Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: Now that things have settled down, what is the math telling you about the tie? And what are the analytics people telling you about what this means going forward? I'm sure they're probably a little more excited about it than the players and the coaches.
A: I've talked to those guys, I would say, Saturday and Friday relative to certain strategies as the season ends. So, that's when I'll sit down with those guys. We tied the game. We obviously would like to win the game. But we move on, and we get ready for Philly.
Q: I was just curious on how Leo (defensive lineman Leonard Williams) is doing and if you guys had any other injuries from yesterday.
A: I'd say he's sore. Leo's sore; that's really all I got right now. We'll see how it goes throughout the week after I meet with (general manager) Joe (Schoen) and the training staff. The rest of the guys made it through pretty clean.
Q: With a night to sleep on it, I know you go back on all your decisions and things like that. At the end of the first half and the end of the overtime, (is there) anything that gave you more clarity? Do you still like what you did then? And (are there) any other things that came up that kind of better to explain it now?
A: I'd say status quo from last night. We certainly talk about everything after a game. We talked about yesterday's game today, and we talked about the decision making processes, the analytics part of it and a bunch of things. Those are conversations we have each week.
Q: How much did the (wide receiver) Richie James not getting the first down and you wanting the spot really affect what happened next there?
A: I'm not going to get too involved into the particulars. It just played out how it played out.
Q: I'm wondering when you went back and looked, what you saw. What was the difference, offensively, between the first half and the second half. The second half, you really kind of struggled to move the ball consistently – and overtime, I guess.
A: They played and coached better than we did.
Q: That's all you saw? In what ways?
A: Pretty much in every way.
Q: It sounds like you're blaming yourself for the loss then.
A: I blame myself for every loss. That's part of the job.
Q: And with (safety) Xavier McKinney, any expectation for him to return to practice this week?
A: I'd say too early to tell.
Q: So, there's a possibility at least, it sounds like.
A: I would say too early to tell. That's the best I got for you.
Q: Are you considering taking over play calling on offense? Not to put words in your mouth, but just given how the offense struggled.
A: No. I have a lot of confidence in (offensive coordinator) Mike Kafka.
Q: A couple of your defensive players appeared to be lobbying for more playing time on social media last night. How do you handle when guys like (linebacker) Tae Crowder and (cornerback) Rodarius Williams kind of go public in that way?
A: Private conversations.
Q: Do you fine guys for that? Or no?
A: I would just say private conversations.
Q: The timeout that you took with 1:23 left there, I've been asked by a few a people why you took that timeout because it looked like the clock was stopped when the ball went out of bounds. Can you explain that?
A: The clock was going to run. The ball got knocked out of the ball carrier's hands, so they would have started winding the clock.
Q: So, you wanted the timeout there?
A: And then they ran it on third down and bled the clock. If they throw it and it's incomplete, maybe got some more time on the clock.
Q: Since we haven't hit on the injury front, specifically (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), do you expect Adoree' to be back or have a chance to be on the practice field this week?
A: I think he's getting better. I think it's too early to tell today, Monday. (He's) making progress. How much progress? Yet to be determined.
Q: Anything different with (cornerback) Darnay (Holmes) or (wide receiver) Kenny (Golladay) from yesterday? They were the two guys that were kind of surprise inactives. I know you said Darnay was the shoulder. Are either of those guys getting back into the mix this week?
A: Kenny was in today with a mask on; his temperature is down a little bit. But he had a pretty high temperature. Now it's worked its way down. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go. Darnay, we'll see how his shoulder is.
Q: I know you don't like looking at big pictures, but the final five games, you've got Philly twice, Washington, Minnesota. You've got the two top seeds in the East. Do you approach this any differently because you got to say to the guys, 'We really have out backs up against the wall,' or anything?
A: No. I think you just got to get ready to play the next week and the next team. For us, it's the best team in the NFL right now; one loss. They lost to Washington. They have a star-studded roster. I think (Philadelphia Eagles general manager) Howie (Roseman) has done a great job of putting together a bunch of talent there on that team. (Philadelphia Eagles quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) is playing phenomenal. Those receivers are, they're exceptional (as is the) O-line, defensive line, corners. They've got a star-studded cast.
Q: Is clubbing it up (Xavier McKinney's hand) an option for him?
A: Right now, no, I would say.
Q: Kind of a bigger-picture question: The way you guys have called plays and kind of managed the offense leads to a perception that you don't fully trust (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) or you don't fully trust the supporting cast. How do you respond to that? Is there any validity to that?
A: I trust the offense, and I trust the supporting cast.
