Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: Thought it was a productive practice yesterday with the Jets. I thought we got a lot accomplished. It was good to see another color jersey, guys going against different skillsets, the competitiveness. I thought we practiced the right way. (Jets Head) Coach (Robert) Saleh and his team I thought did a fantastic job, and we tried to reciprocate it. We got a lot out of it. It was good work.
Q: Where do you stand on playing time in the game after that kind of practice?
A: We're going to talk about it today after practice and probably tomorrow morning. And then we'll have a feel of exactly what we want to do.
Q: With the signing (Kicker Ryan) Santoso, was that a sign that (Kicker) Graham (Gano) is obviously not out of the concussion protocol?
A: Yeah, he wasn't ready to go. So, figured we'll get Ryan. Let him kick some more. We always have (Punter) Jamie (Gillan) if we need it. But that was the thought. And we added (Wide Receiver) Travis (Toivonen), too, for our receiving guys.
Q: For playing time in that preseason game, is it just deciding how much we want guys to play, or are you insistent on having your starters play in that game? You've been pretty heavy on wanting your guys to play.
A: Not necessarily. I think we've got a lot of good work. We'll have another good day today. We'll talk about that as a coaching staff and do what we think is right for our team (and) where we're at at this point.
Q: How much of a relief was it to get the news about (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari)? I'm sure you saw him pull up, and it didn't look good initially.
A: Yeah. Anytime you get better news on an injury that it may or may not be, I think you're always happy as a coach. But he'll be day-to-day. We'll just keep on grinding him through.
Q: Can that injury possibly threaten his Week 1 availability?
A: I don't know yet. Don't know. I'd just say, again, day-to-day. That's where he's at. When he's out there is when he'll be out there.
Q: Is there anyone right now that you know will not be ready for Week 1? Because some guys haven't been seen in a week or so.
A: No. We'll get to that point, but not at this point.
Q: What kind of a summer have you seen from (Outside Linebacker) Oshane (Ximines)? He's been kind of the fill in guy while your other outside linebackers have been out.
A: Yeah. I think he's done a good job. He's been ready to go. He's been available. He's been improving. He's a big-body guy. Got heavy hands. Does a good job of setting the edge. Think he's picked up the the defense well. (Outside Linebackers Coach Drew Wilkins) Drew's done a good job with him. So, we need that from our guys.
Q: Will you give (Inside Linebacker Carter) Coughlin or (Inside Linebacker Cam) Brown some reps on the edge just because of numbers and them having played there in the past?
A: That could happen, yeah. Based on where we're at, that could happen. I'm not going to say it's definitely going to happen, but I addressed that with the defensive staff just to make sure those guys are ready in case we need it.
Q: Was (Outside Linebacker) Jihad (Ward) on the field yesterday? We were watching the offense.
A: Yeah. He didn't do anything relatively out there, but he's getting better.
Q: What's (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) doing?
A: I just put him down for yesterday. He's had a lot of reps. He'll be fine.
Q: What would you say is the most surprising thing that you've learned about (Quarterback) Daniel Jones since coming into the building, whether that be on the field or off it?
A: True pro. Works extremely hard. He's in real early. Stays real late. He's good with his teammates. He's a good communicator. He's improved every day since we've been here – I'm not just saying in training camp. Good young quarterback to work with.
Q: In what sense has he improved specifically?
A: Really with everything. Again, it's hard to learn a new offense and execute it right off the bat. There's so many moving pieces when you're installing a new offensive scheme from cadence to play call to reads to protection systems to check-with-me's to audibles to NASCAR or fastball terms. There's a lot to learn. So, each day I think he's making progress with it.
Q: Presuming you haven't made a determination on this yet, but at what point do you want to decide who's going to be your play caller Week 1 offensively?
A: When we play that week. (Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka) Mike's done a good job. He'll call this one, and we'll revisit like we revisit all of it. But he's done a (good job). Lot of confidence in Mike.
Q: I think knew (Safety) Xavier (McKinney) when he was a freshman at (The University of) Alabama, right?
