Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: Just moving right along. Had a good day yesterday – good competition. Like the way the guys moved around. We got a different situation today. Yesterday was kind of a little redzone as you guys saw, and today is really third and medium to a little bit less than that. So, kind of put the guys in tough situations as much as we can. Most of it's passing situations today with no pads on, so just try to string two good days together
Q: Were you happy with the tempo that you guys practiced yesterday? The tempo was impressive.
A: Yeah, credit the assistant coaches. We got to get from drill to drill. We got to move quickly. We got to get in and out of the huddle. When we go no huddle, it's got to be quick and crisp, and then we've got to play fast. Finish plays. Build our endurance in that regard, but the guys did a good job of running around. Again, first day. We'll probably have a few sore guys out there just from being off a little bit during the summer. Going to have to push through it and keep building.
Q: That was really your first look at (Wide Receiver) Kadarius Toney on the field since you hadn't seen him in the spring.
A: In person? Yeah.
Q: What were your impressions?
A: Being around him, he's a smart football player. He picks up things well in the meeting room. You can tell he has instincts even with him out on the field. The questions that he asks and the things that he sees. And we evaluated him when I was at Buffalo. Obviously, we thought he was a good player with quickness and speed and ability to do different things – run different routes. And it was good to see him out there with his teammates.
Q: Did you see that all from him? I mean, obviously, he's coming back from a little knee procedure.
A: Yeah, I thought he looked good. Now we got to try to string two together now.
Q: He lines up yesterday at outside receiver and makes that ridiculous pure receiver catch. What did you make of that, and what did think of his ability to be more than just a gadget guy?
A: Really, I just go back to one day at a time. It's practice, and there's going to be a lot of different things we ask a lot of different players to do. I don't get overhyped with one play or mad about another play. That's what practice is for.
Q: You got pretty excited when he made that catch.
A: Well, juice! Right there in the moment, a couple of those guys – that's important to come together as a team too and show emotion for one another. Player-to-player, coach-to-player, coach-to-coach, that's part of the team building process.
Q: How did he come out yesterday physically? Good to go?
Q: How about (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale Robinson, he had a nice corner route yesterday. Talk about him a little bit. What do you see from him?
A: Well, that goes back to the draft process of watching him and seeing what he's done and the vision we have for the kid – young man, I should say. Smart, he's another smart, instinctive player. We put him through a lot of tests and things like that in terms of before we drafted him – like we do with all our players to make sure they have the qualities that we look for. And we moved him around. We'll continue to move him around. Again, this is his first training camp practice. So, much to learn. Don't get too high; don't get too low. Let's just try to string them together. But good, young guy to work with. Just needs to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Q: Is there anything that has surprised you about him?
A: No, we did our due diligence on him. He's done a good job. He's earning our trust day-by-day.
Q: Obviously a lot of pre-snap motion in this offense. What does that accomplish for you? What are you trying to gain?
A: We're stationary. Well, no. I mean look, each day we kind of emphasize particular things. I know yesterday there was a lot of that. There will be probably some today. We're just installing our plays right now. Installing motions, installing shifts so the guys can get used to running them. There's time to do it, and there's time not. We got to make sure we're getting in and out of the huddle when there's longer plays with different types of motions. So, you're practicing all those things so that you want to run them when it really counts that you've practiced them enough that you feel comfortable with them.
Q: Does that put more pressure on the players? Is it more fun for them, and is it more demanding?
A: Yeah, that's a good question. I don't know. You'd have to ask those guys. I'm not really worried too much about fun. But what we're trying to do is whatever we need to do to help our guys and cause conflicts, issues with the defense. Is it more to learn? Sure because there's added calls to it. You start on one side and have to be on the other side. You got to start in the backfield and be out here. You know, there's a little bit of thinking that goes along with it. Again, back to the identity. Smart is the first thing we look for. And we certainly put a lot on these players. One, because I think they can handle it, and if they can't, we'll tighten it back and make sure we do the things that they can do. Again, first day of training camp. We're going to go through another however many of these guys. There's going to be more stuff added, different things that we do. And that's all really to prepare yourself when you start playing games. That's what practice is for.
