Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: Morning. It's Groundhog Day. So, first day in pads. Got a lot of good work in, particularly in the running game, which was a point of emphasis. So, took the pads off of them today, and we are in a third-and-10 plus day. So, a little bit harder than the (third and) 6-9 day, but work we need to get after.
Q: What were your initial thoughts yesterday on (Offensive Lineman Marcus) McKethan and (Guard Joshua) Ezeudu?
A: Much like everybody else, some good, some bad. They're working hard. They're trying to do the things the way we're asking them to do. They have good physical demeanor about themselves. They pick things up well. There was a lot of good reps out there for them, and some they probably wish they had back, but that's for all of us.
Q: Do you want to find the five best offensive linemen and just play them in games, or here and where you came from in New England, there have been times where six, seven offensive linemen rotate. What's your preference?
A: Yeah, this is usually a hot topic every summer when we're talking about offensive linemen, which I understand the question. We're going to keep rotating the players around. There's obviously certain guys that – Andrew Thomas is our left tackle. But I think the more guys that can get reps, you know, if Andrew Thomas comes out in a preseason game, then who's going to go ahead and go in for him? And the more position flexibility they can create for themselves – and maybe you find something, a good combination that works – but right now we're going to mix and match. And eventually we'll settle on the five that are out there; I think that's important to have some good communication with one another. But I think when you work with other guys, that helps the communication process as well.
Q: So, you're saying ideally, when the games – when the regular season begins…
A: Yeah, ideally, you'd like to have five guys. Now, if it's close, then you always, 'Hey maybe give this guy two series, the next guy two series,' and see how it's going in the game relative to the matchup.
Q: Brian, what were your impressions of (Defensive Lineman) Dexter Lawrence before you got here, and what are your expectations for him?
A: He's looked good. He's powerful. He came in in shape. He's a very smart player. I've been very impressed in the defensive meetings as he sits down and (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) goes through the defense. And he just doesn't know the front part of it; he's got some awareness of what's going on behind him. He's got a great attitude. I think he adds tremendous leadership for our team. He's practiced really well since he's been here. Glad we have him.
Q: Do you think he's taken on that leadership role since he's been here for a little bit?
A: I don't know. That would be a good question for him. I mean I've seen it out here. He leads his way, which I think it's important that all players lead their own way. I think players gravitate toward him because he's a talent, but he is also a very smart player. So, if you're talented and smart, usually that lends to being a pretty good leader.
Q: How big a setback is this for (Safety Dane) Belton. He isn't going to have much training camp as a rookie.
A: Yeah, it's always tough. You feel terrible for guys that that happens to. But he is smart. He was having a really good camp, and doing a really good job with (Safety Julian) Love and (Safety Xavier McKinney) X when we were throwing him in there. He's diligent. I'd say he's out there. He's out there at walkthroughs. He's out there at practice. He's really good in the film room. Does it hurt that you're not out there? Absolutely. But he's really mature for a young player, too. So, as soon as we can get him out there, that will be great. But until then, we'll work with whatever we can with relative to the meetings, the practices, the time on task is always helpful.
Q: Is it a situation where you'll probably have to put him on IR to start the year?
A: Not that – I'm today. I don't know. I don't know yet.
Q: Does he need surgery?
A: No. Nope. Nope.
Q: Brian, your third safety situation, (Andrew) Adams. I presume to be heavily in the mix there.
A: Yeah, we'll see. We'll throw those guys out there, let them rep it out, compete with one another, and we'll see how it goes. We got a lot of practices left. A lot of games left. We're going to have to figure that one out until Belton gets back. And when Belton gets back, we'll still have you know guys ready to go.
Q: Where does (Center Jon) Feliciano stand?
A: Should be out here today. I don't think he'll be doing a whole lot relative to team stuff, but he's real close.
Q: Since you got here, everybody wants – the automatic thought is, 'Oh, he's going to do to (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) what he did with (Buffalo Quarterback) Josh (Allen) in Buffalo.' Do people come up to you? Do you hear that chatter, from whether it's friend or colleagues, or whatever it may be – maybe not colleagues? And what do you, what's your answer to that? Because it's obviously different people and different players.
A: Maybe early, but that's exactly the answer. Daniel is his own person. We're doing the best job we can at trying to figure out the pieces we have around Daniel. What we can do well. We keep tinkering with that, that will be a constant until we get here into the start of the season. Daniel's been working hard, but in no way would I compare Daniel with Josh. That's not fair. He's his own person. He's working hard. Look, developing an offense or a defense or a team, let's just say a team when you're first starting out as a head coach, a new staff, new players, it takes a lot of work. And we're still very much still a work in progress.
Q: Because he's such a polarizing figure here, do you feel the overaction to a bad practice, whatever it may be, in the early stages?