Q: Why do you manage the game the way you do where it seems like specifically two-minute drills, at the end of halves, it seems like it's very – you're not really going for broke a lot of times? It seems like it's very measured how you approach those.
A: I'd say each week is different, and we manage it the way we think we need to manage that game.
Q: I know you're focused on Philly, but the schedule you were handed, which you knew about way back when, is kind of weird with Washington coming up so close after just playing them. I'm just wondering if you change or split with how you prepare, knowing that you have Washington so close on the heels of having them last time, if you have to change stuff up a whole lot (and) how you balance that with preparing for Philly.
A: I think this week all our focus is on Philly. And then once we get done with this week, there's not much change in terms of scheduling or how we go about things. It's just we play an opponent. For them, it's back-to-back. And for us, there's a game in between. We'll be playing Philly and getting ready for Philly here starting today.
Q: So, you don't really split up the week and say, 'We've got Washington, and they've got the advantage having the off week,' basically three weeks to prepare for you a second time?
A: No. We did all our work leading up to that game, and now it's onto this game – playing the best team in the league. That's where all our focus has to be.
Q: Whereas (outside linebacker Azeez) Ojulari seemed to be on a pitch count, it seemed like (tight end Daniel) Bellinger jumped right back into the full fold. Why was he able to do that, and how did you think it went with his visor, catching the ball, doing all his responsibilities with the new equipment that he had to wear?
A: I think the two injuries were a little different. This was more of a contact to the eye, so we had to let that heal and then put the visor on and make sure he was ready to go. He was conditioning throughout when he could. And he played a lot of snaps yesterday. It was good to have him back. Hopefully, we just keep improving with him. But it definitely was good to have him out there.
Q: What happened with Rodarius Williams – why he went from playing what seemed like pretty well against the Cowboys to no snaps yesterday?
A: Each week, we sit down, we talk – the defensive guys and I, and we figure out who we think we want in there for that particular week. The guys that were in there this week were the guys we wanted in there.
Q: This seems to be like the first real test of adversity for this team, right? Things went pretty well earlier in the year. You won seven of nine, but now you've won once in five games. You have players that are unhappy, and saying it publicly, with their playing time. And even some of your decisions were criticized yesterday. How do you handle adversity, and how much do you view this as a critical point for your team and sort of what you're trying to build here?
A: Well, adversity and criticism come with the territory. I've been in, not this seat as a head coach, but a coordinator for a long time, and it's a popular game followed by a lot of people. And I appreciate the support. You also appreciate the negativity or criticism. If you want to be mentally tough and strong, this is the sport to be in, whether you're a coach, whether you're a player. And really, you can't focus too much on that. You appreciate it. I think we're all thankful for the support you get, but you just get back to work. There's adversity after every loss, sometimes there's adversity after a win. We've talked about that since probably April. There's going to be ups and downs, and to stay mentally strong and focused on the task at hand, that's not an easy thing to do all the time. But you need to do it. It's a week-to-week league, so have we got the results we wanted? Absolutely not. Have we prepared, worked and done the right things to give ourselves a chance? We have. We just haven't finished; we haven't done enough to win those games. I was proud of the team yesterday for the way they competed, losing two in a row and you're down 10-0 right away. So, the focus for us will always be on us and improving the things we need to improve from each individual, starting with me, all the way down to the team. That's, to me, the only way you know how to coach and work in this business.
Q: You monitor snap counts of all these guys obviously. I don't know when they come to you and say (safety) Julian (Love) might need a break and maybe the headset goes off at some point for you or (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) or (special teams coordinator) Thomas McGaughey. All 85 snaps and like 20 on special teams. When is too much too much?
A: Yeah, he'll have a vet day on Wednesday.
Q: He's been told that already?
A: Yeah, and a couple other people.
Q: Who else?
A: (Defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) is the plan. (Guard Mark) Glowinski, those three right now.
Q: Do you ever think, 'You know what? We've got to back off Julian with some of the special teams stuff because he's going to play,' I mean 85 snaps is a lot for anybody.
A: Yeah, you're always talking about that. We had made a couple of adjustments with some other of the players that were starters. We'll always talk about doing that, particularly now in December.
Q: Of course, your coordinators don't want to hear it either when you start taking their players away from them.
A: Yeah, you want your best players on each unit because you never know which play is the most important play.
Q: I know this is more of a looking ahead question and you're not really in a looking ahead mode, but they just announced that you guys were getting flexed in Washington to Sunday night. You guys, in terms of that kind of opportunity, obviously the guys are going to want to get back to Washington and kind of finish what you didn't do yesterday. Does the challenge of facing a team as talented as Philly help you keep the focus where you want the focus to be without looking ahead to what's coming in a week?