A: X? Yeah.
Q: What kind of leadership skills did you see from him when he was coming into college, and then what have you seen from him?
A: I would say I was more focused on the offensive side of the ball in general. I'll just speak at my time here with the Giants. I think for a younger player, he has no problem speaking up. He's a good communicator. He knows the defensive system very well. I think he does a great job with, not just a defense backs, but communication with the linebackers, the front guys, the offense. He's really been a pleasure to be around.
Q: Do you have specific numbers at positions when you're making the 53, like you need to have 'X' amount of tight ends, 'X' whatever?
A: No, I think each year it's varied from the teams I've been on. And I'm certain it'll vary this year. You try to do the best job you can of creating the most competitive roster that you can have. Sometimes it's heavy on one spot, lighter on the other spot. The kicking game always has importance in really all those backend jobs. So, I'm sure it'll be little different than it was the year before or five years or 10 years.
Q: How about quarterbacks with that? You know, the practice squad rules changed about two years ago, three years ago. Does that affect how you do that? Would you keep three quarterbacks on the active roster?
A: We could. Yeah. We could. I'm not saying we will. I think everything's on the table at this point. This will be an important week for a lot of players – the last game to evaluate them. We'll have discussions. We've had them. We'll continue to have them. But I wouldn't rule anything out.
Q: You've been in this league when you would have your final cuts and then you guys roll right into the game week. The fact that they've built in now – over the last couple of years – this extra week, how does it alter your preparation for Week 1?
A: Good question. We'll focus on ourselves still here coming up this week. I think you can overdo preparing for a team, both as a coaching staff and as players. At least, that's what we've done the last four years when I was at Buffalo. So, we'll focus on improving the things we need to work on. And again, it'll give some time for guys to get rested up and healed up and hopefully we'll have as many out there as we can.
Q: Have you decided how many days of practices you're going to have next week?
Q: So, you'll do, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday?
A: Yeah. I think it's Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Yeah.
Q: Do you think Daniel had a good practice yesterday, and how do you think he's grown in the last few weeks?
A: Yeah, I thought he did some good things. Again, he's taking steps each day. He's improving his eyes, his vison on this – whether it's the second level the third level – his reads, his footwork, his ability to get to checkdowns when we need to. I think he's seeing downfield clearly. Again, I think Daniel's improved every day he's been here. And part of it is just him – the type of person he is, the way he works. I think we're building. We still got a long way to go. But I'm pleased with his progress, his leadership, how he's handled things. Each day we've gotten a little bit better.
Q: Where do you stand with that left guard spot at this point? I know you've had a lot of injuries and some guys I guess that are pretty limited.
A: I think that's probably a better one for next week or the week after that. We'll see where we're at physically. We definitely have people that have played inside there, and in a week or two, we'll make sure we have who we think is the right person in there.
Q: We haven't seen (Guard) Shane (Lemieux). How's he doing?
A: He's coming along. But I wouldn't anticipate him anytime soon.
Q: So, he won't play Week 1?
A: Probably not.
Q: You mentioned the other day the idea of the urgency, seeing your guys, knowing what's coming on Tuesday. For you, you've made a point to say you want to connect with the guys individually. Is there any point over the next 48 hours that you'll go to guys who you know are on the bubble and kind of, I don't know if it's a pep talk or motivational, or do you kind of just let things play out the way they are?
A: At this time of year, everybody's kind of on – I wouldn't want to call it stress. It's important to everyone, just put it that way. And everybody knows it's important to each person out there. And again, just the amount of respect that I have for the players. I think everybody deals with that in their own way. I tell them all they can focus on is doing the best job they can do. And that's each and every day that we've evaluated since we've been here. And if you can do that, you can live with yourself.
Q: What about (Outside Linebacker) Elerson (Smith) for Week 1?
A: We'll see. We'll see.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How'd you feel about sitting out the last game, and how would you feel if you sat this one as well?
A: Like I said I'm always down for whatever coach wants me to do. That was his decision. We haven't spoken about what's coming this weekend. But my mindset is just to come in ready and prepared to work.
