Head Coach Brian Daboll
August 1, 2023
Q: How do you handle the expectations of the first padded practice and the sense of protecting the players from themselves?
A: I think we’ve got to practice well with one another, stay off the ground but get our fundamental work in. There’s usually some excitement from the players but you have to do a good job of making sure (that) you don’t lose your technique (and) fundamentals. The energy is usually always good the first day of pads but we’ve got to make sure we’re doing things the right way.
Q: Are you an ‘everything starts up front’ kind of guy?
A: Yeah, you have to be strong up front on both sides and this is really the first true evaluation of the players. Knowing what to do and being able to do it without the pads on, but now, seeing the physical part of it is important and look forward to practice today.
Q: What’s your view on fights during practice?
A: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any – yeah, I don’t want to fight in practice. To me, it’s undisciplined, it’s 15-yard penalties. I understand that it’s a competitive situation but you can’t do it in the games so being able to maintain your composure and be disciplined, I think, is important. With that being said, I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a camp where there wasn’t one but certainly something that we don’t want to do.
Q: I know you don’t want to talk about last year, but how do you continue to maintain that mentality the team had as you go through training camp?
A: Well, we’re just getting ready to go today. We’ve got a long way to go here before we play some games in the regular season. I think that’s developed over time. The chemistry within a group, being able to execute under pressure when it counts the most, usually in the fourth quarter. So, those are things you constantly work on.
Q: Is there anyone coming back from injury?
A: Yeah, Ryan (Jones) will be back, (the) tight end, Shep (Sterling Shepard) will work today (and) everything else is status quo.
Q: Will Haddy be back today?
A: Haddy (Jihad Ward) won’t, no.
Q: Why’s that?
A: Haddy’s got a little thing, (we’re) just working through it.
Q: Has your personal philosophy changed of how you practice with pads over the course of your career?
A: No, we’ve got to do a good job of taking care of one another while also being able evaluate to the players and the players have got to have mutual respect for one another. It’s not like you want to have an offensive lineman go out there and clean the pocket when a guys rushing or if somebody jumps, you put them on the ground or tackling ball carriers when they’re not expecting to be tackled. Stay away from the quarterback. You know, work on your fundamentals the right way, your techniques. Obviously it’s always going to be more physical, particularly in between the lines.
Q: Have you planned on doing any live tackling this camp?
A: We’re not going to today.
Q: We saw Tre Hawkins III working with the first team yesterday. Why was that?
A: Well, I think he’s earned it. He had a couple of good days (so) we gave him an opportunity. We’ll try to do that with all the positions (and) every day’s an evaluation so if we think you’ve earned an opportunity to do it and that’s what we did. It’s his birthday by the way today.
Q: Adoree’ Jackson bumped into the slot on a couple of those plays. Do you see that being the case during the season?
A: We’ll see. That’s why we’re using all these combinations. It’ll be different. It’s been different throughout camp. We’ll just keep rotating them.
Q: So it’s a possibility?
A: Yeah, we’ll see. It’s the first day we did it – yesterday. We’ve got to keep practicing different combinations.
Q: Offensive Line Coach Bobby Johnson said he was really looking forward to seeing John Michael Schmitz when the pads came on. As you get into pads, are these big days for him?
A: Yeah, I mean I think they’re big days for everybody. This is really where the evaluation process, the physical evaluation process, happens for the offensive and defensive lines.
Q: Besides winning those one-on-one battles, what are you looking for in the battles between the offensive and defensive lines?
A: They each have different jobs, so protecting the quarterback inside out, keeping the depth and the width from the interior (and) getting movement in the running game. Then controlling the line of scrimmage, getting off blockers in the run game and affecting the quarterback. Again, you can only affect the quarterback so much because you want the guys to stay away from the quarterback in these types of practices rather you hit a thumb or get too close. But you’ve got a good feel when you watch the tape of guys who are executing their assignments and their responsibilities.
Q: John Michael Schmitz was working with the first team during the most recent practice. What does that mean?
A: I wouldn’t read into what day it is or what period it is, we’re going to rotate everybody. It could be a little different each day. It could be a little different each practice during the periods.
Q: When you’re switching guys around, do you let guys know early or is it on the fly during practice?
A: No, they know. Yeah, they know. They know there’s competition and their job is to go out there and perform their best in whatever role we ask them to do.
Q: What’s it like having Sterling Shepard out there again?
A: He provides a lot of energy. He’s a very good teammate. Obviously, he’s bounced back from a few injuries and I think all the guys are appreciative for him and what he does for the team.
Q: Darrelle Revis is going into the Hall of Fame this weekend. You coached against him in practices and games. What was it like game planning for him?
A: One of the best. You didn’t want to challenge him too often. He was usually pretty tight on our receivers. I was with him with we drafted him at New York (with the Jets) and I was with him at New England. Humble person. A really, really good player. You had to be careful throwing at him too much.
Q: How excited for you for Kayvon Thibodeaux coming into his second season?
A: A lot of those guys, whether is Kayvon or (Evan) Neal, or (Dane) Belton, I know he was injured – (Darrian) Beavers. You hope you make a good jump from year one to year two. Not just production wise but again, I’ve talked about this before, you come out in the draft and it’s not a typical offseason for a player so he’s had a whole offseason to work, improve physically, mentally, so (I’m) excited for him.
Q: You guys said that stopping the run is a priority. How do you go about doing that in practice?
A: We’ve worked on that since spring. (We) can’t do it as much physically but run fit drills, run blitzes, technique – it really takes everybody to stop the run. Chasing the football is something we worked on last year (and) is something that we need to improve (and) something we’ll work on this year.
Q: Evan Neal talked about his weight. How much improvement have you seen from him on the field?
A: Again, the first five (practices) without pads on, I think he’s done a good job. Again, it’s his second year in the system. I think things slow down a little bit for him. It’ll be a good few weeks here with the pads on.
Q: Have you seen him moving better and getting off quicker at the line of scrimmage?
A: Yeah, he’s done a nice job. We’ll see how it all translates here with the pads, but he’s had a good five days of practice.
Q: Do you know when you will go pads in the next block of practices?
A: I’d have to go back and look. That’s why we have tomorrow. Again, we just kind of reassess where we’re at. (We’ll) go out there today and we’ll handle it going forward.
Q: The NFL is going to allow a third quarterback on the roster. How are you going to do that this year? Are you just going to scout the league?
A: We’re always scouting the league, no matter what. I think (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and his staff do a great job and when we have to make those decisions, that’s when we’ll make them.
Oh, one other thing. Congratulations to the Staten Island girls flag football team. They were the Giants, they represented our organization. They won a tournament – the 32 invitational -- so we’ll recognize them but congratulations to their team. (They won the title) 14-13, I think, in overtime.