Head Coach Brian Daboll
Daboll: How's everybody doing? So, it'll be a big week for us here. Today we have a padded practice. Tomorrow we'll practice against the Jets. Then we'll have our normal Friday. So, big week ahead. Focused on today and should have a good practice out there.
Q: What have you learned so far about this team from when you started to where we are now?
A: They just keep getting better every day. They got a good mindset. They come in. They work hard. They do what's asked of them; spend extra time on taking care of things that they need to take care of. It's been a good group to work with.
Q: You put two guys on the reserve/PUP list, but not (Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard) Shep. Where does he stand? Will he be back?
A: Yeah. He'll be back today.
Q: What do you mean by back today?
Q: Doing just individual drills and stuff, or he's actually going to do more?
A: We'll kind of ramp him up. We'll ramp him up just like we did when the other guys come back. But he's done a good job in his rehab, and it'll be good to have him out there.
Q: Do you have a general philosophy of quarterbacks playing in the preseason? Your starting quarterback. A lot of coaches do it differently. Do you have any thoughts on it?
A: No, just off of my experience of this year, I think you've got to do what's best for your guys. And I thought the first game, getting (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) some work. And then the second game was good for him, was good for our entire offense. And we'll see how it goes for this third game. I think it probably depends on where you're at in terms of your offensive installation, how many years you've been together, probably a lot of other factors.
Q: Do you know how you're going to use him on Sunday?
A: No. I think we got two good days here ahead of us in pads. And then we got our Friday. We'll make that decision later in the week rather than earlier.
Q: It seems that (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) is carrying something of a defiant mentality into the season. How much do you think that approach will serve him well in what he's trying to accomplish?
A: I don't know. I think that's probably a good question for him. I just know that – I've said this before – since spring and since summer, he's done everything we've asked of him. He's been really a pleasure to coach. He's had a good mindset. He's learned our stuff. He's played hard, and he's ran hard. What's in his head or what he's thinking, I think is better off for him. I just know he's done a really good job for us really since we've been here.
Q: Is there something you've learned about him that you didn't know when you got this job?
A: He's ultra-competitive. He's very, very competitive. Not just on the field. Just really with anything. And you like to see that with your players. I wasn't around him physically. You scout him coming out of the draft; he was a pretty talented player. But all of those things have shown up out here. But his talent, his competitiveness has stood out.
Q: How much does as a coach do you care or monitor what guys do use as motivation?
A: I think you try to learn your players the best you can to motivate them. Sometimes players can motivate themselves in certain, different ways. I think that's good. Each player is different. What motivates you might be different than what motivates me. So, I kind of let those guys be them, and if something's on their mind, and that's motivating them – great.
Q: You've talked all summer about how it's an evaluation process. You're watching the guys and how they perform. When you get into this stretch here now with the joint practice and the preseason finale, do you send a message to the team that you want to see things ramped up a little bit? How do you approach really what has become the final stretch here?
A: I think we always want to ramp things up. We always want to be urgent in what we do from the meeting rooms to the practice field, I don't think you can go up and down with that. I think you have to have a high sense of urgency in this league. Do you sit there and talk about what's upcoming in a week? I just shoot it to them straight. We started out with 90. Now you're down to 80. It's going to go to 53 pretty soon, and unfortunately the world we live in, there's going to be 600 or 700 guys that will be working out on Tuesdays trying to get onto another team. Another 400 or 500, whatever it is, for the practice squad, with 16. So, I think the more you start thinking about that, the less you do when you have a chance to do it, which is right now, today, in practice. We all know it's an evaluation period for all of us. I think you just concentrate on doing your job the best you can, and then you can live with the results.
Q: You talked a lot about finding what Daniel's comfortable with. Is RPOs safe to say it fits with that? And why is he effective with those?
A: I'd say RPOs are something that he's comfortable with. I think he's comfortable with a lot of stuff that we've done on offense. Most quarterbacks are. Drop back, play action, RPOs now since it's come up through the college game. We're still working on all the stuff that we have put together, but it's definitely an element. There's different ways to run RPOs. You read a defensive lineman, you read a linebacker, it can be a safety. It's usually a one-man type of read to help you make a quick decision. It's still not easy because you have to make it in that split second. So, it's like running a zone read. Like, 'Why didn't he keep it?'. Well, I mean the guy's right there. It's like making a read on a coverage. He's done a good job with all the stuff we've asked him to do. RPOs is one of them.