A: Yeah, you try to help players focus on what they can control, which is their ability to prepare, their ability to be a good teammate, their ability to go out there and execute and focus on that rather than anything else. But you understand people are human. They're not much older than my older kids. You learn to deal with different people differently, and you have some empathy for guys when they're going through a tough stretch – and I'm not saying he's going through a tough stretch, I'm just saying in general with any player. That's just, I think, being a good person. Try to lead him the best way you can and get him to focus on the things that he can focus on whether it's Daniel or (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) or (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) or (Defensive Lineman) Dex (Lawrence) or (Defensive Lineman) Leo (Williams). Each person is different, and each person reacts different to different things. The biggest thing is, take the coaching, listen to the people in the room that are coaching them, and work to get better.
Q: When you were evaluating Josh early in his career, was there anything he was doing before we saw the magic and the great play on the field off the field that you said, 'Something's coming,'? Because it wasn't always perfect for him early on.
A: Yeah, I appreciate the question. I understand the question. My focus is on Daniel. Love Josh. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Josh, but you know my focus is more on Daniel right now.
Q: I guess big picture with quarterbacks then rather than specifically. What do you look for in a quarterback off the field or in the meetings or things like that that might give you a sign or foreshadowing, if you will?
A: I don't know if you have foreshadowing. I've been around a lot of different ones. I've seen, you know, (Buccaneers Quarterback) Tom Brady. I've seen (Former Jets Quarterback) Brett Favre. I've seen (Former Panthers Quarterback) Jake Delhome. I've seen (Former Jets Quarterback) Chad Pennington. I've seen (Former Cardinals Quarterback) Colt McCoy. I've seen Josh Allen. I've seen (Former Browns Quarterback) Brady Quinn, (Former Browns Quarterback) Derek Anderson. They're all different. You know, quarterbacks usually work extremely hard. Each of them lead a little bit differently. Have different talents. Is the system suited to what they do well? How much time on task is there for a quarterback in the same system? I think that's important. I think it's very important. You change the system after system after system after system, that's hard on any quarterback.
Q: What have you seen early on from (Safety) Yusuf Corker? He seemed like a guy who was going to get drafted. Didn't. He came in highly motivated at (The University of Kentucky) U of K, and now with all these injuries, he seems like a guy who has a chance.
A: Yeah, I think he's been improving each day along with the rest of those guys. But he definitely has some good awareness. Good skillset. He's instinctive. He's done a good job at improving, much like all the rookies we have. And he'll get his opportunities.
Q: What do you see from Saquon? What do you see from Saquon? Because obviously last year – the last couple years really – have been a tough year. I'm sure that when you look on film, his first year compared to the last couple years wasn't the same. So, I'm curious.
A: Are you talking about his entire game?
Q: I'm just talking about how he looks physically. Explosiveness.
A: Yeah, he looks explosive. You know, he hit one yesterday and got out into the open field. I don't know what his GPS numbers were, but it was high. He was moving pretty good. He's explosive. He's quick. He's strong. He looks good to me.
Q: Brian, where are you when you come into a situation where the team hasn't been winning – there's certain guys have baggage. Obviously, Saquon's coming off the injury. Leonard Williams has never been to the playoffs. There's a lot of guys that have that. How do you handle that as a new coach coming in? How do you clean the slate or whatever that may be? Do you feel as if you're starting fresh?
A: I think that's what it is. Each year in this league is such a new year. I think you just work to get better each day. I don't think you can focus on what happened in the past. I certainly don't. Wherever I've been, whether it was productive, not productive, you know, you live in the moment with the people that you're working with. You try to do the best job you can with whatever role you're asked to do. Whether it's a player, a position coach, a head coach, we all have responsibilities. Focus on those; understand what we need to do to get better. Be clear with expectations and standards, and just take it day-by-day.
Q: Do you feel like you have to have those conversations with those guys?
A: Yeah, those guys can talk to me about whatever, but I think the more you look in the rearview mirror or you look too far ahead, you lose what's most important, which is today.
Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence
Q: You guys have had veterans and former players come in and talk to you a couple of times throughout camp. Is it a little a different when Eli is there though?
A: Oh yeah, I played with him for one year. I always call him the GOAT. I mess around with him and all this stuff, but you know, it's good to see his face. It's been a while since he could actually come around and talk because of COVID and stuff, but it's good to hear the message from him today.
Q: And what was that message?
A: Just come out and trust in the process. Being a good teammate and being a good person to people you're around every day, competing. You know, if you're not getting better, you're getting worse type of thing. Just having that mental thing going through camp is good.
Q: In the 1-on-1 individual drills, it seemed like you were having fun using the power move. It seems like you were shoving guys really back.
A: Yeah, that's what I do (laughs).
Q: But I mean, are you coming in this year with any different approach with this defense or is it what you always did?
A: I think I'm just getting more knowledgeable about my position, understanding how to manipulate things and how to win more type of thing. That's what I've got to do as a defensive lineman is just learn the position and grow from there.
Q: How different is that position?
A: A D-lineman? I've been a D-lineman.
Q: You're a little more (inaudible)…
A: You know, it's just quicker. Everything's quicker right there. It's still the same thing as using my hands, bringing my feet, playing long, things like that.
Q: You've been used, I guess, kind of sporadically as a pass rusher. We're talking about third-and-long, pass rushing situations and things like that. How much – if at all – do you expect (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) to use you more in those situations?