Q: What did you think of Quarterback Daniel Jones' decision making yesterday?
A: I thought it was good. I thought it was good. I thought he was crisp in the huddle. He made some really tight throws, good throws. That's why we worked redzone. Really wanted to get their legs back a little bit. This is an area that we've got to improve on. So, we'll just string two good days together.
Q: Coach, I know that (Corner Back) Aaron Robinson had played a little bit of outside in college, mostly slot though. Now that you have him converting more to the outside, what have you seen from him so far? What makes him such a good fit for the outside?
A: Yeah, he's done a good job of playing man to man coverage. Good job in the zone stuff when (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) calls zone. He's a smart guy. He's got good movement skills. He's a good, young player to work with. It'll be a good camp for him to keep improving his skill set and compete with the other guys.
Q: Does the move to the outside actually complement his skills better than maybe in the slot?
A: It's just a little bit of a different game. Outside, there's usually one guy you're dealing with if you're a man-to-man team. Inside, there's a lot of things that happen with extra players dropping out. It's a little bit of a different game, but he's done a good job of doing the things we've asked him to do. We look forward to him continuing to improve.
Q: How has the approach of the redzone offensively changed through the years? It seemed like there was a time when the league trend was spread them out, and now it seems like it's more bunched and flood.
A: I think each coordinator or each play caller, if you will, has their own fingerprint on what they like to do. Whether that's copycat some other successful plays. What you're trying to do as a coach is utilize the players in the best way you can utilize them to help them get the ball into the endzone, which is ultimately the main goal of an offense. I wouldn't say we're just one thing. We're doing different things. We have a lot of things we could do and we will do during these training camps to figure out what we're really good at. But that's more of a one coordinator might see it a different way, and what you have and how you're working with it and what abilities your quarterback has play into it.
Q: What is your process throughout this camp to figure out if you and Mike Kafka will call the plays?
A: Yeah, (Offensive Coordinator) Mike (Kafka) has done a really good job in the spring, which he handled the scripts. And again, we talk on a day-to-day basis on plays and things to install. But he's been on the headset with (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones). And he'll be doing that through camp. And as we get closer to it, we'll sit down and discuss it. But I've been really happy with Mike. Not just his communication with the quarterback, but how he's handled the offensive staff, how he's handled the players. He has a really good demeanor about himself. Once we cross that bridge, which we've still got a little bit here to go, you guys will know.
Q: You've known Leonard Williams as an opponent and having to scheme against him. What did you think of him all those years, and then what do you think of him now?
A: Well, it's good to get to know him as a person. One, I thought he was a really good player. Got good length. Causes issues inside. Has power. Has quickness. Athletic. Drafted high for a reason. Really, it's just getting to know the person and what a great person he is. Cares about his teammates. Smart football player. So, he's a good guy to work with.
Q: Have you requested that he wear that open shirt?
A: Yeah, took that from Wink in his college days.
Do you know who ripped his jersey?
Q: Since Kafka has been the one talking to Daniel all spring and into the summer, would it be jarring if you were on the headset with Daniel in Week 1?
A: I talk to Daniel between every play. I meet with Daniel a lot. We have a good relationship – a working relationship. But it's good right now for Mike to be able to do those things with Daniel, with the offense.
Q: When you studied your personnel, did you look at (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) and say, 'I need to use him in different ways as a receiver?' From my perspective, he's probably running more routes down the field maybe than he has in the past.
