Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: Morning guys. Just cranking right along. Another day in pads. It's the fourteenth or fifteenth practice. Certainly, a lot to work on, and it's what we'll do.
Q: What was your takeaway from yesterday? It looked like you guys were having trouble completing passes there for a while.
A: Yeah. It's practice. You always want to practice as good as you can. On the other hand, I said it was a good practice. I think the defense got a lot of ball disruption plays, knocked the ball out quite a bit, had a couple picks. So, that's why you practice.
Q: (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) throws so much pressure at the offense, and that's well documented. At any point, do you have to ask him just to dial back so you can get a better evaluation because you're not going to see that defense too often during the season?
A: I think it's good. I think it's good for an offense, too, to have to deal with that. However many plays in a row, it's still good. It makes you think. But I do think you want to do that at times where you say, 'Hey, give me two or three so every play isn't mental gymnastics of figuring out different things.' But I think it's good to apply as much pressure because you're going to deal with it at some point. Whether it's 20 plays in a row, you never know about that, but it's good for an offense to have to work through communication. And it's really good to sit back after the practice and go through it and really talk about some things that are issues at times.
Q: When do you become concerned about days like yesterday? I know you're about process over scheme, but when do you need to really start seeing some results?
A: That's why we practice. We're all about the process, so if you have a bad day, you regroup, you look at it, you talk about it. Obviously, you want to translate good things in practice to games. We're evaluating players right now. We're working through a lot of different schemes. That's not much different than the last twenty-two years I've been around. But we want to perform well when it counts the most, which is on gameday.
Q: How much input do you have with the defense. Obviously, we assume you're talking to (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Kafka) all the time. He says that. Wink kind of comes in as an established commodity. Do you have as much control?
A: I talk to both guys.
Q: I just mean in terms of the schemes and stuff. Are you hands on with that, or do you kind of say, 'Wink's going to do his thing'?
A: I have a lot of confidence in both those guys. If there's something that I see – whether it's the kicking game, defense or offense – I give my input.
Q: (Wide Receiver) Collin Johnson has had a pretty good camp and preseason game. Can you talk about how he fits into what you and Mike are looking to do on offense?
A: Well, he's made the most of his opportunities. So, we've talked to these guys about earning it, and he's certainly earned it with his opportunities that he's gotten. If he does well, he'll get more opportunities. He's smart. He's got position flexibility in terms of intelligence and understanding the roster. He's made plays. He's done a nice job.
Q: (Outside Linebacker) Jihad (Ward) and (Outside Linebacker) Elerson (Smith) and (Offensive Lineman) Jon (Feliciano) left practice yesterday. How did they come out of that?
A: They'll be okay. They probably won't go today, but they'll be alright.
Q: How are you doing on numbers? You're getting pretty short there in practice.
A: Yeah, we're down a little bit. We're certainly down a little bit. We got two lines today offensively. So again, those aren't long lasting deals. But it's good for some of these other guys to get their chances too now.
Q: What conversations have you had with (Wide Receiver) Kenny Golladay about expectations that you have for him, and then what has he shown you? Has he lived up to those so far in how he's practiced?
A: Yeah, I think all of the players are the same for us. Their expectation is go out there, learn what to do. Go out and do it as hard as they can do it. Improve each day. And I think that's what Kenny has tried to do. The conversations I have with each player is private. But, in general, that's our message to all the guys.
Q: Kind of building off that, with Kenny, what he's tasked to do within this offense, is it maybe a little bit different than what he did last year or in Detroit?
A: I can't speak for Detroit or last year. We've moved him around at times. We've kind of locked in on a certain spot right now for him. And I think it just takes reps, takes reps with quarterbacks and receivers, all of them. But he's done everything we've asked him to do.
Q: After the preseason game, how are you feeling about the offensive line going forward?
A: I think those guys did a good job of communicating. Some of the guys on the second and third lines, they've only been here a few days. And I think that again, (Offensive Line Coach) Bobby (Johnson), (Assistant Offensive Line Coach) Tony (Sparano Jr.) did a good job of getting them ready. They did themselves a good job of getting ready. You got to try to win the game up front, both sides. So, the first group, obviously (Offensive Lineman) Shane (Lemieux) went down. But I think the first group communicates well. They're working good. And the second group did a nice job as well of closing out that game with five minutes left, whatever it may be. It's an important part of your team, is the trenches.
Q: Speaking of guys that are getting opportunities with offensive linemen down, what are you seeing from (Offensive Lineman) Devery Hamilton?
A: He played a lot of plays in that preseason game, and he competed really well. He has position-flex. Today, you'll see him inside at guard. He can play tackle. He can play inside. Another smart guy that's doing everything that we ask him to do.
Q: I assume that (Guard) Ben Bredeson is going to be in the first team at some spot today.
A: Yeah. He'll be playing center. Yeah. Center today.
Q: What is it about him that you like?
A: Smart, tough, dependable. Very good communicator. I think he has good leadership skills. Was really good on the sideline the other night. Practices hard. Out there every day. A guy you like to work with.
