Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: (Outside Linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux. There's a report out there. I know we just got a text on it, but it's a sprained MCL?
A: Yeah. MCL. Yep
Q: And a quick follow up. When you look at that play with (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew Wilkins last night, is there something technique-wise that Thibodeaux could do different to maybe avoid a situation like what happened last night?
A: Yeah, those are tough blocks – the blocks that are coming from across the line of scrimmage within the tackle box. You got to see it, and then you've got to do a great job of trying to play with your hands. So, it's unfortunate that KT went down. But that's part of the game.
Q: That last play – the way you guys defended that – who came up with that, and how much have you actually practiced that?
A: We try to practice as many different situations. We practice a lot of them offensively, what we would do in that situation. Defensively, there's different ways to defend it. I think that (Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale) Wink has done a really good of implementing his stuff, along with the assistant coaches that we have. And (Outside Linebacker Tomon) Fox sitting there on the sideline and defending the sideline when they have no timeouts, that was a good play. It was a good hit. We want to make sure it's clean. He led with the shoulder. But it was good situational football, a good call by Wink and well executed by the players.
Q: And one other just game question if I could, why'd you go for two there? You said there was some confusion there.
A: There wasn't, I wanted to go for two relative to the kicking situation. You know, (Kicker) Graham (Gano) was out, and I just thought it was a good time to work some two-point stuff, and it was a good time to kick (Punter) Jamie (Gillian) even though he hasn't really been kicking very much. And (Safety) Julian (Love) holding and doing all those things, you never know what could happen. I mean last year we were involved in a game where an opponent's kicker got hurt pregame, and basically, they had to go for it every snap. So just kind of trying to work some different situation with the players relative to what we were dealt with with Graham going down there.
Q: There was a timeline reported on Kayvon three to four weeks and that you were hopeful for Week 1. Is that accurate? Are you feeling that optimistic that he could play in the opener, or is there a chance that he does not?
A: I'd say it's day-to-day really. I'm not forecasting when a player can come back or not come back. I know he'll come in and get treatment. We'll take it day-by-day, and when he's ready to go out there, that's when we'll put him out there.
Q: Did he go into the city this morning for an MRI? Like what was kind of the timeline for events there?
A: We took care of that stuff yesterday, this morning and had our medical meeting here this morning with the doctor and (General Manager) Joe (Schoen), kind of normal what we do after every game. So, fingers crossed. Hopefully his rehab goes well, and he can get out there as soon as he can.
Q: With Kayvon, what kind of training camp, now that it's over, what kind of training camp did he have? And how important is this missed time? Do you feel like he got all the work he needed whenever he does come out? Like how valuable is this missed two weeks to him?
A: I think every time you miss a practice, it's great value to be out at practice. You try to simulate it as best you can to gain live reps, but as many repetitions as any of our guys can get – whether it's a rookie or a veteran – I think that helps them. It helps each unit, so again, KT's been doing everything we've asked him to do since he's been here. He's been a good teammate. He's worked extremely hard. So, certainly time missed, you never want to miss time. He has the right attitude. The right approach. He'll rehab as hard as he can rehab and be ready to go when he's ready to go.
Q: So, who do you look to to fill those spots? What have you seen from some of the next guys in order? Whether it's – I know we know (Outside Linebacker Azeez) Ojulari will be on one side. But filling Kayvon's shoes, whether it's (Outside Linebacker Jihad) Ward or (Outside Linebacker Oshane) Ximines. Who do you look to there, and what have you seen behind Kayvon?
A: Yeah, I think Drew's done a good job with all those guys –those edge guys. From top to bottom. I mean Fox had a really good night last night, too, setting the edge, playing physical. (Outside Linebacker Quincy Roche) Q and (Oshane Ximines) Big X, Jihad – Haddy – and all those guys have really done a good job of understanding our system and making the most of their opportunities when they get in there. It was good to have Azeez back, too. He had 10 reps, caused two holding penalties, looked good out there for the first time.
Q: I want to ask you about Graham's situation. Do you need to bring in a kicker maybe for the preseason game against the Jets or can you kind of get by with maybe Jamie doing it if (Graham) he's not ready to go Sunday?
