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Transcript: Head Coach Brian Daboll

Eric from BBI : Admin : 11/8/2023 3:28 pm
Head Coach Brian Daboll

November 8, 2023

Q: Who’s your quarterback this week?

A: We’ll have (quarterback Tommy) DeVito and (quarterback Matt) Barkley.

Q: In that order?

A: In that order.

Q: Where’s Barkley physically? I know he had the elbow injury in the summer.

A: He’s good. Working out and doing his cardio but he’s good physically.

Q: So, Tommy’s definitely your starter Sunday?

A: He is, yep.

Q: Why him? Why not Matt?

A: I mean, he’s been here for a long time. He has picked up our stuff so we’re going to go with DeVito here. Barks only been here for a week. There’s obviously nuances and things that he’s learning but he’ll be ready to go to back him up.

Q: An undrafted rookie making his way into your starting quarterback is really a pretty rare thing – the Bears had a guy do it but here, it never really happened. How surprised are you that it got to the point – how did you get to the point, with him, like how did he get himself into this situation?

A: Well, injuries. Start with that. The two guys that were ahead of him got injured and he was the third guy, so he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s prepared well, and he’s got an opportunity.

Q: How about (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari)?

A: Azeez. We’re going to open Azeez up so hopefully he’ll be ready to go this week.

Q: How different of a week is it for DeVito when he’s going to be getting the reps with the first team and not fighting for scraps?

A: Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s going to be a little different for him, obviously. He was up here early yesterday on the players off day, and I’d say we met for a while. He’s putting everything he has into it. He’s looking forward to the opportunity and he’ll be out there with the first group, we had a good walkthrough with him so he’s doing everything he can do to put himself in a good position to be ready to go.

Q: Do you have a message for your ballclub in terms of morale or spirit? Do you worry about any of that?

A: We have good conversations. Look, obviously, we’re not where we want to be, make no excuses about it. We have the right mindset. We’ll go out there and have a good week of practice, get ready to go. That’s what you do every week.

Q: You have had quarterbacks come in this year and play without taking any first team reps during the week; the Vikings just had that this past week. How different is it for the playcaller and to gameplan in a situation like that?

A: I’d say that when you’re working with a quarterback, developing a relationship with a quarterback, obviously, the more you practice. And again, DeVito hasn’t had a ton of reps per se. He has worked on the show team and backed up those guys and been in the meetings. I mean, that’s an important relationship in terms of getting a feel for what they like, them being able to communicate with you, you spend a lot of time with these quarterbacks. I know (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka does and (Quarterbacks Coach) Shea (Tierney) does. You’re always meeting with quarterbacks. Watching tape, talking about situations, so obviously he’s a young player right now and he’s trying to do everything that he can do to get himself ready to go.

Q: What have you learned about him this week?

A: I saw his outfit that he wore the other night (laughs). No, he’s a competitive young man, and again he’s handled himself the right way in terms of being a young player in a room with two veteran guys and has done everything we’ve asked him to do, so he’ll have his opportunity and he’s going to do everything he can do to make the most of it.

Q: With the lowest scoring team in the league, do you as a head coach have to have your antenna up to watch the offense and defense? You know how these things can go sometimes, to make sure (there is no finger pointing0?

A: Look, I don’t feel good about being there, obviously, but we have a good group of people who have a team-first mentality.

Q: You’ve been around a while. Can that fracture? Do you have to make sure it doesn't?

A: I think you lead the way you need to lead, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in our group of players in terms of men and how they respond to things and that’s just the nature of this business. Sometimes, it’s high, sometimes it’s low. Obviously, we want to be much better than we’ve been, but we have the right mindset.

Q: When you meet with your offensive coaches, and you have a quarterback making his first start and you’re facing a team that had 7 sacks and twelve pressures in your first game. Do you sit there and say, ‘We’ve got to protect this guy?’

A: Yeah, you always say that. Every team you play, but obviously this is a very good pass rush team, and you have to play the game the way you think you need to play it in terms of limiting some of those things, but again they’re a heck of a football team.

Q: How is (tackle) Evan Neal.

A: I’d say he’s not great. I’d put him in the week-to-week category. Not going to say he’s definitely not going to make it, but I’d say he’s probably more week-to-week than day-to-day.

Q: So, (cornerback) Adoree’ (Jackson), I assume, won’t practice today. Anybody else?

A: He won’t. Just Adoree’ and (running back) Deon Jackson, they’re both in the concussion protocol and then Evan, those three.

Q: Are there any logistics settled with where and when (quarterback) Daniel’s (Jones) surgery will be? And is he still in the building?

A: He’s in the building, but that’s to be determined.

