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Transcript: Tight End Darren Waller

Eric from BBI : Admin : 8/8/2023 3:35 pm
Tight End Darren Waller

Q. Do you sense things obviously getting more competitive and maybe rougher and slowing down a little bit? You are not running as freely in a practice like this as opposed to back in New Jersey?

A: Yeah, I mean it's a lot more physical out here. A lot more things to take into count, somebody is going to come and put a forearm in your ribs when you run over the middle of the field even though it's just a 7-on-7. Just getting more acclimated to game-like situations and knowing that it's a physical game at the end of the day. It's not always going to be 7-on-7 and people tagging off on you. It's a good acclimation.

Q. Do you find it went well as far as the two teams were in sync in what they both wanted?

A: Yeah, guys play so physical it's tough to get that perfect blend. Some guys are going to maybe go over the line a little bit, hit somebody a little too hard or try to get you to stay up off the ground but guys are trying to make plays so you understand that but I feel like for the most part guys have a mutual respect and want guys to be able to get to the regular season and be healthy.

Q. What do you want to get out of this individually for yourself?

A: This camp or this practice?

Q. Just these joint practices this week.

A: Just repetitions. Going against another team, the way that they disguise coverages is like a mini way to game plan for a couple days, see how they change coverages, what fronts they are in, adjustments you have to make at the line of scrimmage, post snap. Things like that, just getting those game reps in so when it comes to the season when you've got to adjust on the fly, it doesn't feel new to you. This is something that is one of the most valuable parts of training camp because practice, you can simulate game situations, but this is really like a game-like environment, getting another team out there, new bodies. It's an exciting time and it just challenges everything you have done so far.

Q. Do you like that, at the end of red zone when their sideline is chirping a lot. Does that kind of feel more game like?

A: Yeah, it's really competitive. It doesn't get more competitive than this. It'll be competitive on Friday for sure, but you know this is the first taste that each of us had of a new opponent and you want to put your best out there. You want to have confidence and some swagger when you do it, so you've got to love football.

Q. Now that we've been watching practice with pads and everything else, how have you fit in so seemingly seamlessly to all of this?

A: I just try to come in and not really make a lot of noise, but just try to be excellent at my craft. Some days, it looks like you're taking steps forward, some days look like a step back, but really, it's something that you can learn the most valuable lessons on those days. Really, I just try to come in and do my job as well as possible, be an example for younger guys because I am one of the older guys on the team now, and just keep that into account. Just the little details of my day, no matter what it may be, just do it with intentionality.

Q. Do you feel there's still a lot of moving parts? You're new, (wide receiver) Parris (Campbell) is new, (wide receiver) Jalin (Hyatt) is a rookie. Does it feel like that, where you guys are still a work in progress?

A: Absolutely. This is our first day for the three people that you just named in a new offense against an opponent who does things differently than our defense has done all training camp. So, there's always going to be a learning process, including throughout the whole season. We're not going to be masters at the system. We just continue to grow, continue to gain reps and over time, it starts to sink in and become more second nature. You start to do things without thinking. So yeah, we're definitely learning right now but I feel like there's a lot of progress that's been made, too.

Q. There was a lot of talk about your injury history when you came here. It seems like, maybe one practice you were held back, but you've been practicing a lot. How do you feel? What's the plan going forward workload wise?

A: Yeah, I've felt great this training camp. Just getting more reps, the reps increased today as we get into more of a game-like environment. So, yeah, just continuing to go. I was telling some of the coaches I don't think I've gone through a full training camp just being out there with the guys without one, like, a turf toe, or diving for a catch and spraining my AC joint. Just being here for a full training camp throughout the whole process has been fun and it feels good to feel fresh and just get out and just be able to run every day and do everything you're asked to do.

Q. What happened with your finger the other day?

A: I popped it out of place a little bit, popped it back in. You know, football stuff.

Q. Lots of hype based around this Lions team and kind of a rebuilt secondary. What kind of a measuring stick does this defense feel like for you guys just through one practice here?

A: They've got a lot of talented guys like (defensive lineman Aidan) Hutchinson up front, trying to pass protect against him, he's real freaky up front. You've got (cornerback Emmanuel) Moseley and (cornerback Cam) Sutton, guys I've played against that have been solid corners. (Defensive back C.J.) Gardner-Johnson is a really good player; I've played against him as well. So, a lot of good guys. Athletic linebackers. They're going to be a good team. They've got a great roster, they've got a lot of confidence, and it shows.
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