A: That's a good question. When you get to a place, whether that's as a head coach or a play caller, the first thing you need to do is figure out what makes your players tick the best you can and build relationships with them before anything. And then once you get them out in the spring and see their skillset and what they can do, you have a vision for them, maybe before you got to the place. And then until they're actually doing things that you are going to ask them to do, or you come up with some new things that they've done in the past that they really feel comfortable with, I think that's the job of a coach. We're a far way away from that now right now. We're still experimenting with things and putting guys in different spots and utilizing offensive, defensively and in the kicking game, we're moving guys to see what they can do. And that's what you need to do this time of year is build your fundamentals but also figure out exactly what you got in each of your players. How much they can handle mentally. Do you have to pull back? Can you add more stuff? Hey, today let's add as much as we can add just to put as much pressure on these guys and see if they can pick it up. And if you have a bad practice or things aren't going well, at least you can put that in your memory bank and say, 'Hey, Week 1, Week 2, remember now, we tried to do this at the beginning part of camp or the third week of camp, and it didn't go too well. Let's have some awareness about ourselves as a coaching staff so we're not putting these guys in bad spots.'
Q: Did you see that, the receiving part, from him? Or is that just part of your offense?
A: No, you see him. I mean, you saw him coming out of Penn State. You see him running around here; he's a pretty skilled player. So, our job is to figure out ways to use him, whether he did it last year or the year before, two years, in college. When you're developing in a system, you kind of figure out what these guys do best, and you challenge them to do more. And if it doesn't look great, then you see if you want to keep pursuing it. And if you want to keep pursuing it, then you've got to get them better. And if not, then you just throw it away and do something else.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How are you feeling so far Saquon?
A: I feel good, always excited, starting year five with training camp, it's fun to see some of the fans back out there, kind of getting back to the normal routine and what it was my first and second year. It's fun, you get to go out there and play the sport that you love and try to get better every day.
Q: It's really early, but how do you feel about this offense so far and the way you're being used?
A: I'm very excited, not just for myself but for all the offensive weapons. I think [Offensive Coordinator Mike] Kafka, [Head Coach Brian Daboll] Dabs, and all the offensive coaches are doing a really good job at installing it and seeing what we're able to do, and for us we've just got to get in the playbook, learn, and take it day by day.
Q: What is the challenge of all the motion where you've got to be on point before the snap?
A: Obviously you've got to be locked in, you've got to be locked in. You've got to take that time outside of football, outside of meeting rooms, to learn and know yourself. You're going to have your mistakes, it's early in camp, but that's what training camp is about. It's coming in here, trying new things, seeing what we can do as an offense, and seeing what we can add to our offensive game plan when we get ready for our season.
Q: What do you think that's going to do; You've been in a lot of systems, this all-out motion, what do you think it's going to do when creating conflict?
A: I think I'd just elaborate on that, creating conflict. I don't think of what it's going to do, I kind of know what it's going to do, you see it out in practice. It forces the defense to think and it puts the advantage in our hands. We've got to execute on pre-snap, post-snap, and knowing what we've got to do because it can be a weapon for us. But, as I said, you can't look too far ahead, just got to keep working to get better day by day.
Q: Is that something that will continue to grow you think; Dabs talked a little about how he has to remember you guys are in year one, he's in year five or six. Is there more to it than you know?
A: I wouldn't be surprised, with Dabs & Kafka. They're very creative, all the offensive coaches are very creative. We've got a lot of weapons and talented guys on both sides of the ball. We've just got to keep coming in, keep learning, and keep getting better every single day.
Q: When we look out there, it seems you're running a lot more routes and not just into the flat, in this offense, how much do you see that more of being something you're going to do and what do you think that can do for your game if you do get that opportunity.
A: What do I see it doing for myself? I just want to be a versatile player and do whatever I can to help the team win. Whatever coach asks me to do, I'm going to go out there and try my best at it. Whatever I need to work on, continue to work on, and just evolve my game. That's something I want to do, become an overall better player, and I think this offense is giving me the opportunity to do that, so, I'm thankful and blessed to have that. So, for me, I've just got to take advantage of it by getting in the facility taking extra meeting time and learning the playbook.
Q:*Saquon when you were coming out of college, I have heard reports that there were times where you'd work with the receivers and work on route running, is that accurate? And, if so, how much time have you put into not just running standard routes, but fade routes?*
A: Yeah, that's accurate, that's an accurate statement in college, but every year in the NFL to be honest. Obviously, I haven't done it in the past here, or this is probably the first-time you guys have ever witnessed me working out with the wide receivers, but that's my offseason training. I do running back drills, a lot of running back drills, so I can expand my game and be more versatile when we do offensive trips or [Daniel Jones] DJ, needs some to throw, if he calls the wide receivers I try to make sure I'm there, and just try to learn because I want to do whatever I can to help this team win and expand my game. So, whatever coach needs me to do or asks me to do, I just go over there and try my best.