Q: What do you mean by 'really good on the sideline?'
A: He's just a good communicator with his teammates, and he's a good communicator with Bobby. I think when you have good communicators – look, it wasn't all vanilla; there's certain things that are going on when you're playing that position and you're playing a quarterback position, I think the more you can communicate what you're seeing, because it's not always the same as what the coaches on the sideline are seeing that's going on, he does a good job with that.
Q: Do you intend to give the ones playing time in the second preseason game as well?
A: I do. Now how much? We haven't got to that yet. But, yeah.
Q: What changes are you looking for ahead of Sunday's preseason game – improvements overall for the team?
A: Just keep grinding away. Keep improving our fundamentals. It's going to be a big thing. I thought we improved a little bit on that yesterday pass protection-wise with the backs, playing the deep ball with the defensive backfield. Again, you can't tackle. I think we missed six tackles the first game. So improvements fundamentally is the most important.
Q: The third preseason game used to be the dress rehearsal when there were four. So, is that now the second game and usually the third becomes the fourth?
A: Not there yet. Not there yet relative to exactly how we're going to do it. But we'll have a plan.
Q: You mentioned Collin Johnson, or we were talking about Collin Johnson before. How much does that size, that 6'6'' frame that he has allow you to use him in different spots and that kind of versatility you were talking about before?
A: It's not so much the size. It's his overall intelligence of being able to line up at multiple spots. The ability to separate and get open is important and then make plays on the football when he has an opportunity to.
Q: What have you seen from (Tight End) Daniel Bellinger just throughout camp and in the preseason game?
A: Much like a lot of the rookies, a lot to work on. We've thrown him in there and he's played a lot of football for us – still has a ways to go to learn a lot of the intricacies that you need to have in playing. But he's willing. He's smart. He's tough. He's got good qualities to work with. We just got to keep working with him and improving.
Q: What are the biggest things you feel like he needs to work with, and then have you seen him approach that?
A: I'd say the whole part. It's such a different coming from where he is. We've asked him to do a lot of stuff. So, just keep a good, positive mindset, and learn from his coaches, and do a good job.
Q: Andre Patterson being back with the team
A: Dre Patterson's back today. Probably won't be on the field but was in the building. So, it's good to have him back.
Q: How have you been adjusting to the culture here and just connecting with the fans so far?
A: It's great. It's a great part of the country. I really like living here. I think the people in our building are fantastic. Really, it's a cool place to be.
Q: Just quick clarification: The three guys that got hurt yesterday, are you waiting on any additional tests on those guys? Or are none of them predicted long term?
A: We should be alright with those guys. Yep.
Safety Julian Love
Q: Have you guys been giving the offense a hard time in the building after the last couple of days?
A: Yeah, as I said since the beginning of training camp it has been very competitive on the field and off the field in the locker room. Yeah, we're going to be tripping a little bit just hoping for a response, but it's just the nature of competition with them.
Q: Has there been any time where (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) to dial back, or maybe it's come down from (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs to dial back a little bit?
A: I think that's an upstairs thing. I'm sure they tell Wink like "hey, you have certain pressures you can run", or the amount of pressure they tell him. Like "hey, this is your allotted amount." But nothing to the players, whatever is called we're going to play it hard.
Q: What did you think of Thursday night?
A: I think it was good, I think it was good to see what you have in front of you. I think we have a lot of evaluation being done, top-down from starters on. So, it's big you want to see guys competing, you want to see guys getting after it in a game setting so, it was good. I think we got some good feedback on some things to improve on. It's the initial shock for a lot of young guys on what an NFL game can be. And so now, unfortunately, we played on Thursday, now we play Sunday, it is a little extra time in-between there, so we get after it in practice. I know we're looking forward to this next preseason game.
Q: Julian, it seems like they were throwing a lot of back shoulders in New England, is that something (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome Henderson has been stressing with you guys this week?
A: Yeah, that was something I guess we haven't seen as much until the game. So, of course, you're going to see some stuff you weren't expecting maybe, so now we're learning to play the back shoulder, the ball out in front because that's the evolution of the game, that's what these games are for and it's important that we got those in the game because now guys can build off of that, and young guys can really learn how to play them.
Q: It seems like you guys are very athletic and very tough in the back end, do you think Wink is going to try and install more defensive pressure on the back end?
A: Yeah, he has it dialed up. His plan going for weeks one, two, and three in the regular season, he's pacing right now, he wants to show what he wants to in the preseason, and we're going to get to them eventually, but he has a plan. Some of them are going to be more exotic, some are going to be simple, whatever they scheme up and think is best for that opponent.
Q: Seems like there was a difference of perspective Thursday night, people in New England thought you blitzed a ton, but the feeling in your locker room was that you dialed it back and was as vanilla as it gets.
A: I know a lot happens between coaches before preseason games, gentleman agreements, or whatever. I thought we were fine, I thought everything we played was very standard in terms of what you want to see young guys getting. So, I'm not sure about all of that stuff but, I thought our plan wasn't anything exotic on defense. I thought it was very cut and dry on defense.
