Head Coach Brian Daboll
December 5, 2023
Q: Where are you at with the quarterback position? (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) or (quarterback) Tommy (DeVito) this week?
A: Tommy will start. Tyrod, obviously, we brought him up to see where he is by the end of the week. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go. If he is, he’ll be the backup and Tommy will be the starter.
Q: What went into that decision?
A: I think Tommy’s done a good job; he’s improved in each of the games he’s played. I thought he played well the last two games, made good decisions, was accurate with the football and earned the right to play.
Q: Do you feel he gives you the best chance to win?
A: Yeah, every decision we make is for that reason.
Q: Could you ever envision that two or three weeks ago when Tommy was kind of emergency put into the game and that he would earn the starting job even when Tyrod was healthy?
A: Yeah, didn’t think that far down the road. Just take it one day at a time and trying to get ready for the game that he was getting ready to play but I think he’s done some good things the least couple games and I think he’s earned it.
Q: Did Tyrod practice in full yesterday?
A: We did a walkthrough yesterday. So, we’ll do stuff today, kind of like a Wednesday and he should practice all the way.
Q: Proving he’s healthy doesn’t change the decision for Monday?
A: No, Tommy will start.
Q: What went into making the decision now as opposed to kind of letting it play out?
A: I just thought Tommy earned it. Went back, watched all the tape, thought he played two games, good games, and obviously, things we can all work on. I thought he earned the right to play.
Q: In terms of what Tommy has been able to do on the field now, what would you consider his best quality and why he gives you that opportunity?
A: I just think he’s played well. He’s made good decisions, he’s thrown the ball where he’s supposed to throw the ball, he’s been accurate with the ball. He had two good games, we won both games and he played well.
Q: Does any of the juice that some of guys say he brought, would that be a hard thing for you to take off the field?
A: He’s on it, so again I’ve got a lot of respect for both of those guys, really all the guys who have been in that room. He’s playing because he’s earned it.
Q: What was Tyrod’s – I’m sure you’ve shared that with him already, how did he respond?
A: He’s a pro. Those conversations are never easy, regardless of who it is, but he’s a pro whose been in this league a long time. Had a good conversation with him and it was about what you would expect. He’s a true professional.
Q: I think you’ve told us that you’ve worked with Tommy for an extended period of time now, making sure he was up to speed and that kind of thing. Did he prove to you to be what we would call a quick study? Did he impress you at that level?
A: Again, he was in a different spot as the third quarterback. Not getting a ton of reps, a lot of one-on-ones. Obviously, you’re devoting a ton of time to the guys that are either the starter or the backup. He’s obviously in the meetings with (Quarterbacks Coach) Shea (Tierney) and (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka), so it’s been a process. He’s still a young player, we’ve still got a lot to learn, but he’s done a good job with his opportunities.
Q: Where are you at health wise? Anybody that won’t practice today?
A: There’s two guys that won’t practice. (Defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II), he won’t practice. He’s getting better. Hopefully we’ll have him out here soon. “Soon” might be this week and (tackle) Evan (Neal), he still will not practice. Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape.
Q: What about the guys on IR? You activated Tyrod, what about (tight end Darren) Waller, (tackle Matt) Peart and (running back Gary) Brightwell?
A: I’d say Waller’s making progress. As of today, not ready yet. The other guys are doing well.
Q: Making progress as in he has a shot this week to come back or are you still looking further down the line?
A: Too early right now, but I would still probably lean more “no” than “yes”, but don’t want to rule it out.
Q: Do you have a third quarterback? Is (quarterback Matt) Barkley back on the practice squad?
A: Not yet. Not yet.
Q: You’re hoping to bring him back, I assume?
A: We are, yep.
Q: Has to clear waivers?
Q: There are reports that Syracuse is targeting (Running Backs Coach) Jeff Nixon as their OC. Is that something you would give your blessing for him to pursue?
A: Yeah, absolutely. I worked with Jeff back in 2011, got a lot of respect for him and his family. Something we’ve talked about. He hasn’t made that decision yet but an opportunity to be a coordinator, whether it’s in the pros or Division I-A, those are hard to come by, so we’ll see what he decides with that but certainly, yeah.
Q: Would you expect him to finish out the season?
A: I would. Yeah.
Q: How do you go about testing whether a quarterback like Tyrod can take contact? Because obviously you don’t do that in practice.
A: That’s a great question. They cleared him, so that means that he can take it, but we’re not going to line up and hit him in the ribs or anything like that. He should be ready to go. Hopefully these next couple of days, he’s good to go.
Q: Based on what happened last year, everybody came back healthy from the bye week?