Q.*It's been about 10 questions and no one has asked you about your ACL. Do you sit there and ever sit there and look at yourself and say, "am I ever going to be the guy that lit up the league when I was a rookie?"*
A: I can't focus on that. I know what I am capable of doing and I know the talent that I have. The way I kind of think of it is the same mindset I had when I first came into the league when everyone asked me what my expectations are, and this and that. The way I look at life is if I take care of the little things and take it day by day the rest will take care of itself and control what I can control. In the last couple of years, a lot of things have been out of my control, specifically injuries, just some freak accidents. But I know the work that I put in and how hard I train. How I challenge my body and challenge my mind, so I know what I'm capable of doing. For me, I can't look too far into the future, I can't get caught up in, "Oh when I get back this is what I am going to do, or this is what I am going to do." I can't focus on that. I have to focus on getting back in there, getting my acupuncture done, getting to my meetings, watching film, going home and getting some good sleep and letting my body recover, and then worrying about the next day. If I can have that mindset and take care of that, the rest will take care of itself.
Q.*It's your fifth training camp.*
A: Yeah, it's flying by, right?
Q: That's half your career.
A: Yeah, maybe. You never know. Like I said, I can't look too far into it. But I'm 25 now, in year five and one of the older guys in the building. I've been through a lot of ups and downs, but I got to use that to my advantage. I can use that to lead. Especially with some of the adversity that I've had to deal with in the last couple of years. I think that it's not only helped me as an athlete but just as a person, as a man, as a brother, and as a teammate. Just trying to be there and lead the best I can through the stuff I've learned through the previous four years and the stuff I will continue to learn.
Q.*Do you think this team will be in a position to win before your time here is up? Whether that is one, five, seven, or eight years.*
A: I mean that's what you hope right? You hope to come to a spot, whenever that may be and when you are done with that spot make it better than what it was when you came in. I'm really confident in our coaching staff and confident in everyone in the building. Just the system that we have in place. You can't get too caught up in the wins and losses right now. You just have to focus on taking care of every single day. I know I sound like a broken record, or I know I sound like this is what coach Dab's is saying or this is what everyone is saying but, I truly believe that. I truly believe if you just focus on the little things day by day, the rest is going to take care of itself.
Q.*You've mentioned the last couple of years haven't gone how you wanted, and the contract doesn't go on past this year. How big of a season does this make it for you?*
A: The last two years not going how I wanted, I kind of have been reflecting on that. Everything happens for a reason; everything happens for a reason. So, the adversity, the injuries that were put in my way these last two years, God has a bigger plan and it's all going to work out. So, coming up on this year, year five, for me I just want to, as I said in my first interview when I talked to you guys this year, I just want to show the (New York) Giants that they guy that they drafted is still here. I can still go out there and make the plays and help my team be successful. That's the only thing I am focused on. Take care of myself, take care of my body, take care of my mental, and try to be the best teammate I can be.
Q.*Have you accepted that you are going to play in the last year of your contract? Or are you hoping that the work you put in this offseason starts conversations about getting an extension?*
A: That's a great question. Like I said, you can't focus on that stuff. Obviously, that stuff is up in the air. I know that coming into year five, coming into my option year, my thing is just, like I keep saying if I take care of the little things and God blesses me, and nothing crazy happens, the rest will take care of itself. I know where I am at mentally, I know where I'm at physically. I know what I am capable of doing. I just have to focus on taking care of my mind, my mental, and try to be the best teammate that I can be. That's every single day. When the time comes, it is going to pay off.
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: They found you a new practice jersey pretty quick.
A: Yeah, they ripped it the first day. But we got a new one out there today.
Q: Who was the culprit?