Q: But Daniel is helping, I guess, with Tommy and –

A: Yeah, he was in the meetings today, but again, I’d say Tommy’s doing everything he can do. He’s spent extra time with Shea, extra time with Kafka. He was up here a while yesterday, early and late. I think he’s learned a lot, but there’s a lot to put in and communicate and try to get this thing exactly right for him.

Q. Did you see stuff from him in the second half that you think he can build on?

A: Sure. Again, he hasn’t played, obviously. He’s a young rookie in this league, but he definitely did some good things. This will be a challenging defense on the road, one of the better defenses in the league, with a lot of good players. I think the big thing for him is let’s just focus on the things that he needs to do, put together a plan that we think he can go out there and operate and execute. He’s going to do everything he can do.

Q. Did you look at any more experienced quarterbacks? You guys added (quarterback) Jacob Eason on the practice squad. Did you look at guys that have more experience?

A: Yeah, I'd say we had conversations about a lot of guys, but Jacob came in, he was with us one time for a quick stint before, had a good workout. Feel good about him.

Q: Is he here potentially to factor into this season, or is that a developmental idea, signing him?

A: I’d just say he’s here to help us right now with where we’re at with regards to that position.

Q. (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) talked the other day about even though in his rookie season they had kind of a similar first half, he talked about how important the back half of that season was for his development. Do you talk to your own young players about that, despite the way that this season is going?

A: Yeah, I think you’ve got to develop as the season goes on. It’s a long season for young players. We talk to them about that not just at the back half, in the beginning, in the middle, because it's a much different season than they're used to coming out of college.

Q. Matt Barkley has been in the league for awhile, you’ve spent time with him, but how do you gauge where a quarterback is when they come into the building relative to what they can do on game day?

A: I have some experience with Matt. Shea does as well. There's obviously some of the things that we do that are similar to what he's been used to. He's done this a long time. He's played on a lot of different teams. He's been through this part of the program, so he's a pro. He’s picking it up. If he happened to play, we’d do the things that we think Matt can do well.

Q. (Inside linebacker) Micah McFadden seems to have elevated the last three or four games. What are some of the reasons you attribute that to?

A: I said this earlier, I don't know when it was, early in the season, but he played pretty much all last year for the most part. Developed throughout the year, is smart, is fast, is instinctive, has good toughness. I think (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) coming in has really helped. I think Egs, John, Egs (Inside Linebackers Coach John Egorugwu) has done a great job with both those guys. He’s a good, young player. I’m happy we drafted him and he's really earning the things that he's getting. He’s been productive. He's got a nose for the football, can play sideline-to-sideline, makes some productive tackles. He's really developed the way you hope young players develop.

Q. Last time we talked to you, you’d just gotten back from Vegas. Did you have an opportunity to talk to (safety) Xavier McKinney? Obviously, he was frustrated and not happy.

A: Yeah, sure. Yeah, I talk to all those guys. I talk to all those guys.

Q: What do you mean by all those guys? The captains or are you talking about just all the players?

A: I talk to all the players.

Q. Obviously, he said stuff after the game that he wasn’t happy with something that went down. Did you feel the need to talk to him specifically about that?

A: Yeah, X and I had a conversation.

Q: How’d it go?

A: It went good.

Q: Did you have a conversation with Daniel about what his role is going to be in the building here, or not yet? Last year, (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) had an ACL and was very involved.

A: No. We’ll see when his surgery is going to be and all those type of things. I've talked to Daniel, again, I've said I feel for the guy more than the player. So, we'll see where it is after we get when the surgery’s coming and the rehab and all that type of things.

Q: Have you learned any more? Is it just the ACL?

A: Yeah, ACL.

Q: You mentioned DeVito. You could have gone elsewhere. You could have done something else at quarterback. Is there a value in having a guy now take over that's kind of been with this team from the spring? The idea of guys in the locker room know how he works, the respect for him. Do you sense that this team can kind of rally behind a guy like that that they've been with?

A: I think they’ve got a lot of respect for DeVits. He’s done everything we've asked him to do. I think he's done a great job on the look teams when he's out there. He’s done a great job giving the defense looks. He’s thrown the ball well in these periods and he works at it. So, I think there's a lot of respect.

But again, he's a young player. His focus is really let’s make sure I have the plays down that I want in, that we think is good versus this defense, let's make sure I can communicate in a huddle, let's take care of all the pre-snap stuff that you have to do as a quarterback before the play even starts. So, that gives all the other 10 guys a chance to be successful and focus on doing his job as good as he can do it.

Q: When you discussed possibly bringing in more experienced QBs, but decided against it, what was the reason for not doing that?

A: We like the two guys we’ve got right now, and we thought Eason did a good job.

Q: You don’t really call him ‘DeVits,’ do you?

A: Once in a while, or I wouldn’t have said it.
He should have to hold all future interviews  
thrunthrublue : 11/8/2023 9:13 pm : link
While on a treadmill.
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