Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: How's everybody doing? So, first of all, last day here of open practices. Really appreciate the fan support. Good attendance. I know it gives the guys juice. Good weather today. We're moving on from last week, so we're kind of done with last week. This is a fresh week. Have a lot to work on. We have two padded practices this week. One with shells. Good competitive periods. And just focus on getting better fundamentally and improve our techniques. And that's kind of where we're at.
Q: Can you update us on (Guard) Shane (Lemieux) and the other guys who were injured?
A: Shane won't be out there today. He probably won't be out there this week. We'll see. We'll kind of take it day-by-day. Who else?
Q: Who else is hurt? (Offensive Lineman) Jamil Douglas.
A: Jamil. He won't be out. These guys will be rehabbing and doing the stuff they can, but he won't be out either there to practice.
Q: Would you say with Shane it's not a serious, long-term thing? Is that fair to say?
A: What's long-term for you?
Q: Into the regular season.
A: We'll see. We'll see. He definitely, he did something, but we're day-by-day with these injuries, we'll see where he's at. I know the guy will rehab the best he can to get available for us.
Q: Still called a toe injury?
A: Yeah. It's something with his foot.
Q: How much preparation goes into a preseason game, or how much gameplanning actually happens that goes into a preseason game?
A: The last one, none. This one, probably not much either. I think really, you're trying to evaluate players, which is most important. You know, we got those 85 on Tuesday, then 80 the next Tuesday, then 53 the next Tuesday, so it's happening quick. But there's not a lot of game planning, and you're kind of running some core plays or plays you want to take a look at that you want to have guys run or run the route, run the blitz, run whatever it may be.
Q: Will you have (Guard) Josh (Ezeudu) go in for Shane?
A: He's working back through some stuff, too. So, you'll probably see (Guard Ben) Bredesen in there today a little bit.
Q: How's (Defensive Back Cor'Dale) Flott? Cor'Dale Flott?
A: Same. He'll be working back. We'll see where he's at by the end of the week. So, we had some guys that got a little big dinged up. I don't think anything real serious, but also trying to do right by the players to get them back as healthy as we can.
Q: Is the amount of injuries causing you to adjust at all what you would've done this week?
A: Not to this point. We were going to go three days in pads. But I think after talking to the sports science and trainers, we did adjust one of those days to a no padded practice. But every team goes through it every year. It's not much different than 15 years ago, 10 years ago, of teams I've been around. You're constantly doing that.
Q: You know the fans won't be here. It's technically a closed camp. Will you continue your schedule the same way…?
A: Yeah. We'll be the same with tweaks here or there. We're always adjusting and on our off days seeing if we can do things better, structure things different. But I've liked the pace of it, the timing. It's been good for the players.
Q: Are you expecting – are you hopeful that Josh can be ready for the game?
A: Tough to tell you right now. Probably questionable.
Q: What is it about (Offensive Line Coach) Bobby Johnson that you trusted him doing the job here?
A: I've been around him. I've worked with him for a few years. And I've seen how he operates. And I think he's creative in the run game. He's does a good job with the fundamentals. He relates well to the players. He's a good football coach. I think the players respect him, and I think he offers a lot to the offensive staff.
Q: One of the first moves you made when you guys got here was bringing (Running Back) Antonio (Williams) with you. What did you see from him there, and what have you seen from him this summer?
A: Consummate pro. I mean, he took advantage of his opportunities. The best play he probably had was on the kickoff on the second half. He went down there and tackled a guy for not much of a gain. He was excited about that. He's a guy that's constantly working to try to stick on a roster, try to stick around. His mindset's good. He's smart. There's good competition in that room.
Q: What do you see from (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay this summer? Because from our perspective – my perspective I'll only speak for myself – when you see him run, the separation hasn't really been there consistently. I'm curious what you see.
A: I think he's acclimated himself well in terms of what we're doing. Again, all receivers, they're different. Some are really shifty and quick. Some are big and physical. It's just a matter of when you have an opportunity to go out there and make plays, which he's made some of them, that you go ahead and make them. I've been pleased with how he's handled himself. He's been a pro, and he's competing everyday with those guys.
Q: In the preseason game, you were alright with the deep ball that (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) threw to him? You just wanted Daniel to kind of give him a chance to go make that play?
A: Yeah. There was a guy who buckled into Daniel's knees, too. So, I'm over on the sideline talking to Daniel like, 'Can we give the guy a chance?' And to Daniel's credit, I wish he would've, but he didn't say there was a guy sitting in his knee. His back leg was – it wasn't a great throwing posture.
Q: I'm just talking about, you're fine with the separation he gets on that play? Because that's what he did. You just want him to go up?
A: That's a big body receiver. You're going to go up and play like a big boy. And a quarterback's going to have to give you a chance, and it's going to be you and the defender. Kenny's stacked guys plenty of times here, but if he's not stacked or he's fighting one-on-one and you like the matchup with a smaller corner, go ahead and give it go him.