A: I'm not sure. It's just – the competition's the culprit (laughs).
Q: Did you take that kind of as a compliment though that they had to hold your jersey to hold you and stop you?
A: I mean it was kind of funny, like me and the D-line laughed about it. Some of my old college friends and the fans got a good laugh out of it and stuff like that. You know, I was joking around to the offensive line like, 'Yeah, you guys have got to do all this to stop me.' But you know, it's friendly competition and that type of stuff happens when you're going full speed.
Q: It looked like there were a couple snaps where you got a chance to go against the tackles today, and you were going against (Offensive Tackle Evan) Neal at one point. Just curious, what do you make of those challenges when you get to see them?
A: Yeah, we had a play where our outside linebacker had to cover somebody in the flat, and I had to pop to out so I could contain from a 3-technique. I like being out there on the edge and space sometimes, but I primarily like rushing from a 3-technique. But I still like to switch it up from time-to-time and going against different guys. Evan Neal, he is going to be a great player – it's fun going against him.
Q: Is there any instance, especially with a young guy like Evan Neal, where you pull him to the side and teach him or give him little tips that he can use to go against opponents? Or do you keep all that to yourself?
A: I haven't really had a chance to talk to him so much yet. That's probably some of the offensive line's – I'm sure (Tackle) Andrew Thomas and some of those guys are taking care of him right now. I'm still trying to look out for some of my rookies, but I obviously want him to be good. So, I'm going to give him my best when I have a chance to go against him, and that's the only way he's going to get prepared for when it's time to go against another person. Like I said, he's big, he's strong and he's catching up on the game pretty quickly.
Q: Speaking of your rookies, what have you seen from (Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux)?
A: Kayvon – in OTAs he didn't practice too much, but we're glad to have him back out here now. We're waiting to put the pads on to see where everybody's at going full speed and full physicalness. So far he's – we're all, not just him – trying to learn the playbook and the speed of the game right now.
Q: How much have you noticed the uptick in motion that the offense is showing you? (Head Coach) Brian (Daboll) says that he wants to create conflict. What have you noticed are the differences and does it create conflict?
A: Yeah, I think it does. The offense is showing a lot of diversity, and it definitely confuses defenses. I think when you have enough weapons on offense, you allow your offense to have that type of diversity. I think it's good for the offense.
Q: Can you tell already that all of this pre-snap stuff is making you think more, maybe?
A: I'm a defensive lineman, so I get my checks most of the time from the linebackers and stuff like that. But I can just hear the safeties and linebackers and the second level communication, and it's constantly changing. I can tell motions and stuff like that are happening while my hands are in the dirt because I hear those guys communicating in the backend. It's causing a little bit of confusion, and it's good for us as well – as a defense – to learn our communication and the things that we have to check as well. Like I said, the offense is doing a good job as well of creating that diversity.
Q: As a defense, during the season, you're going against teams last year that used pre-snap motion collectively. Sometimes it's done for eye candy, but then other times it's more dangerous when it's actually with a purpose. Are you able to get a sense – you can tell the difference?
A: Yeah, even that eye candy stuff a lot of times they do it just to see if we're in man or zone and stuff like that, which is still helpful for the offense. Even further than that, they're doing it just to create different matchups, create different types of weapons and stuff like that. Sometimes you get a really speedy slot-type of guy lined up on a linebacker, which is a mismatch, and stuff like that. They're doing a good job of that right now.
Q: Is the defense still in a feeling out stage trying to learn everything, or how far along are you?
A: We pretty much almost installed everything during OTAs. We're still learning and we're still restarting obviously, and we didn't put everything in yet. I feel like near the end of OTAs, guys were picking it up pretty quickly. It feels like we got it down pretty good. The communication was good. Now we're starting from the beginning again, and it feels even easier learning it this time around.
Q: Do you feel like you're going to be any good?
A: Yeah, I mean I feel like (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) is a great coach. I feel like this defense is doing a good job of coming together and being a unified defense. I think that's the most important thing with a defense that has so many moving parts. The communication and unity as a defense is really major.