Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: How's everybody doing? Big week ahead. A lot of preparation to do. Need a good week of practice. As you guys, I think, know, the schedule's a little bit different. So today will be a normal Wednesday. Tomorrow will be a normal Thursday. Friday will be a walkthrough and meetings much like it was the first week of the season. Then Saturday will be like a Friday. Sunday will be like a Saturday. So, if you can get all that down. First and second down day for us today. A lot of work to do against a really good football team, division opponent, at home. We're going to need our best week here.
Q: Every game is a big game, but you've got the (Dallas) Cowboys on national tv Monday night. Does that add to the excitement?
A: Playing on Monday night is always special, but the things that help you win a game on Sunday at one o'clock are the things that help you win a game on Monday. And I think that's where our focus needs to be is there's plenty of things that we needed to correct from Week 2, from Week 1. You're always evaluating where you're at as a team, whether it's after a loss, after a win. You're doing research on scheduling, making adjustments. You never want to come out and say, 'Well, we weren't prepared in that regard.' We're working hard to keep improving as an organization all the way around. We look forward to playing on Monday night and trying to build off on some of the things we did well and improve on the things we haven't done well.
Q: You were not here for (tackle) Andrew Thomas' first two years. You inherited him in his third year. What have you seen from him when you first got him, when you looked at his film? Did you work on him maybe in Buffalo in some way? How has he progressed in the short time you've been here?
A: He's a good player. He's very talented. But I think playing offensive line in the National Football League is tough, particularly playing tackle. You're going against some dominant edge rushers usually. The speed of the game is quicker, even though he played in the SEC at the highest level. I'd say that experience helps. You're going to go through some growing pains. I'm certain that he did. We all do. I think that his mindset is that he's a very consistent, dependable person. And that kind of translates to the field.
Q: Do you like that part of him? I don't know if you want 53 (players) like him, or maybe you do. I don't know. Is that good for an offensive tackle, that kind of demeanor?
A: I think that it's important that he's just himself. There's some guys that are very consistent. There's some guys that are extremely high energy like Haddy (outside linebacker Jihad Ward). And that's okay. I think as long as they're true to themselves and buy into what we're doing, compete, consistency, dependability, and he's done that since I've been here. And I think that he's a good leader, too, in the room. I think he's opening up his personality a little bit. He's not dancing as much as Haddy out at practice, but he's been true to himself, which has helped our offensive football. It's helped our entire team. I think that's why he was elected captain, too.
Q: During the spring, I think you encouraged (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) to 'let it rip'. I think that was the term you used. After two games, how do you evaluate where he is in doing that?
A: Like I said after the game, I think he's made really good decisions. There's always plays that we can be better at. But his decision-making process – where he's gone with the football – he's made the right decision, I'd say, a lot. And that helps. The job of the quarterback – I've been part of teams where we were 35 of 40 for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, and I've been part of teams where we're 17 of 21, whatever it is. His job is to help the offense move the football, whatever that is. It starts with decision-making at quarterback. He touches the ball on every play. And he's done a good job of that. We're going to continue to build that. But I'm pleased with where he's at.
Q: (Running back) Saquon (Barkley) has been pretty impressive through the first two weeks. But how important is it for the offense to find another legitimate – a real legitimate game changer outside of Saquon? And his performance in the first two weeks, has it helped finding that player? Because obviously he's going to demand a lot of attention.
A: Look, he's an exceptional player, I would say, in this league. We have confidence in all the guys that are here. That's why they're here. Sometimes there's power in numbers, too. Split things up, make it a competition. Maybe there's 30 reps a piece for a bunch of guys and just try to have defenses defend the whole field, play good complementary football on the offensive side of it. Do what you're supposed do. Be where you're supposed to be, and then again, it goes back to (the previous) question with Daniel: Make the right decision. I think all our guys are working hard. I have confidence in the guys we have. We need to have a good week here.
Q: What have you learned about Daniel? It's one thing for you to go through the spring and even the preseason with him, but the game I'm sure is a little different. What have you learned about him from that experience so far?