Q: To the point where maybe you even thought you'd blitz even more than what you did?
A: We knew because it was the first preseason game it was going to be a very vanilla game plan, to be simple. We want to just see young guys executing the calls that we've had since the beginning. You know those first few installs, that's what the game plan was for that.
Q: Julian are you excited now that the first game is under a month now as far as what Wink can draw for a regular season game?
A: Yeah, I'm excited. I've had a lot going on this offseason, but during it all, I've been putting into perspective what I want for myself in this upcoming year. Everybody knows I'm a pretty selfless guy, I try to do whatever that I can to help the team improve but now I'm excited to have that opportunity to take my game to the next level. So, yeah, this offseason it's been a lot of that, and I'm just waiting for week one. Obviously, I'm excited for Cincinnati (Bengals) and the (New York) Jets just to get into the flow so I can be hitting the ground running and we can hit the ground running in Week one. It's hard not to be excited, we want to win games, we want to see a new season, and get that bad taste out of our mouths as soon as possible.
Q: Not to pry, but what's going on that's competing with football?
A: I got married this summer, so yeah, I was a little locked into that. We were doing a lot of the pre-wedding stuff, which was exciting, I loved every part of it. It was a perfect day; the honeymoon was perfect. Work-life balance, I'm 100 percent looked into that stuff, and then when it's not time to pick flowers, it's time to visualize what I want for myself in the season and set goals for myself.
Q: You have a lot of young and improving guys battling for depth in the secondary, has anyone stood out to you and caught your eye?
A: Like you said, a lot of young unproven guys. That doesn't mean that we have any lack of talent, I think we're a talented group. I think personally, it stinks, but I liked what (Safety) Dane Belton has shown before he was out for a little bit, I like what (Cornerback) Zyon Gilbert has shown, he's a sneaky athlete, so it's exciting to see him get more and more. We have a good young group; I think we have some really good players. You saw (Cornerback) Darren Evans, D. Evans, he had a solid game, and I want to see more from (Cornerback Cordale) Flott. We've got some guys, this game and the next one, you want to see guys take the next step. This first one, coaches may feel a certain way, but I'm like, "it's their first game" let them ease into it. I'm also forgetting (Safety Trenton) Trent Thompson, he's been flashing all over the place. He's a guy who has really been earning his way from the bottom of the bottom to now earning some quality reps for us, I think that's someone to keep an eye out for sure.
Q: Did you complain to Wink when you didn't get the green dot?
A: No, Wink's good about the green dot. He's probably told you, that whoever is on the field at all times will get it. So, when (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) went out after that first series, I had the green dot for the second series. I'm a guy in the lineup for that, that's nothing uncommon, I can echo a call with the best of them. So, you never know what happens.
Q: What have you seen from (Tight End) Daniel Bellinger during camp so far?
A: I like Daniel. I think he's a tough kid. I think he's been improving more and more each day; a lot has been put on him honestly. Getting that first team job and he's learning each day. I think for a young guy right now, you want to absorb as much as you can each day, take the hits here and there, the bad and the good plays, but he's learning, and he's a good kid. When I'm out there guarding him with the first team and the first teams are going at each other, ill tell him this is what you need to do to be better at certain aspects. It's push and pull but he's absorbing everything. I expect bright things from him because he's just a good kid.
Q: What kind of a route runner is he?
A: He's learning to become a more proficient route runner, he's a big guy, he's strong, he's deceivingly strong, and just using his body more. You guys will see moving forward.
Wide Receiver Collin Johnson
Q: How do you feel camp is going for you?
A: First off, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for without Him I'm nothing, and I want to start there. In terms of training camp, it's been good, it's been a grind. I've just been focused on getting better every day and just taking it one day at a time.
Q: You've been getting a lot of opportunities. Do you feel like you're making the most of those so far?
A: At the end of the day, you've just got to focus on being the best you can be. I feel like if you do that, when the opportunity comes, you'll make it. I have full confidence that when I get an opportunity, I'll make the play because I know the way I work every day. I'm definitely going to keep working and keep taking advantage of my opportunities.
Q: What does last year show you about what you can do?
A: Like I said, I take it day by day. Last year, every game, every practice, is experience and you've just got to add that to the tool kit and keep growing and keep getting better. You've got to be intentional about it. Last year was last year, and last game was last game. This practice is over, and I'm already focused on the next day. That's kind of the way I'm wired. I'm big on being process oriented and not so much result oriented because (Head Coach Brian) Daboll always harps on that as well. I really took that to heart this camp and it's definitely helped me.
Q: But if you look at your game on Thursday night, that's a good number of catches in the preseason game and productive. It helps you take a step forward in the depth chart and everything else –
A: I feel like I'm better today than I was yesterday. I control just getting better every day and taking advantage of my opportunities when my number is called. Like I said, that's all I can control. How many targets I have, maybe can't control, but my attitude and effort I can always control that. I'm big on that. That's just my focus and that will always be my focus, my attitude and effort. I feel like if I stay focused on that the results and taking advantage of opportunities will take care of itself.