A: Again, this is something that we've talked about since the day we got here: You focus on the day, and you make the most out of that day. Then you focus on the week, and you make the most out of that week. You don't get too far ahead of yourself. I've said this before: You get humbled real quick in this league, so you don't get too high when things are going great. You don't get too low when things aren't exactly the way you want them; you keep a consistent approach. So, our focus will be on Philadelphia, again against a team that's pretty much run through everybody. And I think that's plenty for us to focus on.
Safety Julian Love
Q: Obviously, you look at the box stats, you played 104 snaps yesterday. What does that feel like the next day?
A: Somebody told me my snaps must have been high. I was in to lift this morning – and I feel sore. But I don't know, I feel like I always feel sore. I try to go hard when I'm in there, and we'll see how I feel the next day. It's kind of crazy. It's the second time in my career I've been over 100 (snaps).
Q: What was the other time?
A: I think it was my rookie year, or maybe second year. Maybe my rookie year because it was against the Eagles or at the Eagles, and I was starting. But then I was also on all four phases of special teams. So, it added up real quick.
Q: It seems like you haven't missed very many tackles. It seems like you always (have) good form tackling. It's a lot more of an observation than a question, but where does that come from? Why are you such a good tackler?
A: I appreciate that. I take pride in it. If you kind of analyze everything I've ever said to you guys for the past four years, I always say I take pride in my tackling and I think it's serious. I attribute it to being just a kid playing pickup ball all the time. It's like, you've got to be a good tackler. If you weren't, you were seen as the soft kid in the neighborhood. So, I took it seriously. I work at it. I really grind away at it. In college as a corner, I was probably the most efficient on my team. It goes back to high school. I think it's just not being afraid to be physical. Also, I don't look it, but I pack some strength. I really kind of go at it in the weight room, so I'm able to deceive people with what I bring to the table on tackles. It's a whole mixture of things, but I really grind at it.
Q: What do you make of a tie? What do you make of what's going on in the playoff race? I know you guys are focused on Eagles, but you're a sharp guy. You know what's going on in the conference, in the division, everything else. And the fact that after the Eagles that you have the Commanders again with maybe a sense of unfinished business. What's going through your head right now about what comes next?
A: It was weird, it was my first tie. I don't know, it just felt like the game just ended. It was very weird. I don't know if I've ever been in a situation like that before. I think we put ourselves in a good position for this game – for the game against Washington that we tied. We just didn't make the plays that needed to be made. There were a few out there for us, so if you make one of those, the game goes a different way. We do get another shot. Obviously, we're still in this thing. The hard work that we've put in all season has put us in the position that we still have opportunities in front of us. We're taking it as that. We recover, we try to get guys back, stay healthy. But we take it as we still have opportunities in front of us.
Q: You know when you win a game, you help yourself. You know when you lose a game, you hurt yourself. What did you guys do to yourselves moving forward after that game?
A: I think in the building, it kind of felt like a loss. It's better than a loss. It's worse than a win. It felt like a loss to a lot of us because we're competitors. We feel like we should have won that game with the opportunities that we were given. But for every game you feel that way. I think we just chip away at it and grind away at it. We'll get another chance against them. We have an opportunity in front of us with the Eagles. The energy is the same. Dabs (head coach Brian Daboll) is pretty consistent in how he is after a win, losses – or now ties – in addressing what we did well and helping us address and correct what we didn't do well.
Q: From what you know about the playoff scenario, how do you think the tie affects you?
A: I'm not sure. Usually, I'm pretty analytical and kind of understand all that stuff. But I'm not fully sure the full breakdown of these last five games. I just know there are some wins out there that we need.
Q: Before I get to my question, what's up with the sweatshirt? Is there a reason for that?
A: Oh, Alcorn State versus Jackson State? The creator of this hoodie is a Black artist, so I got this just to kind of support them and support Black-owned businesses. It's a nice little vintage crewneck. I'm a fan of crewnecks, if anybody's looking for a Christmas gift for me for the holiday season (laughs). So, that's what this is.
Q: What did you think of the job (cornerback) Nick McCloud did? We made a big deal about you playing every snap, but Nick McCloud was a guy playing no snaps not long ago. (What did you think about) the job he did there, settling into number two corner?
A: Nick's a good player. I think when we brought him in and gave him a few opportunities early on, everybody quickly realized how good of a player he is. He's a guy that's definitely on the rise; he's physical when he needs to be. He's good in coverage. He's fast. He has a lot of ability to him. I think going into the game, we felt, I felt extremely confident in him because I know the type of competitor he is. He has that way about him that gives people confidence. We're looking to build off of his abilities because right now, we need it.