A: Joe and I are going to talk about that. We've had preliminary discussions on it. We're possibly going to bring in a kicker; you don't want to wear Jamie out – the different angles he has to kick from. So, we're in the process of talking about that, and we definitely could bring one in.
Q: And I wanted to ask you a quick question about the offense last night. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) seemed very effective. He was on the field for, I think, 20, 21 snaps with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay). It didn't seem like they even looked at each other. Was that a level of concern? Was that by design? What was going on there?
A: Look, unless you're calling a screen pass or a jet sweep, you really don't have – you can put guys in spots and think the ball might go there as a first read. I think Daniel did a very good job of throwing the ball where he needed to throw it, making good decisions, playing on time, playing under control. That's the unique thing about a receiver or a skilled player – you're not guaranteed to get all these looks. It's predicated, at least how we do it, it's predicated on how the defense plays and our read progression. I thought Daniel did a really good job with that.
Q: With Kayvon's knee, I know doctors can do the original test on the knee in terms of seeing if it's stable or not to give the early insight into if it's a potential torn ACL or anything like that. As a coach, when you get that initial report, do you allow yourself to feel any sense of optimism, or do you kind of push all that to the side and wait for a full confirmation with an MRI?
A: I kind of wait until – I think you can start thinking about a bunch of different things. The trainers come over and just tell you they're out, and you know they have to go through their, whether it's X-rays or MRIs or whatever other tests that the players need to go through. You go to bed. You get up. You have your meetings. You get the information you need to get. And whatever it is, I think you just deal with it. You have a plan on what you have to do to help the player get ready to go. In this case, he's going to be ready to go whenever that is. On the other hand, if they're out, you got a lot of empathy for those guys that do get injured that are out for a significant amount of time.
Q: It seems to me when watching your offensive linemen – pretty much whoever is in there – that they seem to be doing a good job of communicating and passing off guys with all kinds of tricks and things up front that there's not a lot of confusion up there. In the past, that's been a problem. You haven't been here in the past, obviously. But do you see the same thing in, whether they physically win the play or not, they're at least in the right place in understanding what each other is supposed to be doing?
A: Yeah, I think we've made progress with that since we've been here. We certainly have a ways to go of that. But I do think our centers do a good job of communicating. You know (Offensive Lineman) Max (Garcia) did a good job for not being in there (at center) a whole bunch of communicating. And (Tackle Will) Holden, who really hasn't, well now he's played all five spots. He was able to do a good job of communicating with the players around him and getting everybody on the page for the most part. That's the challenge of offensive line play is trying to get five guys to act as one because if one part of it breaks down, it makes all five of them usually look bad. And that's where, offensively, that's where we want to start, and the same defensively, is up front. Our defensive line and our offensive line have to set the tempo for our team, and that's what we work towards every day.
Q: One other thing, you always mention smart, tough, dependable. Smart is always first, I'm sure that's for a reason. Is that especially important with this offensive line because you can get guys who aren't high pedigree guys but if they're smart, is that really crucial to what has to happen up there?
A: Yeah, for us, absolutely. Not just the offensive line but since you're asking, yeah, it is. Smart, being able to communicate well, again having toughness and being dependable, that's important really for every position but, in particular, the offensive line and you adding on top of that the communication factor that I talked about, all five of those guys trying to act as one. That's important because it's a very tough position to play. It's physically tough, and I'd say it's mentally challenging too with the variety of looks that you get down in from a defense.
Q: We got the official word about (Inside Linebacker Darrian) Beavers obviously with the torn ACL, a low for him, what was that like when you were trying to meet with him and talk to him about what the next step is going to be?
A: I'd just say for these guys, and I've said this before, you just have a tremendous amount of respect for the players because you see them on away games, or you see them early in the morning on their off days on how much they take care of their body. Obviously, it's their tool, and whenever something like that happens, there's a wide range of emotions for every player and I'd say each player is different. You try to be there and be supportive and do the best job that you can in that regard. What's next, and having your mind on what's next and helping the players in any way that you can, so it's tough. (Offensive Lineman Marcus) McKethan had one, and then now Beavers has one. For young players, that's tough, particularly for guys that were developing and doing a good job in camp with a bright future.
Q: Just one quick thing off of that, he'd been getting a lot of time with (Inside Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) being worked back in, Blake getting his action last night. Do you feel like Blake is in a position to kind of accelerate towards the opener, or are you still in that status quo for him?