A: I don't really know how to answer that. Out here, the offense passes 90 percent of the practice, so you know, it's pass rush all the time pretty much. But honestly, we've got different personnels and things like that that I'm a part of. It's not like a number or anything I can say.
Q: Do you think at least though with Wink, he obviously prioritizes getting after the quarterback. For you personally, will that mean more opportunities to rush in general?
A: Yeah. The NFL is a passing league, so it's going to be a lot of pass rush on different first and second downs and probably more on third downs sometimes. So, it's just going out there every play.
Q: But do you feel that your usage is any different than what it was under (Former Defensive Coordinator) Pat Graham? Are the same responsibilities?
A: At the end of the day, it's football. I don't think my usage is different. I'm a force in the middle, and I'm going to keep being that.
Q: You've been around for a little bit now. Can you speak to the new regime beginning with (Head Coach Brian) Daboll? You guys all have personal goals. You want to get to the playoffs, which hasn't happened. Is it much more of a…
A: Yet – it hasn't happened yet.
Q: Is it much more about looking ahead and not looking at the things that haven't happened for you guys?
A: That's the yearly goal. Everybody's goal in the NFL is to win the Super Bowl. You've got to work towards that now to be able to accomplish that in the postseason and get to the postseason. No matter what coaching staff it is or which players, if everybody has the same goal, you're going to fight for that.
Q: Based on what you've seen so far from the offensive line in practice, what have been your impressions?
A: You know, it's good competition honestly. We're competing everyday – fighting with each other every day. I love the grittiness of the offensive line. We're still homeboys. We are going to fight and all that stuff, but that's just part of being upfront. It's just great competition.
Q: What did you do to set off (Guard) Shane (Lemieux)?
A: I didn't start it, I finished it (laughs). I guess somehow, he ended up on the ground, and he thought it was me. That's how it happened. Got the wrap in, and that's how it happened.
Q: Afterwards you guys…
A: Yeah, we just squashed it. We have lockers right next to each other, so it was nothing.
Q: When he asked you about the playoffs, you then jumped in and said, 'Yet.' Why?
A: Because that's the goal. You can't sit on what happened years prior. You've got to go for what you're shooting for now. Everybody's goal is to make it to the postseason. If everybody has the same goal, we're all going to have the same work ethic to try to get there.
Q: Is that a realistic goal for this year's team?
A: It is a realistic goal. It's everybody's goal.
LB Tae Crowder
Q. It seems like you guys are having fun out there in those 11 on 11 drills. How's the competition level?
A: The competition level is actually at a high level. Everybody is coming to work every day. It feels like everybody wants to get better every day. So, I think that's the biggest difference of this group, just coming each day and wanting to actually be better than yesterday.
Q. How much do you feel like you've grown from a football IQ perspective in this defense as opposed to last week?
A: I'm not sure if it's just the difference in the defense. I feel like as you watch film and just keep coming to practice every day, each year is different. You learn more each year you're in business.
Q. How different is it getting the play call from a safety instead of a linebacker?
A: It's a little different just because last year, obviously, I was calling it. Just having to get the communication from somebody else that's the only difference. We still are communicating as a defense, and everyone is still talking so, it's cool.
Q. You've played with (Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) before the injury and after the injury. How does he look?
A: He looks good. The whole linebacker core is looking good. We are pushing each other. Everybody is coming to work each day, so I feel like that's the important thing.
Q: I mean, he is coming off of a major injury. Does he look like he is moving around the same way you remember?
A: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, for sure. He looks good.
Q: You led the team in tackles last year and yet you come into a new situation with new coaches and all that. Is there anything that in your head you go, "I have to prove myself again?"
A: I feel like each year as a player you should want to be better than you were last year. I know I did lead the team, but it's in the past. I'm worried about right now, and what we are doing today, so I'm just trying to be a better player.
Q. Do you take it as a challenge when they draft two, three linebackers? Do you take that as a challenge that you've got to win your spot back?
A: I just come to work and try to set the standard as it is. Try to show them how it is to come to work each day and just compete.
Q. Tae you guys have a lot of former players come through and address the team. What's it like having (Quarterback) Eli Manning out there, do that? Is that a different level?
A: That was pretty cool I can't lie, that was cool. Just growing up watching Eli and just seeing all the great things he did. To come back and talk to the team, I feel like that means a lot to the team and everyone in the building.
Q. He hasn't been around because of COVID and been able to do these types of things. Is this your first-time kind of meeting him?
A: Yeah, I was excited. It's a blessing to be in the position that we're in and just to have someone come and talk like him, it's amazing.
Q. Did you notice him on the sideline during practice?
A: Yeah, I did.
Q: Hard to miss.
A: Yeah, definitely.
Q. What was his message to you guys?
A: Just come out every day and don't take it for granted. Just come and be ready to work. Just have fun with it.
Q. Baltimore, it's a place where (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) comes from. It's a place that is known for linebackers. When they hired Wink, did that resonate with you that (the) Baltimore (Ravens) have had a lot of great linebackers?
A: I just feel like he was an aggressive kind of play-caller. I knew it was going to be fun just having him as a coordinator.