Q: And then the flip side of that, obviously when a guy plays that much, somebody else doesn't play. (Cornerback) Rodarius (Williams) didn't play, and certainly seemed upset about it on Twitter. As a captain, as a guy in the secondary, did you pull him aside? Did you say anything to him about keeping his head up, about venting frustrations on social media? Were there any kind of conversations between you and him that you can share?
A: We didn't have a one-on-one. We kind of talked as a (group). We're pretty open in this building, in our position groups. The reality is it fluctuates now with a lot of guys up and down. Matchups are just different each week, and so some guys had to step up. He wasn't really training in some positions, and like I said, Nick McCloud has been showing a lot. That doesn't mean that we feel any less about Rodarius. He came in today, was locked in on the film. He had good energy for us on the sidelines yesterday. It's a tough situation. I've been there before. But you stay resilient because you know your time is coming, and he's a really talented player. We're going to need him down the stretch for sure.
Q: You've been a part of teams before. You go back to college, you guys knew what it was like to be in a championship hunt. You go for a playoff spot, you know the meaning of each game. You don't really put the stakes aside. You kind of focus on the stakes of those games. Now it seems like the stakes are here for the first time for you guys, and you want the week-to-week focus. Is that a strange feeling to not throw the standings up on the board and kind of zero in on, 'Okay, this is what we need to do this week versus this is what we need to do next week,'? Your mindset, does that appeal to you? Or are you one of those guys that loves to kind of attack, 'Okay, if we do this and they do that, here's where we stand,'? Because you said you were an analytics guy, so I've got to imagine if someone threw the playoff possibilities on your stool in front of the locker, you'd be the kind of guy who would look at them and not really be distracted by anything else.
A: Yeah, I think as a leader of this team, I've got to have some sort of a big picture mindset on things. But for the day-to-day – for guys who haven't been in this position, for guys who are looking to me for a way to feel about this hunt and these last five games – I try to keep it as minimal as possible and kind of focus on guys just getting better each week. Say we didn't tackle well this game, (then) let's work on tackling this game. Stuff like that. That keeps a sharp focus on what we have in front of us. There are opportunities right now that we have. I see it sometimes, and I kind of know what the situation could be. Taking away from this past game, our energy was really good. We put ourselves in a great position. We got that turnover after halftime, which I'm really excited about because the game prior, we didn't start fast in the second half against Dallas. Stuff like that is stuff we need to build on and kind of get back to. Our third down numbers on defense were really good this game. Just things like that, I think I was stressing what we needed to get to. We wanted to win, obviously, but the captain in me was kind of gauging and scoping out our energy and the things that I thought we needed to get back to. Going forward, we need to keep doing that and it'll fall our way.
Q: Is there almost a compartmentalization of it where there's a group of guys on this team that can look at big picture and see where you're, at but also when you step inside that locker room you kind of have to deal with it a different way?
A: 100 percent. If you're running any organization, it's important that you keep a majority of people on that short-term focus, short-term goals. Then it creates a long-term effect. Yeah, right now I'm a captain; I'm a part of that group that needs to look at things going forward. That's been going on the whole year, whether it's scheduling stuff, and that's just kind of generally how it is. Dabs has done a great job of keeping us focused on each week-to-week but also letting us know – I mentioned before how we quarter out a season. We're done with really the third quarter now; we didn't play as cleanly as we wanted to as we did in the first quarter and second quarter. So now the fourth quarter of the season, we've got to lock in and really get what's in front of us.
Tight End Daniel Bellinger
Q: How did you come out of the game? They certainly did not ease you into anything. Do you feel bad about missing two snaps?
A: I knew going in I was going to play a lot and I was comfortable with it. I felt good physically. I know I did a good job with the training staff keeping in shape, so I don't feel bad about missing the two snaps, but I wish I could be in there every play.
Q: Do you find yourself thinking about the eye? Any issue at all? Comfort with the visor things like that.
A: No. Originally, I thought maybe going in I might be hesitant thinking about the eye and stuff, but it wasn't like that at all. I went in and felt confident with it, didn't really think about it all. Took a couple big hits and didn't feel anything, which is good.
Q: What was the feelings like pregame? Were you nervous almost like your first NFL game again? Butterflies? Was it just like picking up right where you left off Week 8 and how were you like pregame?
A: There's always butterflies before every game, but I was anxious to get back out there. The last few weeks (I) kind of just watched on the sideline. I was just anxious to get back out there and try to help the team as much as I could. So, I was more excited than anything to just get back out there and start playing again.