Q: How is (Kicker) Graham (Gano), and are you going to bring in a placekicker?
A: He's making progress. We still could; but if he's ready to go toward the end of the week, we probably won't, obviously.
Q: How about the other offensive linemen…last week? Jon Feliciano?
A: Yep. Felice will be doing something out here. Jamil (Douglas) will be doing something out here. We're getting more healthy. I think the trainers have done a good job with our guys. I'd say there's more people coming out hopefully by the end of the week, we'll have even a little bit more.
Q: Is (Guard Shane) Lemieux in that mix? Or is he later?
A: Hopefully he'll do – we'll see where he's at today.
Q: Daniel. He's had a couple practices where it's a little uneven. But in the games, he has looked pretty good. Does that mean anything to you?
A: Yeah, because the games matter the most. Again, we're trying to script and do a lot of different things in practice. Again, you'd like to have a perfect practice every time you step out there. But the great thing about practice is it doesn't count. It counts if you learn from it. And he's done a good job of getting a lot of different looks, going back in the meeting rooms, talking with the receivers, talking with the coaches, talking with (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka, talking about the protections. That's why you practice. You try to make practice harder than it is in a game as a coaching staff, the best you can – whether it's situations, different looks, blitzes, same thing with motions and shifts. You kind of map things out to try to put pressure on as many players and coaches as you can. And that's what we try to do. I'm not saying everybody tried to do it. That's what we try to do. And I think he's done a good job of learning from it and then applying it in games.
Q: Just to get back to Shep real fast, do you expect him to do team drills tomorrow and maybe play Sunday?
A: I think we'll just ramp it up. Take it day-by-day. See where he's at after today with some of the stuff we ask him to do. But he's rehabbed well. He's done a good job. So, it will be good to get him back out here. He's a good player for us.
Q: Are you excited to see him in your offense and what he can potentially do with this?
A: Yeah. He's been a good player. I think he can do a wide variety of things. Good route runner. Got quickness. Intelligence. Can read zone. Read man. Understands the coverages. Has a lot of experience. Played multiple roles. So, I'm excited to get out here and work with him.
Q: How do you see him fitting in? I know you said multiple roles, but you do have a bunch of inside guys. Do you want to use him on the outside? Do you view him as primarily a guy who's a slot guy? I mean that's probably where he's had his most success.
A: I think he really can play any spot we need him to play watching him on tape. He's been productive inside. He can run stuff outside. He has an ability to create separation, which helps the quarterback. So, again, he's a veteran that's played some football, has a good rapport with Daniel. So it'll be good to just throw him in the mix. Told him he's going to have to learn a lot of spots.
Q: As the sport has evolved over the years, the emphasis on the quarterback position has obviously grown exponentially. Is it possible today to build an offense around a very good or great running back? Or is that not a reasonable scenario?
A: I think your job as a coach is to figure out who your best players are and then build into those strengths. Again, the game, as you mentioned, has changed dramatically from 2000, my first year, to now it's evolved– not just at the NFL level but at the high school level to the college level – so it's kind of a changing dynamic of what it used to be with the big shoulder pads and big fullbacks and wadded up formations to spread out. But again, I think you try to take your best players and utilize them the best way you can, whatever that is. Whether that's around the running back, around receivers, around a tight end, I think that's what you're charged with as a coach.
Q: In regards to making your final cuts, do you know by now in your mind that you have a pretty good idea who's on this team or is it, in your mind, it's still wide open – 'I got a lot of questions that need to be answered,'?
A: Are there certain players that you know will be on the team? Sure. But I think a lot of the other spots, and I'm not giving you specific spots, yeah there's certainly a lot of competition out here that we're interested to see here this next week with our guys.
Q: What's your view on guys who are like primarily teamers? Like when you're making the roster, does the sixth receiver have to be a better receiver than the seventh guy? Or a better special at teams? Do you know what I mean?
A: I do. That's a great question. It's a case-by-case basis. But it's certainly talked about quite a bit. Obviously if you can have a player that contributes on offense or defense and contributes in the kicking game, that's on the bottom, maybe not your first or second guy, that goes a long way to develop some depth and give you more. You can only take a certain amount to the game too. So, if the sixth receiver, the fourth receiver, the sixth defensive back, whatever it may be, if they're good contributors in the kicking game, I think that goes a long way.