Q: What was that game you were playing after practice? It was not like hot potato, but the --
A: Oh, like the clap ball? Yeah, I don't even know what the game's called. I don't really know. I guess they've been doing it, and it looked fun. So, I kind of just kind of joined.
Q: Good to get that competition in?
Q: Who's the best at it?
A: Today, (Safety) Julian (Love) and (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) won. But I would say that I think I'm the best at it. But every day is different.
Q: Do you have this Week 1 game circled for you in terms of not necessarily who you're playing but just being healthy, being back out there, a fresh start to a new season?
A: I wouldn't really say that Week 1 is the one I circled. It was kind of just camp. Just football in general. I was so excited to get back. Fresh start. New faces. Familiar faces. Even though it was long, and it was tiring, in a weird way you kind of love the grind of camp. And that's where you kind of build your team together and find out where you need to work on. Find out what things we're capitalizing on in camp and take that onto the season. So, that's been my mindset it was never really circling Week 1 or a certain game. It's just really coming into camp and attacking that day. And attack that process. And get better every day.
Q: For you, we've seen a different public demeanor from you going back to the spring. If defiant – maybe you're angry at times about how you're perceived. What is kind of dropping an F-bomb in a podcast, not that there's anything wrong with that, but what kind of triggers that? Didn't seem like that was necessarily you, per say, your first couple of years, but maybe it was, and you just didn't…
A: I would say that's always been me. I mean, I guess just my mindset's different. Just have a different mentality. And I'm just in a place where I'm thankful – blessed. And just taking one day at a time. I mean I really, I wouldn't say anything triggered it, but I guess I would say just probably being out a couple of games the last two years. Just probably being fed up and not even with like the outside noise, but just even with having to sit out games and rehab and all that, all the bad stuff I guess you could say. I guess I'm kind of just fed up with that. So, that kind of just takes me to a place where right now I'm just happy, enjoying life, enjoying the game I love, and I just want to go out there and have fun.
Q: What are your takeaways from Head Coach (Brian) Daboll's coaching style so far?
A: I like it. He's aggressive. I feel like not only him, but all the coaches are going to do a really good job of putting your playmakers in position to make plays, whether that's on offense or defense, and it's our job to go out there and capitalize.
Q: I'm curious what do you mean by aggressive? What do you mean when you say aggressive?
A: For example, in the preseason game last week, we had fourth and one? And I don't think we got it. And he told us on the sideline, that's how he is and that's how he's going to call it and he trusts in us. It's our job and our responsibility to go out there and convert.
Q: How do you feel where you're at going into the season? I'm talking about you personally. Health. Just how you feel and how ready you feel compared to this year, the past.
A: I'm really ready. If I have to compare it to last year, way beyond what I was before. At this point last year, I just started getting back into practice because New England was our last preseason game last year, right? I just started getting back into practice. And I really didn't have as much of a time just with how the rehab process went with my knee to get myself ready. And now I don't have that. I have the whole camp to come out every single day and do a joint practice against another team, to go against (Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence) Dex, (Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams) Leo, Zay (Xavier McKinney), and all those guys. Find ways to get better and build that chemistry with (Center Jon Feliciano) Felice and (Tackle Andrew Thomas) Drew and (Tackle Evan) Neal. So, I would say that compared to last year, it's not even close. And that's why I keep saying I'm just thankful because I can go back anytime. Like I know camp is a grind, but any time I'm like, 'Dang I can always go back. But you couldn't even do this at this moment last year, so take full advantage of it.'
Q: Anything specific you can do now? Anything specific you're talking about when you're like, 'I couldn't do this last year,'?
A: I couldn't practice.
Q: In terms of like when you're out there?
A: I couldn't really, I couldn't practice. I couldn't really do anything. I was on the side running on the third field just trying to simulate practice as much as I can, and it's like there's no way to get the mind and get the body and get in physical shape for football than actually playing football. I use the example of when you guys are in high school and you play football in high school, and then you go right to basketball season, and you think you're in shape because you play football all year. But then you go to basketball, and you're not in basketball shape. It's just two completely different things. And the only way you can get in football shape is by going out there and playing football. And that's what I was not able to do at this point last year.
