day. And it’s a different feel for the day. So, you know, there will be times during the season we have different schedules. I thought that that was a good thing to do.

Q: Guard Shane Lemieux worked on center in the offseason, kinda on his own, he said. Then he came to you guys and said, ‘I want to try to do this now.’ What do you guys think of that?

A: It’s good. You try to create as much value as you can for yourself as a player. You know, not just Shane, but there’s a few other guys who are playing all three interior positions and the more you can do the more you can do in this business.

Q: People get excited when you draft a rookie high, especially at the receiver position. Is there a learning curve? And does someone like Jalin (Hyatt) really need to show you that they are ready to play at a higher level?

A: Regardless of the position, when you’re a rookie, there’s always an adjustment period. I coached receivers early in my career for six years or somewhat. Drafted quite a bit of receivers. They’re all different, just like every player. Every position is different. So, the job of the coaching staff is, again, to get these guys as prepared as we can. To get them to buy into the program and do the right thing. Certainly, a lot of stuff to learn. That’s why we are here to try and help them the best we can. He’s got to put the work in, too.

Q: A lot of your rookies got hurt last year during camp. I think you said you would look into the on-boarding program. Have you made any decisions?

A: No, that is something we talk about as well. It’s just, these rookies, it’s tough, not to make an excuse for any of them. It’s just, it is what it is. They go right from their season, right to the combine, right to working out for 40-yard dashes and vertical jumps and all of those type of things. They have their pro days, but don’t really get a full off-season of training in. Then, they get drafted or they sign as a free agent, then they’re right into the program. So, usually from year one to year two, the second-year players, it’s a little bit of a different feel for those guys. But it’s the same every year. It’s been the same every year since I’ve been in the league, and we will do the best we can.

Q: How do you see wide receiver Jalin Hyatt fitting in this offense with all the things he can do?

A: It’s going to be up to him to go out there and show what he can do. We have had two days. We had an OTA, but we’ve had two days. He has a lot of work ahead of him, just like everybody on the team does. Everybody will earn their role, whatever that may be.

Q: What makes the offense he ran at Tennessee so different than this one?

A: I wouldn’t say it’s really that different. I think Josh (Heupel) does a fantastic job there. He runs a lot of good football plays. He executed well, Jalen did. Everybody runs a different offense, it’s not exactly the same. Josh has had a pretty dynamic offense ever since he has coached.

Q: Any change in defensive tackle Rakeem (Nunez-Roches)’s status?

A: No, he’s making progress. He’s not going to do anything today. But hopefully he is getting close.

Q: What did you think of that collision with cornerback Rodarius Williams and wide receiver David Sills yesterday?

A: Yeah, I mean, it’s football. Like we talked about the other day, you try your best to avoid contact, particularly without pads on. Even when you do have the pads on, you want to take care of the guys. There will always be some of that.

Q: Any injuries coming out of yesterday or guys you are dialing back?

A: Yeah, I’d say Geo (Gervarrius Owens) will do walk-throughs, just got a little bruise that’s still pretty stiff. Then, Cole (Beasley) got kneed in the quad. So, we will give him a rest day.

Q: Any of the PUP guys coming off or close to coming off?

A: I’d say they are all at different areas. Nothing today. Getting closer, though.

Q: Anyone in particular getting closer?

A: All of them.

Q: With tight end Darren Waller, I know it’s early, how has what you thought he would be coming in here stacked up to the real thing?

A: You’ve watched tape, he’s a good football player. He’s been productive in this league and the biggest thing is getting him acclimated to our program. You always have a great amount of respect for people who have produced in this league, and he certainly has. There has been good give and take. You know, just trying to string them together. But he’s been a good player in this league for a while and he’s done a nice job since he’s been here.

Q: Is it tough to get receivers to buy into, like, when you have Parris Campbell in the slot, when you have him lined up at running back. What are those conversations like about this is how we are going to use you? Have you done it before? Are you comfortable with it?

A: Yeah, we have a bunch of really good guys that are team guys. They are usually willing to try anything. So, the guys that we think have position flexibility and can handle it mentally, we mix and match them. I think they have fun with it a little bit. Parris is a great example of that. An ultimate team guy that has been a really good addition for us. Happy we have him.

Q: You always talk about focusing on today. What have you learned about the todays you have had so far through spring and the early stages of this?

A: Today, it’s really hot. I don’t go too far back, you know that. Try to go out there and have a good one today.

Q: You seem like the type of coach that wants to tap into the guys, emotionally and mentally, where they are at. How big of a role is that when guys are going through ups and downs, whether it is early or knowing when that happens to be on it?

A: I think it’s big. I think, again, I wasn’t always as empathetic as I try to be right now. This is a tough time of the year for a lot of players. There’s only so many roster spots that are available. You really have to try to just focus on today. For young players, sometimes that’s hard. So, again, getting to know them. Giving them opportunity and rolling guys, that’s our job as a coaching staff. But, you can start drowning a little bit if you start thinking too far ahead. You try your best as a coach to just keep it day-by-day, focus on the things that you can control. And when you get opportunities, make the most of them.

Q: Are there times where negative plays almost deserve more attention from you guys than positive plays this time of year heading toward the season?

A: I think all plays are teaching plays in training camp, whether they’re on a play that wasn’t executed properly or a really good play. I think as a coach you have to be able to teach off the ones that, you know, that you don’t go the way you want them to go. Then, also give them praise when things are going well. I would say it’s a delicate balance. But I think the players know the coaches are really trying to help them improve their craft. They buy in.

Q: Going back to Darren (Waller) a little bit. He talked today about the route freedom he has had. How have you seen him respond to that?

A: He’s a great pro. We have good conversations. I would say he has really fit in with the group. I think guys have a lot of respect for him, not just for the player that he’s been in this league, but the person he is, some of the stuff he’s been through. He’s a really mature, young, not young man, I guess he is young still. He’s been a really great teammate. Really happy we have him.

Re: more on freedom in running routes

A: We run certain routes and if the guys can do them, are able to read coverages and make adjustments, we’ll try to use them any way we can.
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