Q: (Tight ends coach Andy Bischoff) Coach Bischoff said that, and obviously I don't mean to demean your injury, but you had like a four-week bye week where you just got to like get the playbook and learn, stuff like that. How did you make the best of what was an obviously ugly difficult situation. What benefits did you get out of it?
A: Yeah, of course as a rookie I still have a lot of stuff to learn and improve on. A a big part of that is the mental side of the game and the smaller stuff outside. Like learning how to keep my body right even though I'm not involved too much because of the injury. Kind of being mentally locked in and helping my teammates as well. Trying to be a leader in the future on this team it's going to take a big role that even when I am out on injury to help my other tight ends and helping anyway I can; Anything I see on the sideline that I can help communicate with them. The biggest part was really just being locked in mentally and still growing my mental game. Definitely reading defenses and seeing how defenses adjust to our different tight end personnel's and stuff like that. So, definitely being locked in mentally was the biggest part of the four-week bye week for me.
Q: Who did you rely on away from the facility? Obviously, you have trainers. When you were going through it, after the surgery, and when you needed people do you have a roommate? Did your parents come out at all? Siblings? I think you have a sister. Did anyone come out and stay with you, make you meals and help you get through what was a difficult time off the field?
A: Yeah, the team helped me out a lot. I was able to bring my girlfriend in and my mom in to help me out and kind of just like you said just make some meals for me. I couldn't drive with one eye, so they helped drive me around and run errands for me, I guess. But really just my mom and my girlfriend helped me out a lot.
Q: When you left the locker room last night and really you weren't the only one, the mood it was just a strange feeling leaving after that tie after 70 minutes. It seemed like it was an unfinished feeling. A day later when you guys were in the building today, I know there's direction from the coaching staff to push forward, and it's onto the next week, but how would you describe the mood even before you guys got into meetings today?
A: Of course, there's a sour taste in my mouth, we want to win. There's a lot of things that we did personally that could've helped us win, and it wasn't so much what they did to stop us it was what we did and our execution that could've helped us win that game. So, we just came in with a positive mindset because we still have work to do, and we still have a good chance to keep fighting and keep winning. We just came in with a positive mindset to attack to the film and look at anything that we messed up on, and basically try to figure out how we need to execute better to grow as an offense and as a team.
Q: From a mindset perspective you have the second game against Washington that you know is coming up, so there's that continuation to make up for what happened yesterday. Does it help reset you guys now and not look ahead because you have such a daunting challenge against the Eagles who have really in (head coach Brian Daboll) Dabs' words have run through just about everybody in the league this year.
A: Our mindset on it is just take it one day at a time, one practice at a time, one play at a time. That's what we're going to do, just take it one day at a time. We're going to focus on the Eagles now, got to get into the film and start setting them up and game planning those guys. Just take it one day at a time, get better each day, and once we get back to the Commanders, we'll attack them and take that one day at a time as well.
Q: You mentioned the visor, how was it catching the ball with the visor? Does it appear darker and what not? How did you adjust to the visor?
A: The visor for me was kind of like wearing sunglasses. It kind of helped block the sun a little bit but didn't impair the vision too much, which is what I was worried about when I was told that I first had to put on the visor. Especially right after the injury because I wore one in high school, but I couldn't remember what it was like. I knew it got foggy, and I knew sweat got all over it, but definitely getting adjusted to it still with the sweat and fogginess. Really the vision side of it, I honestly feel like helped me more because it's kind of like wearing sunglasses on a sunny day.
Q: So, do you now have to get a cool design on your visor or some sponsorship? Like (Chiefs wide receiver) Kadarius (Toney) had those joker things on his visor. Are you know going to have to capitalize on it?
A: I don't know about that yet. I wouldn't say I'm the flashiest guy, so I'll probably just keep it as it is, but I like how it just helps my eyes overall. I don't know about the designs and stuff, but you never know, we'll see.
Q: How about physically? How did you stay in shape for lack of a better word? How did you stay conditioned to go and play that many snaps when most injured guys are on a pitch count?
A: I think the training staff helped me out a lot. They did a great job of keeping me in shape physically and mentally with my legs in the weight room. It was difficult at first. There was a lot of stuff that we couldn't do with my eye just because of the pressure of weightlifting, and we weren't sure about the bleeding inside the eye when I first started getting back into the conditioning. We took a slow approach at first, but then we started ramping it up once it was safe with the eye. After that, it was ramped up and the training staff I feel like just helped me the most with keeping in shape.