A: He's much like Andrew. He's very steady. And I'm a fairly emotional guy. And it's a good mix because I can get pretty high strung at times, and he's very, very consistent. I think he responds to a variety of different coaching techniques if you will. But he sees things and we sit there and we talk. We have good communication on the sideline. That's not something that I've had a lot of experience with him, so I'm learning that as we go. (He'll say), 'Here's why I did this,' or I might say, 'What did you see here?' (He'll explain), 'This guy was dropping underneath. It was really zone. They disguised it as man, so I didn't even worry about this other (defensive) back.' Whatever it may be. He's a good communicator in that regard, and he's got a little spunk to him, too. I know everybody doesn't see it, but he has that as well.
Q: You talk about the different ways he responds to coaching; what does he respond to well?
A: There hasn't been much that I haven't done with him that he hasn't responded to. I think that's the mark of a good pro. You're always trying to learn your players, and I've gotten on him. I've loved him up. What a teacher is supposed to do is teach them, 'Hey. This is what you did. First of all, tell me why you do it.' Because it's a tough position to play. Everybody can see it from the outside, but unless you're standing back there in the pocket, which I'm not either, you see a lot of different things. They happen fast. (I'll say), 'Let's talk about what you saw. Here's what I saw. Let's make a correction.' I'd say that's usually the way it works. If there's a really poor decision, maybe that's not as much what you see versus what I saw.
Q: Were you worried at the start of the season? You've relied on a lot of young players about this team's depth. And have you been surprised? And how important is that in this league to be deep because you know guys are going to start dropping?
A: Again, the guys that we keep, they are the ones that earn it. So, everybody's got to play at some point. And we've all coached guys that are rookies or first year players. As long as they're out here competing, doing their job, then you feel comfortable putting them in the game. A lot like we talk about with Andrew, there's certain things you have to learn. And the only way to learn is to play. And it may not be great the first week or the second week, but you're trying to continually build your roster, build the depth of your roster, improve the confidence of the young players, get the young players reps. And you're not just going to throw them out there just to say, 'Hey I threw a rookie out here.' They have to earn that role, but I do think that playing helps. And then when you put them out there if they've earned it, I think that builds their confidence, too.
Q: Have some of them surprised you?
A: I wouldn't say surprised. I'd just say we had a good group. Again, I go back to (general manager) Joe (Schoen), to our process of really evaluating the players throughout the draft process, starting with the scouts and then the coaching meetings and all the combine meetings and all the extra meetings we had, the Zooms. We tried to select the right player but also the right person with high character that has that tough, smart, dependable mentality. You usually can work with those kind of guys that have good talent but also have those intangibles that are important to us as an organization.
Q: What have you observed about (Cowboys linebacker) Micah Parsons?
A: (Laughs). He's a problem. He's a dynamic football player. And he can play multiple spots. He does. You'll see him at linebacker; you'll see him at defensive end. He has rare pass-rush ability. We're going to have to have a good plan for him. He's fun to watch when you're not getting ready to play him. I'll give him that compliment. He just does things that are pretty impressive on the football field.
Q: Do they move him all over on each side?
A: I've seen him play in a variety of spots. He plays in the stack behind a loaded-up box. He'll play on one –. We have to know obviously where he's at. But our tackles are going to have to do a good job, too. You can't chip him or ... You can't do it on every single play. I think that's the beauty of where they move him around. I think (Dallas defensive coordinator Dan) Coach Quinn does a great job with his scheme. He's a dynamic player.
Q: Do you expect those four guys on defense – (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), (defensive lineman) Leonard (Williams), (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) and (cornerback) Aaron Robinson – do you expect those guys to play on Monday?
A: I would say – what am I going to say?
Q: Day-to-day (Laughs).
A: Day-to-day. We'll see. I'll just start with Thibs (Thibodeaux) and Azeez. They're getting close. They're going to take some team reps today. So, I think they took a little bit last week, but they're going to take more this week. They're getting close, so we'll see with them. I'd say they're still day-to-day even though they're on the close side. Leo's rehabbing. Again, Leo's a quick healer. He tells me he's a quick healer. So, I'm not going to put it past Leo to be ready to go. Would it shock me either way? No. But he'll stay in; he'll get treatment today during practice, so you guys know. I that's the best thing for him. And then ARob (Aaron Robinson) I think is really a wildcard. He's getting better; he's walking around. But I'd say I won't know that, probably any of us won't until the end of the week.