Q: When we talk about separation from a receiver, is there an ideal number of yards? And the second part of the question is, how much of that is based on timing? So, if you're expecting the receiver to have, I don't know, three yards of separation and the timing is off, does that affect it that much?
A: Let's just say in our league, it's hard to create. When it's man-to-man coverage, it's press man-to-man coverage, it's a little bit different in college where that goes into a whole other conversation of evaluating quarterbacks, receivers and trying to take off every man-to-man clip that's press relative to some of the softer zone or maybe there's just better players. Here, it's pretty tight usually. Obviously, there's some elite route runners that have great quickness, ability to get in and out of breaks. And even those, it's not like they're open by a ton. Again, different players get open different. I had a tight end that was a pretty good tight end – a big body guy that you just throw it up to him, and he makes plays when they're right next to him. And those guys are good to have. Each of them are different. Every receiver's different. Every skill guy's different, whether it's a back, a tight end. And you have to try to figure out, as a coaching staff, what their strengths are and let them try to go ahead and do it.
Q: On the third down play in the red zone, with Daniel throwing to Kenny, should (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) have chipped that blitzer on that opposite side, or no?
Q: It's not his job to do it?
Q: Are any of these guys who are out like (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams), (Inside Linebacker) Blake (Martinez), do any of them have an illness and not an injury?
A: No. They're all working back from something here. Some will be back sooner than others. And there's, oh. One guy that's going to be back today is (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari). So, he'll be out there today, which is a good thing.
Q: What about (Tight End) Ricky Seals-Jones? We haven't seen him. Is he?
Q: Like he's going to be back?
A: Yeah. At some point. Again, you guys know me; I'm not going to give a timetable. Whenever they can be back, they'll be back. They're working. They're rehabbing. They're in the training room quite a bit. And whatever they can do, we ask them to do. And when they're ready to go, we'll put them out there.
Q: Do you expect (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney on the field this week?
A: Probably not. Probably not. I think he'll be rehabbing still. He could towards the end of the week. But early in the week, we're not there yet.
Q: You talked about your rep chart, not depth chart, back in the spring. When you come out of the first preseason game, I know injuries are one thing. Do you elevate guys now going into week 2? Guys you want to see get more reps or more with the ones or twos?
A: I think what we try to do if people are doing a good job at practice and they're doing a good job in the meeting rooms and they deserve a chance to compete, we put them in there. I said it today, I think there's a lot of competition for a lot of spots. And there's only a few weeks left to go ahead and compete. So, we're going to give multiple people multiple chances that have earned it. I think that's important to create on your team where guys that maybe were – again, second, third, that's fine and dandy – but guys that were going out there and working really hard, were able to stay on the field, make plays, they're good in the classroom. If I was a player, I'd want an opportunity, too, to play. So, we're going to mix them. We've been mixing them up. That's why when you guys ask me about a second or third, we've been mixing them up. We're going to mix them up some more to create as much competition as we can.
Q: Does that extend in the game? Let's say you see a guy at a certain rep do something well. Do you say, 'I kind of want to keep him out there while he's kind of hot right now?'
A: Yeah. I think so. Again, I think what you owe the players is if they're out there doing the right thing and they're busting their tail and they're producing, and it may not just be a catch or you see a tackle, but doing the right thing when they're supposed to do it, and they're showing dependability and intelligence, I think you try to give them opportunity. That's where we're at. We're going to give as many people an opportunity to compete and show what they can do and figure out what's best for our team.
Outside Linebacker Azeez Ojulari
Q: How does it feel to be back out there?
A: It feels good to be back with the team doing what I do best – what I love to do, the game of football. It felt good to be back with the team working.
Q: What are your thoughts on the edge rushing group you guys have this year?
A: I feel like we've got a good group. Everybody likes to come in and compete every day. Come in, work hard, stay the course, keep the main thing the main thing. We try to push each other every single day. I feel like we're going to be good.
Q: Are you behind in your workload or anything like that?
A: I don't think so. I've been locked in since the jump. Even though I was on the side, I'm still locked in with the walk throughs, the play calls, the playbook and everything – the conditioning and everything. I'm still locked in. Just continue to get back into the flow of things with pads on and everything.
Q: What's your weight right now?
A: 254 or 255.
Q: Last year it was what, 245?
A: Last year it was 245, 249. Up and down.
Q: Why do you feel more comfortable at this weight?
A: I mean, I feel like it's not much of a difference to me to be honest. I'm still moving fast. Moving fluid and smooth. I feel good.
Q: How are you able to be so effective. I think it was 8.0 sacks last year as a rookie? When you look back at last season, what do you think?
A: I've put that in the past now. It's a new season. I'm trying to leave that in the past and just focus on what's in front of me day-by-day. Just keep grinding, trying to elevate and get better every day.
Q: What have you noticed about number five (Outside Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeux)?
A: I like the way that he works. He comes in every day and competes and works hard. Tries to push everyone. Just gets better every day. A head down guy, just coming in, trying to get better and compete.
Q: Can a guy like that help you on the other side?
A: Definitely, for sure – because we've got that same energy, same motor. We're definitely going to push each other and feed off of each other's energy and just get after people.