Q: How much better is your offense with (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep on the field than off of it? Like how does he change the dynamic?
A: I wouldn't say the offense. I would just say the team. Everyone knows I'm a big believer in Shep; that's one of my best friends. Obviously, just we're closer not just as teammates, but outside of the team and outside of football. My daughter is really close with his daughters. And to see him back on the field brought a smile to my face. It actually hurt me when he got hurt in that game. I remember the play, and I was just like 'Oh man. It can't be. It can't be.' But to see all the work he put in and to finally get back on the field, it'll just make the offense better. It'll just make the team better because of his personality, his character, his leadership, and his energy. If anyone has anything to say about Shep, the first thing we talk about is just the way he's able to light up a room no matter what's going on. So that's big, and that's important. And I'm excited for him this year, too.
Q: What does he bring to your offense that is so unique? What can he add?
A: He's Young Shep.
Q: He's still Young Shep?
A: He's still.
Q: I remember (Safety Xavier) McKinney saying he's old now. Because he's been like he's a veteran.
A: I keep saying like the Young Shep name.
Q: No one else calls him that?
A: I mean we still call him the name Young Shep, but I joke and tell him, 'You're about 30, so the Young Shep name kind of got to go away.' But at the end of the day, seeing him run routes and seeing him go out there, he's still Young Shep. Meaning that he's a guy that's going to come out there with energy, and he can make plays. I feel like, and I don't want to speak for him, but I know in his mindset, his confidence, he feels like no one can mess with him out there. And it's important to have a guy out there that you know can play at that level, and like I said, I'm really excited for him to come back.
Q: Obviously, we're not to Week 1 yet, but you're going on the same field as (Titan Running Back) Derrick Henry. And you're obviously not playing against him per say, one of the best backs in the league, but when you step on the field with a guy like that, obviously not at the same time, do you want to, do you go into that game saying, 'I want to show them I'm just as good as this dude?' He's regarded as one of the best backs in the league.
A: I kind of had that mindset in college, but then I realized there's nothing I can do to control what he does.
Q: Well, you run for more yards than him.
A: But even say if I rush for this amount, it's not like a head-on battle. Obviously, at the end of the year, everybody wants a crown. Everybody wants a rushing title if you play the running back position, but there's nothing I personally can do. So, for me, that was kind of more my mindset in high school and college, but now there's something to it as a competitor. Like I already know I'm going to be in a game with Derrick Henry over there, with (Colts Running Back) Jonathan Taylor's over there on the side. (Panthers Running Back) Christian McCaffery's on the other side. (Packers Running Back) Aaron Jones is on the other side. You know, you have so much more respect for those backs. You take it personal at the end of the day, yeah you do; but at the end of the day, I can't control anything that they do. So, my mindset is just to go out there and be the best version of myself and be the best that I can be, and at the end of the day hopefully, the only thing that really matters is your team winning. So, that's what we want to accomplish in that environment.
Q: You obviously talked about not practicing, and then remember they obviously limited you with carries. Right first game last year? I think the first two, maybe. Something like that. How much more ready do you feel like you're able to hit the ground running this year? Like from the get-go, from Week 1, you will be full bore, full go, and everything.
A: I'm ready. I'm ready to go. But right now, like I said, I haven't had that conversation with Dabs yet, but my mindset is to get ready, get focused on playing the New York Jets, and that's the only thing I can control.
Safety Xavier McKinney
Q: What did you take away yesterday with the Jets?
A: I thought it was a good practice. I thought we competed well, I thought we executed well. I don't know how the offense did, but defensively I thought we did well. We had some little hiccups here and there but overall, I thought it was a good day for us.
Q: How ready do you think you guys are for the season and what do you think you need to do to get there?
A: I think we're ready. I think we've done a great job of getting prepared, making sure that we're conditioned, tightening up the little things as far as plays and things like that. I think the coaches have done a great job with us, of helping us get prepared and be ready for the season. So now, obviously we've got another game, so play that game and then onto the regular season.
