Head Coach Brian Daboll
August 7, 2023
Q: Is there an update on tackle Evan Neal? Will he travel?
A: All the players will travel; Evan is still in concussion protocol. We’ll take (tackle) Marcus McKethan and (defensive lineman) A’Shawn (Robinson) off PUP today so they’ll be out here. We’re not going to do a ton out here, limited practice with the travel time, move around a little bit, have some 7-on-7, some individual work and then head to Detroit.
Q: Are there any injuries coming out of Saturday?
A: Nacho (Rakeem Nuñez-Roches) had a little groin, so we’ll see where he’s at.
Q: Azeez Ojulari is alright?
A: Yeah, everybody’s practicing today that can practice other than (defensive lineman) Ryder (Anderson) and Nacho. And then Evan, obviously.
Q: What are the qualities that drew you to wide receiver Parris Campbell? How much of an impact do you think he can have in this offense?
A: I think time will tell. He’s a good person who was a productive college player, did a lot of work on him in college and then he was out there at Indy, thought he had a good skill set. Liked him in college, liked him at Indy, so good person, he’s done a nice job for us.
Q: This is the first that we’ve been in the field house since the new field was put down. I don’t know if you guys had any in the spring.
A: Maybe one, two. The fields are soaked so.
Q: I was just wondering if the players have been in here.
A: Yeah, they’ve been in here.
Q: How do they feel about the new field?
A: They said nice, softer, no issues. Knock on wood.
Q: Upgrading defensive tackle was an offseason emphasis. Was it something particular about A’Shawn Robinson that made you target him?
A: I’d say he has good experience, he’s a big man, he’s got good length, does a nice job versus the running game and again, another good guy that we thought would fit into our system well.
Q: Every practice it’s like we’ve seen wide receiver Jalin Hyatt making a big play on the receiving end. What do you make of that to this point?
A: It’s good. He’s made plays when it’s come his way. Still got a long way to go, but he’s had a productive few days here.
Q: How much faster is he coming along? Or is he coming along at normal pace?
A: I think everybody’s different. I don’t really have expectations when rookies come in because I’ve been doing this for quite some time, I’ve seen a variety of things. Just keep your head down and keep grinding. There’s a lot of things that’s going to come up, whether it’s a mistake, a mental error – you hear one thing and run a different thing and then when you have opportunities, make the plays, but I’d say there’s a lot of room for growth.
Q: When cornerback Tre Hawkins III played well you gave him more first team reps. Jalin Hyatt has done some first team reps as well.
A: I’d say all the stuff that we’ve given these guys is based on what they’ve earned so that’s what we’re doing.
Q: Wide receiver Darius Slayton said that it’s difficult for rookie receivers to pick up. Is that true? What’s challenging about it?
A: It’s on such an individual basis. There’s people that pick it up faster, people that it’s a little bit slow for and then it hits and then they start going. I think everybody’s different based on how they learn, where they come from. I think the biggest thing for us is to not be instant evaluators when – ‘aw, this guy can’t get it.’ I mean, you put a lot of research and time into trying to bring people in that you think can learn the material and things like that. I think everybody’s a little bit different so it’s times that you’ve got to pull it back, there’s time when you can add more. I’ve had young rookies pick it up like this (snaps his fingers), I’ve had ones that were struggling at the start and then started to pick it up. It’s just case by case.
Q: What’s your joint practice philosophy for the starters? It seems like the popular approach is to get them the work in the practices and then not play them in the game.
A: We’ll get to that down the road, the coaching staff. I haven’t talked to the coaching staff about it. I went through some schedules today, but we’ll end up talking about that like we do on Fridays. When you ask on Friday’s about what everybody’s doing. I’m doing that the day before.
Q: Do you see the joint practices as beneficial?
A: Yeah, absolutely.
Q: For what? Because it’s controlled?
A: Again, the stuff that I’ve talked about a few times. You’re going against a different team. You get to see different matchups, you get to see different schemes, you’ve been going against the same players for 10 days or 10 practices. So if you do it the right way, I think it’s a beneficial thing for you.
Q: We saw you on Saturday get pretty mad about some of those dead ball penalties, the false starts, delay of game. How much does that make you mad?
A: Can’t have those. Can’t have them. I’m not going to pat them on the back for having a delay of game.
Q: No, I know that, but I guess my point is sometimes early in camp things can be a little ragged.
A: Look, there’s going to be that, but you try to put as much pressure on everybody as you can and you have a level of expectation of going out there and trying to eliminate those pre-snap things or post-snap things. They’re going to happen no matter what you do, but you do your best to try to make sure they don’t.
Q: Which matchups are you most excited about for the joint practice?
A: We’ll see. Really all of them. It’s just a different team, so you’re going against different people.
Q: We’ve talked about Jalin Hyatt getting deep in camp, but on the other side of the coin, the safeties are giving up the big plays. Is that a concern?
A: I wouldn’t just put it on one position. I mean, a lot of them were good plays by Jalin or good routes so again, you’re in practice. He’s making the plays that come his way, but it’s a collective thing. You can’t do full speed or hit the quarterback or anything like that, so his job is to go out there, get open and catch the ball. That’s what he’s been doing, I’d say for the most part.
Q: What do you think what makes running back Eric Gray a good possible returner and running back?
A: I think he’s got good short space quickness, good balance, good vision. He’s got some good moves in the open field, he’s a one-cut guy. A young guy I think has some talent to work with and now we’ve got to try to develop it. We’ll give him ample opportunity in the preseason to return these balls.
Q: Is that where you really need to evaluate a returner? In the preseason games?
A: Yeah, it’s live. You’d like it to be as windy as possible, obviously, it won’t be this week but yeah, you try to put him in as many different situations as you can. That’s a lonely spot back there.
Q: You haven’t had a designated returner. Some teams have guys that basically that is their role. Is that a belief thing or the way it works out? Would you want to have every guy being a position player?
A: No, look, if you had someone that you think is an elite returner, maybe you find a spot for him. I think every roster is different, every decision is different based on who you have and who’s competing out. It really doesn’t matter one way or not to me, you try to find the best player on your team for each position, including returner. Whether it’s a defensive tackle, an offensive guard or receiver. Our job as a coaching staff is to let those guys compete and put the best guy out there that we think is the guy who is going to help us the most.
Q: Has defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence II done any returning?
A: He probably could. That’s a good last (question).