Q: What about (wide receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson)?
A: Getting better. Close. For this week, I'm not sure.
Q: With this offense, does it make a difference in your mind who has the most catches?
Q: Do you just want to see the ball move around to different people?
A: I just want to try to score, so it could be 12 catches, five catches, no catches. I think everybody just has to do their job so that (we can score). Offensive plays is really – I know we always say – execution. It really is execution. There's designed spots, different blocks. Defensively, if you make a mistake, you're out a gap, you can fall back and maybe make a play. Really to have an offense be consistent, which we're working on, we all have to be on the same page from the start all the way through the finish. And that's usually when they work the best.
Q: I know you don't like talking about (the) Buffalo (Bills), but when you talk about your offense there, it seemed like it went to another level when you guys added (Bills wide receiver Stefon) Diggs, who was like that true real number one out there. So, does this scheme elevate even more with...?
A: I wouldn't just say with Buffalo. He's a special player just like, I'll cut it back to Dallas now, his brother (Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs). His brother is a special player. I've known his brother since I was at (the University of) Alabama. They're both very talented players. Again, we're on our first year. We're working on details. We're working on doing things. It's not going to be right every time. But the guys are putting in a lot of work. They have been. I'm very confident in what they've been doing – their preparation, our process. It's a week-by-week. We just keep trying to get a little bit better each week.
Q: Within the last week, you talked a lot about the emotion of the stadium for home games. How much more does emotion play into a rivalry game on primetime? They got the whiteout playing for the Dallas game and stuff. Is there an extra part of that that kind of pushes things along?
A: I would just say again the fan support's been great. It was awesome last week. Looking forward to it this week. I think the most important thing is trying to do our job and play well, and you can definitely feed off of the energy that they're providing when we make a good play or we make a good stop. I mean, it was hard to hear out there for (the) Carolina (Panthers), I know. And that's like, you say the twelfth man. That's like the twelfth man. It's hard to operate offensive football when it's that loud. So, obviously everybody gets juiced up a little bit after good plays. I think the crowd really was great, and we'll do our best to help them be great again by playing well.
Quarterback Daniel Jones
Q: (Head Coach Brian) Daboll described you as very steady and he said he's more emotional and it works well with you guys having to click. How does manifest itself? He can be more emotional, he said you kind of take things as they come.
A: Yeah, I think that's certainly his personality and I think we've had good communication the whole time through practice and then the games as well. That's his personality but I think the communication has always been there. I think it's gone well.
Q: Do you like that? Would you rather a little more even-keeled or do you like that up and down?
A: I've had coaches more that way and I've had coaches differently, it's just a personality thing. It's not good or bad, it's just the way it is. I think it's gone well, and our communication has been great so far.
Q: I think if there's anything surprising after the first few games its (Wide Receiver) Richie James with 10 catches. How does he become your number one target?
A: He's played well for us. He had a great training camp and he showed up for us throughout these first couple of weeks. He's got a good feel for space, he's got a good feel for getting open in zones and making plays after the catch. We've got a lot of guys who can do that, we've got a lot of guys who can make plays for us, so we're trying to spread the ball around as much as we can.
Q: Brian said he's still trying the perfect way to coach you. He's done all different ways including that he gets emotional but also that he's loved you up. How does he go about loving you up? It's his term not mine.
A: (Laughs) I don't know. I think he's always communicating. He always wants to talk and see what you're thinking, get on the same page. Understand how you're reading certain things, what you saw in a certain play in practice. I think over time the more you communicate, the more you talk and go through those conversations, the better the relationship you're building. That's how it's been. He wants to know things off the field as well. You've heard guys talking about him facetiming and wanting to build relationships with players, so I think that's how he does it.
Q: Have you had that? A facetime?
A: Yeah, he's called me – and that's dating back to when he first got the job. You can tell that's something that's really important to him is building those relationships with guys.
Q: You, or the team in general has not done well in primetime games since you've been here. Is there anything you can put a finger on as to why that is? Do you like that primetime feel when you're in it?
A: Yeah, I do. I think we all do. We've got to just come out and play our game. I think that's the biggest thing. Primetime or not, we haven't won enough games over the last few years. We're looking to put our best foot forward and play good football Monday night.