A: Yeah, we've been working him back in, he had 10 reps, maybe a little bit less than that, but was active, was where he was supposed to be, read the offense well. I have a lot of confidence in Blake.
Q: I want to look forward for a second here. This week you've got a joint practice with the (New York) Jets. I want to know what went into that for you, how much were you aware of it being sort of a big deal? I know it was a long time ago at this point, but the last time that these teams did have a joint practice.
A: I've heard some stories about that, about the last one. It was a while back, right? I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh) Coach Saleh. I really got to meet him at the owner's meetings back in March or April whenever it was, and then when we talked about potentially practicing against one another we kind of went around and around, I think they have a game tonight if I'm not mistaken against Atlanta (Falcons), so we ended up doing just one instead of two just based on their schedule and our schedule. Anytime you practice against a team, you want to get good work in. Practice the right way, it's almost like you're practicing against your team. I'd say it's pretty competitive but you still want to take care of one another knowing that you only have so many guys, you want to try to keep people up, stay away from the Quarterback, and having the conversations I've had with Coach Saleh up until this point, they've been good. We'll revisit it after his game tonight, make sure that we're in line of what we want to do relative to the schedule and the injuries that each team has, and make sure we're doing what's best for our players and get something productive out of it.
Q: And what kind of stories did you hear about that last practice?
A: There were some brawls here I heard.
Q: The coaches were yelling at each other, so I was curious if you were aware of that.
A: No, I didn't hear that one. I just heard it was a couple of brawls in there. We'll to try to stay from that.
Q: In less than three weeks, you're going to be playing your first regular season game. You've been going at this for eight months now, do you have any idea where you are with respect to being ready for that first game?
A: Yeah, I think what you try to do is focus on each day and improve each day and improve from game to game. It'll get on you quick, but you have to take care of what's in front of you today and improve those things and keep building on it, and that's the way we approach it. We don't look too far ahead, don't look too far behind, learn certainly from our mistakes and try to build to be better each day.
Q: Is there any area that concerns you other than injuries?
A: Yeah, look you're always trying to get better. You're never where you need to be, particularly early in the season, you're still trying to find out. Even in the first couple of years, some of those championship teams that I was fortunate to be a part of, the first couple of games, you're still trying to figure out exactly what you are. Keep improving. It may not be exactly where you want to be early in the season. You'd like to get off to a fast start, but there are some games in September that are really important to get off to a fast start, but I think your fundamentals, your techniques, the big things that you need to do in every football game, but particularly early in the year, the blocking, the catching, the getting open, and being on the same page, those are critical because you really don't know. You can watch a team in the off-season and study them, but each team evolves every year. They might have been one thing one year and you think you're going to get it the first couple of games and they're turning into something else, using players a different way. So, it really comes down to being good technicians, good at fundamentals, doing the big things right, ball security, and those types of things.
Q: What do you attribute to the amount of injuries you guys have had so far and is it becoming overwhelming to deal with so many, including some key guys?
A: I think injuries are a part of the game. You never want guys to get hurt but that is the nature of playing a contact, physical sport at the highest level. Certain things happen and some of them are out of your control. I've been a part of this league for a long time and coached guys that have been injured. Again, you're empathetic towards those guys, but you try to build a deeper roster as you can so that the next guy's up. With that being said, you never want guys on your team to be hurt or on the other team for that matter. It's their livelihood and you have empathy towards that, and you try to do your best to eliminate as many injuries as you can, but it's a physical, physical sport with a lot of contact and people moving at high speeds, and unfortunately you're going to have some of those.
Q: I just have one for you here Dabs. As you put together your wide receiver depth chart beyond (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay and (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney, you've had big performances from (Wide Receiver) Collin Johnson, (Wide Receiver Alex) Bachman, (Wide Receiver David) Sills (V), are you just looking for the next three of four best guys or do you want a variety? Like do you want a fast guy, you want a tall guy, do you want a diversity of skill sets across the room or do you just want the next five best players regardless of if there's repetitiveness?