A: Everybody did. Yeah, yep.
Q: Did you have to give a message going into the bye? Or was that fresh enough in everyone’s mind?
A: You always mention it when you have a little bit of time off, you always mention it. Be as smart as you can be, so it’s good that everybody’s back.
Q: The timing of the bye week is when it is. You know how late it is. Maybe if it’s early in the season, you’re looking at your offense and saying, ‘we can do this, we can do this differently.’ Do you still come out of this bye week expecting to tweak some things offensively or is it just fix the things that you have not done well.
A: I mean, you do a lot of studying. You do that every week though. You’re always trying to fix the things that aren’t going as well, whether it’s technique, whether it’s the scheme, whether it's the decision, so we do that every week. You’ve got a little bit more time to do it over the bye week. Certainly, try to do everything that we can do to be more productive.
Q: Did the quarterback decision weigh on you at all?
A: I would just say that I have a lot of respect for both of those guys. Obviously, Tommy is a young player and particularly for Ty, I’ve got a ton of respect for him. He’s been in this league a long time. You have to make a decision, that’s the decision I ended up going with and again, Ty was a true pro about it.
Q: Is there a long-term element to this decision? Or is this purely about this game?
A: I’d just say let’s get ready to go this game and then we’ll, like we do every week, revisit things but Tommy’s going to be the starter.
Q: Did you watch the Packers-Chiefs game, and were you surprised by how well the Packers played?
A: Yeah, I watched it. I watched it on TV, then watched the coaches’ copy.
No. They’ve got good players. Got a lot of respect for (Packers Head Coach) Matt (LeFleur). He’s a heck of a coach. I think (Packers quarterback Jordan) Love has done a really good job of improving week to week. He's a very talented player. Really an ideal system. Relative to, go back all the way to, what, ‘92 or ’91, where (former Packers quarterback) Brett (Favre) is traded (by) Atlanta and plays for however many years, 17 there or 16, and had one losing season. Draft another guy in the first round who's a Hall of Famer, too. Got to sit a little while and watch him and then took over, and maybe get two or three, I don't know. So, 30 years, three guys.
I'd say he's accurate. He's got quick feet. He can throw the ball wherever it needs to. He seems like he's really in control of the system. I'd say the young skill guys are good players. (Packers wide receiver Romeo) Doubs is a good player, (Packers wide receiver Jayden) Reed from Michigan State, you see where (Packers wide receiver Christian) Watson is after that reverse he ran, (Packers tight end Luke) Musgrave I know is out… Good core, young nucleus, athletic, can get open, create separation. I think he's done a good job as you watch him throughout the season of improving at his craft, but he also has a lot of talent, too.
Q: Where do you think he’s progressed the most, I guess, the last couple of weeks for that to kind of come together?
A: I mean, I just think he's a heck of a player. Again, young, was able to kind of see how one of the greats have done it. He's just got really good feet, he's got good vision, he can make loose plays. He can run if he needs to, he can throw the ball vertical, he's looking to take a bunch of shots. You can see he's in full control of the system with the different signals and the checks that he makes. And then the guys around him are good players. They’ve got two good backs, we’ll see if one of them is back. Like I said, with the young receivers. So, I'd say he's in pretty good control of that system.
Q: Just as a philosophical question… The NFL doesn't work that way where guys get to sit at the quarterback position. Do you still like that philosophy if it's possible?
A: Well, it’s been a good philosophy for them. So, I think every team is different. Every situation is different. They’ve had three, really, quarterbacks since ‘92, or was it ’91 that they traded Favre, Atlanta? ’92 or ’91, what year was it? Somewhere, ’92 or ’91. So, yeah, Coach Holmgren (former Packers head coach Mike Holmgren) with Favre and then (quarterback) Aaron (Rodgers) was there, and he did an unbelievable job. Two of the best to ever do it.
I'd say Jordan is just—he's a heck of a player. That's why he was selected high. You can tell he's learned a lot from the coaching staff. I think, again, Coach LeFleur runs a good system, puts him in good spots, but you can see he's learned a lot from the people that have been in front of him, and now he's letting his talent shine.
Q: Are you a believer that a good quarterback can come from anywhere? Usually, they're drafted really high. Are you a believer that pedigree is important, but only so important?
A: Yeah, I'd say every situation is different. I've been around guys that have been drafted in the second round, first round, sixth round, free agents, third round. So, I think it's first up to the individual player and how they develop, but it's also about the cohesiveness, the scheme and the people around him. It takes a lot of people to develop a quarterback, but it all starts with that player in particular, whoever that player may be.