Q: Do you think it's because of the stage you're on, this is a chance to kind of show people this team is for real? I mean you're 2-0 but a lot of the country probably hasn't watched your games yet.
A: We see every opportunity as a chance to show everyone what we can do and we're going to try to play our best football every time we step on the field. Monday night game, there's some energy, there's some excitement to it. Every time we step on the field we're trying to play as good as we can and show everyone what we can do.
Q: He referred to you as being calm and steady. Where does the calmness come from, who would say is most responsible?
A: I don't know, probably my parents. I think that's an important part of playing the position is being able to weather the storm. Not get too high or too low and stay consistent with your mindset, with your approach and not let what's happened good or bad affect the next play. That's something I've always tried to do and something I continue to work on.
Q: You said all season long, 'One game at time, one opponent at a time.' Do the stakes increase with the Eagles, Cowboys or Washington?
A: Yeah, these divisional games, you understand kind of the rivalry and the tradition of these games. Especially in the NFC East where these franchises have played each other for a long time and there's a lot of historic battles back and forth. It's fun to be part of that. Divisional games mean a little bit more in terms of getting a win. We're trying to do the best we can to prepare to play our best ball Monday night.
Q: Is (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay in the gameplan this week?
A: Yeah, I think he's been a great player for us the past couple of years. I've got a lot of trust in him, and I know he's working hard. Looking forward to getting out there with him.
Q: Are you surprised by how much depth you guys have shown? You've been tested on the defensive side with injuries. You've spread the ball around a lot to a lot of guys. Are you surprised with that and pleased with how much depth you guys have shown?
A: I wouldn't say I'm surprised. I've seen from early on when this team came together that we have a lot of opportunities, we have a lot of playmakers, and guys who can do different things with the ball. I think that's a strength of your group. I wouldn't say I'm surprised but it's definitely nice to have as a quarterback, a lot of guys who can make plays.
Q: It seemed like during the spring some of the guys were talking about the coaching staff coming in and kind of letting make those mistakes and learn from them during practice. It seemed like that kind of continued into camp. For you and maybe some of those other guys like James, how much does that help you guys develop and kind of lead to the success early on that you've had right now early in the season?
A: That's part of the process, I think, anytime you put in a new system and guys are all learning it together. That's going to be part of it, but I think the coaches did a good job correcting things, getting everyone on the same page. We were kind of able to grow together through that.
Q: Does it build that rapport between you and the coaches to kind of have that trust where they kind of see you make a mistake, but they know you're going to learn from it almost right away?
A: You never want to be a guy who repeats mistakes. You want to be a guy who learns from it and moves on and gets better.
Outside Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux
Q: How much more today did you do than you did last week with the team?
A: What did I do last week? I got some reps. I did less amount of reps. I got really involved today, so I really was able to open it up and do some things.
Q: You said last you wanted to be able to not even be thinking about it, be full go, play your game. Today, were you able to do that and think that way?
A: I don't really know if it worked like that, how I thought it did. But today (I) had a lot of progress. Was able to open it up and do a lot of things. So yeah, today I'm definitely confident.
Q: You were optimistic about Week 2 last week. Do you feel optimistic this week about Dallas?
A: Hey, one plus one is two. So, we're building right now. We're building on Week 2. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but we're taking the right steps.
Q: Do you want to get the brace off before you start playing? Would you rather play without that?
A: Yeah. I feel like anybody doesn't want to play with a brace.
Q: But you would if you had to?
Q: Is a part of this right now being safe and sure about it and making sure that for the long term you're healthy? Like you can play, but you don't want to rush?
A: I feel like we all know the answers to everything you ask me. Yeah. Just you want to be smart and be healthy. Like a 17-game season.
Q: Is it more important to you feel in your head (that) 'I am 100 percent' or that they feel you're 100 percent?
A: Let's just take a time out. Let's decompress. Let's restart the camera; roll them back. Only ask questions that we don't know the answer to. Okay, if we don't know the answer, let's ask them. But if we know the answer, I'm the only one that can go out there and play. So, I'm the only one that can say if I'm able to play.
Q: What do you think of (Cowboys linebacker) Micah Parsons?