Q: There's been a lot of talk about having (Tackle Evan) Neal and (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas) as bookends on the offensive line. Can you and Kayvon be that on the defense do you think?
A: We are just going to get it done every day. We come in and compete. Do our job. Be where our feet are at. We are going to play hard no matter what. Dominate, try to dominate and just be us.
Q: What are your thoughts on your new defensive coordinator Wink (Martindale)?
A: I love him. He brings the energy every day. A competitive guy. He's got that swagger about him. He just loves the energy and loves competing. It's great playing for him.
Q: How do you see that swagger? What do you mean he's got that swagger about him? How so?
A: The way he comes in every day. He's just confident. He knows what he's doing. He knows what he's talking about, and you can see it in him every single day when he comes in the building.
Q: How hard was it to miss that time just to not be on the field with those guys? I know you got put on PUP right before camp.
A: You know, it was tough missing time. Any time you're missing time on the field it's like, 'dang.' It's what you do. You love the game, and you want to be out there. It's tough when you miss time, but it's God's plan. Taking it day-by-day trying to get back right. Get back to 100 percent.
Q: Were the guys happy to see you back out there today? What was the funniest thing or weirdest thing somebody said to welcome you?
A: Nothing crazy, you know. Just being back. I've been in red, so it's finally good to see me in white again. I feel good and happy to be back.
Q: Do you feel that the energy you guys have out there now is sort of what you had back at (The University of) Georgia?
A: Georgia's different. You know, the SEC. But we're in the league now so it's different. (Outside Linebacker Jihad Ward) Haddy's bringing the energy. Kayvon, it's just different. We feed off each other, and we're just ready to ball.
Q: Now that you're more experienced, how much better can you be than you were a year ago?
A: I'm just going to keep going, trying to work hard every day, trying to improve my game. Practice. What you do at practice turns out to what happens in a game. Just trying to lock in day-by-day. Just trying to improve my game day-by-day.
Q: Do you have goals for the season?
A: We just want to win it all. Just try to come in and compete; don't think about numbers. Just go game-by-game, make plays, do as you do to help the defense win, and help the team win.
Q: Do you think you're on track for Sunday or are you going to have to miss the game?
A: I don't know yet. I just leave that to the coaches. Go day-by-day and see what happens.
Q: So, they didn't make you carry helmets or anything like that?
A: (Laughs.) No, that was last year.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Andrew you just replaced (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari), you've gone up against him tell me what he brings to the table as a pass rusher?
A: Azeez first has freak athleticism, good get-off on the ball, and he has pretty good length and then his power at the point of attack. He's a good rusher, he mixes it up, so it makes it hard on tackles to figure out what he's doing.
Q: How do you see him and (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) being a duo together, how do you see that duo?
A: Definitely explosive, and not just those two. We've got a pretty good outside linebacker group right now. I'm excited to see what they do. It's still early in training camp, but we definitely have some guys who can make some plays.
Q: What do you take away from that first preseason game as an offensive line? When you guys went back and watched it, what do you come away with thinking?
A: For the first time, a new unit being together, not terrible, but a lot of things we've got to clean up. We didn't have that big of a sample size, so we have to be really efficient in the plays that you get. Just going back, working on the technique, and making sure we get it like coach wants it.
Q: As a group when everybody combined rushes for 177 yards and there's no big 70 or 80-yard run, is that a good sample?
A: That's definitely good. We want to be dominant in the run game and that definitely opens up the passing game. But like I said it's still some things on film that we want to clean up technique-wise, but theeffort and energy was high.
Q: Was it weird being out there today and not seeing (Offensive Guard) Shane (Lemieux)?
A: It was different, but it's training camp. Guys are up and down, it's just like the regular season and we just have to deal with it.
Q: Did you talk to him and say, "you coming back soon"?
A: I talked to Shane and checked on him. But I'm focused on getting better every day. He's going to do what the training staff tells him to do and we'll go from there.
Q: When do you think you'll get to a point with the ankle where you won't have to manage it as regularly?
A: I think in the NFL you're always going to be managing different things, it starts with rehab, prehab, and even when you're feeling your best, you're still in the training room getting work and making sure you're managing your body.
Q: Do you feel your best?
A: Yes, I feel good.
Q: How do you guys as players manage the preseason? Do you scout your opponent? Do you try to scout individual matchups? Or do you just go in there and just try to work on certain things individually as you go along?
A: During training camp were not really big on scouting the opponent, it's more focused on ourselves & our technique, and better understanding of our calls. When you're in the preseason, most defenses are pretty vanilla you know? They're not showing a lot of different blitz packages or stuff like that, so we're just focused on using our technique and being physical.
Q: When you talk about managing the ankle, do you mean both ankles or is it just the one you had the procedure on this offseason?
A: Well, with the question, I was talking about my whole body. Managing in the training room.
Q: So, you don't do anything specific for that injury, you're just managing your body as a whole.
A: Yeah, my body, the training staff gives you a prehab routine, and I try to follow that.