A: Yeah, I wouldn't say the next, I would just say the five best or six best player or seven best, however many we're going to keep. The guys that have been out there and producing, Collin Johnson, David Sills, they've stepped their game up. And they're right in the mix, not just to make a team but to play. So again, like I said, everybody's got to earn their job, earn their role, do a good job of the things they need to do, and make the most of their opportunities when they get them.
Wide Receiver David Sills V
Q: I asked (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs earlier about you and some of the other receivers pushing to make a roster and he said, 'They're not just pushing to make a roster spot, they are pushing to play.' What's your reaction as a guy who has been here for three years and hasn't had a lot of opportunities to play?
A: That's definitely something that's awesome to hear, but there's constant competition in training camp. I think we've had good competition in our room this whole training camp. We've got another week of competing against the Jets and have a joint practice with them so I'm just going to try to put my best foot forward this week, and carry it into the game. Hopefully everything will work its way out from that. I'm just going to continue do the same thing that I've been doing this whole training camp and try to go out there and like I said, make plays and put my best foot forward.
Q: How much do you think living in (Quarterback) Daniel's (Jones) pocket all offseason helps you guys in terms of your chemistry? It seems like when he is in trouble, he's really looking for you and that must go back to February, March and April.
A: (Laughs) I definitely don't think it hurts. We have been able to build a good connection over the last couple years. I think it's been paying off out there in practice and in the game the other day. He kind of knows where I'm going to be, I know where the ball is going to be. So, it's something that I had put a lot of time in to get to this point, but like I said earlier it's not like the job is finished. We still have another week of training camp. Just looking to get better and compete. Dabs says that's what he wants, are guys that are going to compete every day, and I feel like we've got a good group of guys that are willing to do that and always trying to put their best foot forward every day.
Q: (Wide Receiver Alex) Bachman and (Quarterback Davis) Webb are giving you guys a run for your money though, that seemed like a pretty good connection.
A: Yeah, that was awesome to watch – I was so happy for both of them. That whole group played great together and Bachman, he's been here basically the same amount of time that I have so it's really good to see him perform really well. You can tell that there was a lot of excitement over him making plays because he's been here for a while and has a relationship with a lot of guys on the team. It was very good to see that. Exciting all around. The locker room was awesome after the game. It was very exciting to see that.
Q: Is there anything that you can say from your background as a former quarterback that helps you with a connection with Daniel? The language, communicating, is there anything to that?
A: I think that kind of plays a part into it, but at this level there's been a communication for so long that we are kind of speaking the same language and things. He's seen it so much, I've seen it so much – between each other throwing together whether it's in Charlette or just up here in the offseason. I think we just have a good understanding of where I'm going to be, where the ball is going to be. Like I said, it's not perfect. It's something that we're still continuing to try to get better at. I think there were some plays in the game that I could've done better last night. It's definitely a good connection there but I think there's still some areas we can improve on, and I can improve. I'm looking forward to doing that this week.
Q: When there is a misunderstanding or a misconnection, you don't run the route the way he thought you were going to, what do you see from Daniel? Do you ever see him get upset or frustrated?
A: I don't really see it. We kind of mess around with each other and during the game it's kind of all business. Like, 'Hey, I need you to make that play,' or 'I think you should do this, I think you should do that,' and it's good communication. I've never seen him have a side to where he was upset or something like that. When we come to the sideline, he definitely has a conversation with me or another receiver about what he saw, what he thinks we could do differently, which I definitely think are things you see in a great quarterback. Being able to have that conversation of how to fix it on the fly, about what he thinks he saw – and it's not just a one-way street. It's what I saw, it's what he thinks, it's what whatever receiver he is talking to thinks. It's a discussion more than anything else. I think that's really the biggest thing about how to get it figured out, about how we can do it better the next time.
Q: He will say to you at some point, 'I need you to catch that ball?'
A: Maybe joking around after the game or something like that. But he's never on the sideline like, 'I need you to catch that ball.' We hold each other to a high standard so even if it's not said, we know that we need to make the play.
Q: What do you see from Daniel working with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay), because it seems like they are not quite there yet. What's missing there?
A: I think their relationship has definitely grown over the last year or so that Kenny has been here. My relationship has grown with Kenny, I think we all are pushing each other to be as good as we can be, and I think it does take a little while to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of a receiver. What everyone's good at, what everybody still needs to work. I've definitely seen a great progression in (their) connection over this training camp. I'm looking forward to how that progresses throughout the season and in the future. I think they're definitely getting a feel for each other more and more as training camp goes on and I'm excited to see what happens in the future.