A: Great player. I mean, he's a guy. He's what – 17 sacks? 15 sacks? Not too many people have done that. So, I think he's the first one to do that in that many games. So, it's greatness as of now. He's on a roll.
Q: How have you been approaching taking mental reps while you've been on the sideline? Everybody takes them differently. How has your approach been?
A: Just making sure I'm mentally focused. Taking mental reps, you got to really got to lock in, pay attention and hone in on those details.
Q: Let's get back to Micah for a second. Do you feel an added incentive maybe to get on the field against him? You guys are going to be in the division for a long time.
A: I play defense. He plays defense. I don't really think there's like a – like I'm not trying to beat him. I'm just trying to play to the best of my ability knowing that it's going to be a great game, and there's going to be a lot of eyes on us. So, really trying to perform under lights.
Q: But you're going to be measured against him for a couple of years then here to come.
A: Who's going to be doing the measuring?
Q: Do you kind of like lick your chops a little bit knowing you're going up against a rebuilt offensive line, that it's still early in the season and they haven't really gelled to the point of mid-season or so?
A: When we go against any O-line – whether they're vets, whether they're rookies, whether they've been together or not – I think you always try to find tendencies in different players that you can try to take advantage of or different situations that you can try to be your best. So, for me, I wouldn't say I lick my chops. But I would say any team we play against; I try to find their weaknesses and figure out how I can use them to my advantage.
Q: How do you kind of keep yourself from going 100 miles an hour after so many weeks off, kind of pacing yourself? Or do you pace yourself if you're cleared to play?
A: When you say pace yourself, as far as?
Q: As far as some guys are so hyped up that they just go 100 miles an hour coming off of an injury. Or do you not think of that?
A: I mean, the thing I think that people don't realize is that whether you're injured or not injured, once you decide to step on the field between the whistles, it doesn't really matter. So, just making sure that I can go. Today was a day, like you say, to open up and really try to go that 100 (miles per hour) to see what it would feel like. So, being able to do that was a good thing from today.
Q: What do you feel like you have to prove to yourself to be out there?
A: That I can go. I can be healthy, and I can perform the different moves and tasks that I need to do my job at a high level.
Q: Growing up, were you a guy that watched Monday night football sometimes, all the time, never?
A: I would say I probably didn't watch football until I got older because the games are kind of late, and then it was slow. So, for me, I was a cartoon guy. I didn't really start watching Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football until I started getting recruited and really started paying attention to the big leagues.
Q: Do you watch it more recently? You watch the games?
A: More recently, yeah. I didn't watch it as a kid.
Q: Do you think it's a big deal?
A: I would say it's a big deal as far as a player individually. I feel like the way games go in the NFL or like those bigger games, (if) you make plays in the Super Bowl, you're probably going to be looked at as a better player than you are because it's the Super Bowl, because it's the height of the game. So, big games like this – whether it's a National Championship, Super Bowl, Monday Night Football, not saying it compares to the Super Bowl – in a sense where everybody is watching, I wouldn't say it adds pressure to me, but in a sense where if you do better, it will amplify. We're in New York.
Q: How are you avoiding being frustrated by the fact that you're not on the field yet?
A: That doesn't really frustrate (me). You have to have an understanding of where you want to get to. If I tried to focus too much on the now, of course you'd be down. But (I'm) just trying to focus on the future of what we have in store and what I have in store for myself.
Q: Is it taking longer than you thought when you first did it?
A: I'm not the bone doctor. So, I couldn't really tell you how long it was going to take or what it was going to feel like. But, as far as my mental and my body, it's been a good process having to come back.
Q: (Outside linebackers coach) Drew (Wilkins) said last week that he told you and (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) after Week 1 that you guys could make pretty good assistant outside linebackers coaches. I'm assuming that is not a job you want anytime soon.
A: I didn't get that question.
Q: You were relegated to that role to being on the sidelines to support your teammates, and you weren't out on the field where you belong.
A: Nobody wants to be on the sideline, but I think that's the part of team sport where you really got to be humble. And the fact that I can't win a game; I can't lose a game. All I can do is contribute to the outcome. So, for me, even when I'm not on the field, just trying to figure out how I can contribute to the guys I'm playing with.