Q: You expect to play in that game?
A: Yeah, I expect to play every game. We all do. I approach it in that way, in that mindset, just how we have the last two preseason games.
Q: What do you and your film prep and everything else for Week 1, how much do you wait? How hard is it to wait? Or have you already began digging in?
A: Oh yeah, I already began before we got here. I was already preparing for that Week 1 game before we started OTA's and everything. I was just kind of looking up some small things, but definitely exciting. We've all been getting prepared and ready for that Week 1.
Q: Why start so early?
A: Just to get a head start. To see the little things, like who the (Offensive Coordinator) OC is, what his background is, things like that. Obviously, you don't have too much information that early, but I found out as much as I could, I found some good stuff. Some stuff we will see if it holds true or not, but I found some good things. That's the reason for starting early, just to kind of get a head start on it.
Q: What's it like having (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shepard back?
A: It feels great. When he got hurt and I talked to him, I told him how much I looked up to him, how much he meant to us as a team, how much he meant to me as a leader on this team. It was great to have him back. His energy is like no other. He brings a great energy, a great spirit every day. He's just one of those guys you just love to be around, so definitely good to see him back out there moving like himself.
Q: What have you seen from guys like (Safety) Trenton (Thompson) or (Safety Yusuf) Corker or (Cornerback) Nate (Meadors)?
A: Yeah, they work hard. Those guys have come in each and every day just trying to get better, just trying to learn and we're learning with them. I think that's the good thing about all of us being pretty young, we're still all learning. We can feed off each other, we can help each other in different areas. They've done a great job of just coming in and helping a lot. Obviously, they went through a little learning curve or whatever, but they've done a great job just going out there and playing. In the film room, helping us out, bringing in those rookie snacks and stuff like that (laughs). They've been doing great though.
Q: Regarding Shep, how much do you guys look at him as the 'old head'? He has been here longer than everybody but he's not really that old.
A: Like I said, he's a true leader and that's how we see it. He's one of those guys that gets our team going. He's one of those guys that gets our offense going. Like I said before, we know how much he means to us as a leader and as a player. We don't really look at him as an old head because like you said, he's not super old, but he's one of our leaders.
Q: What kind of expectations or goals do you have for yourself for this season?
A: Just to play well, execute, and be able to help my team in any way that I can. Whether that's coming in here with a great amount of energy, whether that's helping the young guys, wherever I can help the team and whatever I'm being asked, that's pretty much my goals for the season. My personal stuff, I don't like to get too much into it or let that be public, but that's how I feel just for my team stuff.
Q: You're a young guy but have a leadership role already, what is that like for you to be so young but also know you have a lot on your plate?
A: I don't consider it a lot on my plate, it's things that I'm used to. It's things that I've done before. So, I don't see it as a lot, I see it as just things that I've already done before that I have to do again. I don't see it as a lot, it's obviously an honor to be in this position that I'm in and I expect to seize the opportunity and take full advantage of it.
Q: You're not really used to losing in your football career, right?
Q: How have you mentally processed what happened last year and how impatient are you to kind of turn it?
A: Pretty impatient. I try not to think too much about it because it's a new year and obviously we've got to focus on what's here. We had to go through those rough times, and we went through all of that losing. For me, I'm ready to get back out there, I'm ready to win games but I think that starts with the stuff we do out here in practice, the stuff that you guys see. It starts with the things that we do in the film room, it starts with what we do in the weight room. All the little things matter. That's what I've noticed, that's what it's always been. That's the difference between winning and losing – the little things. I think we've done a great job of taking care of that and I think the rest will take care of itself.
Q: The way that you have the green dot and we see you breaking down the team, has that always been you or did you have to come out of shell to be that vocal?
A: I've always been that way. I was that way at (University of Alabama) 'Bama and this is just who I am. That's why I say, it's not like heavy on my shoulders or too much on my plate. It's not a big deal to me because I'm used to doing it.