Q: Excited to play the Jets?
Q: What are you guys talking about as you get closer to that joint practice? You had a couple last year on the road, this is them coming to your place.
A: Yeah, last year going on the road was a different deal. Now, this year it's only going to be the one joint practice but I'm excited for it. Last year the two we had were very high intensity. This game means a lot to our organization, means a lot to our ownership, so we take it very seriously around here. We are excited about it. Especially going and practicing against them, having somebody different across the line of scrimmage, it's something that's going to be a good time going against their defensive backs and their defense as a whole.
Q: Take out Kadarius and Kenny – so all of the other receivers that are fighting for a roster spot, if you look around that room do you see a lot of different flavors? There's the tall guy, the quick slot guy, the special teams' guy, the hands guy. Do you see that as a room that everybody has a different expertise?
A: Yeah, I think we are all very different receivers. Everybody in the room has different strengths and different things that they can keep getting better at. Even myself, there are areas of the game that I need to improve on, and I think if you asked anybody in our room, they would say the same thing. It's super fun to be able to be in a room with all those guys where you're looking to improve your game, and you can look at some of these other guys where they have some attributes that maybe you're trying to add to your game, and you can ask them and kind of pick their brain about what they thought on this or how they do that. Just different things like that. Definitely having a very versatile room is cool – for me at least – because I'm looking to improve my game in every way that I can. Having all these different types of receivers, it's very cool to be able to kind of pick their brain.
Punter Jamie Gillan
Q: They said they might bring in a kicker next week. Are you disappointed?
A: (Laughs) I'm just here to hold and punt. If they need any more field goals from me again, I'll be there waiting.
Q: Are the muscles you need and technique you need – obviously it's different. So, could there be a concern that if they ask you to be the kicker for another week or so, that could mess up with the punting or mess your body up in some way?
A: No. I have a good routine going every day to take care of my body. We've got a great training staff here and a phenomenal weight room staff, so it's really my job to stay on top of my body to keep it running smoothly. Because as we saw yesterday, anything can happen in a game. I can't say on the sideline, 'Oh no, I can't kick because I'm using different muscles.' I'm just going to go out there and kick it, right. If that was asked of me for this week, then I'll do it. I'll do anything for this team and whatever (Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey) Coach T-Mac wants me to do and (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Coach Daboll wants me to do, I'll do it.
Q: What was the best comment, or the most fun comment that you got from your teammates last night after the game? I mean you won by three points, and you had a field goal and an extra point.
A: Everybody was laughing. Super happy. I guess people forgot or didn't know that I kicked in college and stuff. Everybody was very happy. We had a good giggle afterwards. I was very focused on doing my job, though, when I was out there to make the kick. (Safety Julian Love) J Love did a great job holding.
Q: Did you have a chance to talk to (Kicker) Graham (Gano)? I know he's in the protocol; I was just wondering how he's doing from your perspective and if he had any comments about your performance last night?
A: Graham's doing great. He's a great human being, a great player, an awesome veteran to be around. I told him when I came off – we were chatting on the sidelines and stuff. After the game he gave me a big high five and hug thing and was just saying, 'Good job,' and I'm just really looking forward to him coming back. I channeled my inner Graham on the kickoffs because he's super smooth when he kicks it, so when I was back there and I took my little five, six back I was thinking, 'Just kick it smooth. Hit the sweet spot, and the ball should fly.' He was very happy for me and he's ready to get back out there.
Q: Is there anything Julian can't do? I know it's kind of your first year here, but he's played nickel, outside cornerback, safety. He's pretty much played every position you can play on defense. Now, he's the holder. Have you had a teammate like that before that you could compare him to?
A: I'm going to say he can't golf very well (laughs). No, he's a good golfer. Maybe we should line him up for a couple of field goals this week too, see if he can get all of them – long snap, hold. Check all of the boxes for the year for him, right? I haven't met a teammate like him to be able to do everything like that. We were literally on the sideline looking at each other and I was teaching him how to hold. Maybe three holds later, he had it down. I just said, 'Don't worry about the laces. We'll poke it through.' He nailed it. A great athlete.