Q: When you have a guy like Shep who's dealt with some of the injuries that he has, does he have to change the way that the plays at all to maybe get back what he lost from the injury? Or when you look at him, do you see a guy who's 100 percent back and hasn't lost anything?
A: Until we're out here running around, Iwhen these guys come back from injury, when (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) and those guys say they're ready to go, I think we have a good plan to try to ramp them up. And then, you just let them play. I've coached guys that have been hurt before and come back from injury, and I think the more they think about it, the worse it is. You just go out there, if we think you're ready, and you think you're ready, then let's go play. But again, there's a ramp up period that goes along with it to get them in the right mental frame and physical skillset, too.
Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
Q: How did that feel?
A: Felt great just being back on the field. I mean, it's a blessing. Especially when you go through an injury like that, and you've been on the sidelines for so long watching those guys get after it, you got to take every day and cherish them. Because you never know when you have to sit out that long. So, I was just blessed to be out there and happy to be out there with my guys.
Q: When you got hurt in late December, did you think it was realistic to be back at this point?
A: Yeah. I mean, that's always been kind of the timeline, and I had to work my tail off. They told me that if that was going to be the case, then I'd have to put in overtime and do a lot to get back. Just dedicated to the process; it was as a long road. But it felt great to be back there like I said.
Q: Did you put the red tee-shirt in the incinerator?
A: Yeah. We had to burn that joint. I don't ever want to see it again.
Q: Do you have any doubt in your mind that you'll be ready for Week 1?
A: I'm just listening to the guys, just listening to them and whatever they tell me to do, and wherever they see me progressing, that's what I'm going to go with. I'll listen to the (athletic) trainers and (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) and those guys, they know best.
Q: Do they think you're going to be ready? Have they told you you're going to be ready?
A: I'm not sure. That's a question you have to ask Ronnie, but that's what I'm pushing for. That's what I've worked my tail off for, so I'm hoping that's the case. I just have to keep doing my thing day-by-day, and we'll see what happens.
Q: What kind of limitations do you have, if any? Or what do you need to get game ready or season ready?
A: Obviously, this is my first day back, and it was a full pad practice. I haven't had on pads since I got hurt. So, it was kind of tough being thrown in the fire with the pads on, but I just have taken it day-by-day, limited kind of in some of the team reps, they're throwing me in slowly. But I'll work my way up and get my conditioning and my wind up. I've been playing this game since I was six years old, so kind of know what it looks like.
Q: It's a new offense, but you're probably more familiar with the quarterback than anybody else in the room. So, does that balance itself out when you're out there trying to feel your way through this process?
A: Yeah, for sure. But it's been a while since (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) and I have actually gotten to throw. Since I've been on PUP, I haven't been able to catch any passes from him. So, we have a rapport, but we have to freshen things up and build that connection back again. So, he's been throwing to different guys and getting a feel for those guys. And it shouldn't take us long. But I'll get back out there with him after practice and throw a couple balls around. And we should get back on track pretty easy.
Q: You getting used to that triple motion? They're really running you hard there.
A: That was like (running) suicides. I'm not going to lie. I was tired today. It was tough today, but we got through it. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
Q: You're obviously productive when you're healthy. So, how much do you view this season at the end of your contract as you're showing people, 'You know what? I can still be that guy,"?
A: That's always the goal. I think every player wants to be healthy. It's a very violent game that we play, and you can do everything in your power to take care of your body. And sometimes, things just happen. Fatigue happens to everybody, so that can be the cause. But yeah, I'm going to do everything in my power to take care of my body and be out there for my guys. And when I'm out there, I always give it all I got. I play with a lot of passion and a lot of heart, so I'm going to continue to do that. I'm not going to change my style of play just to try to stay safe.
Q: For the past three weeks, have you simply worked with the trainers, attended meetings and pulled your hair out a little bit, or what?
A: Yeah. I mean this is like my happy place. So, when I'm not able to be out there with my guys, it's stressful. So yeah, I've been itching, itching at the bit to get out there with the guys. Been on the side running and doing everything, but like I said, I was pretty tired today. All that running on the side doesn't really compare to being out there at practice and actually going through drills and going through team sets.
Q: On paper, what you do well seems to make you a pretty good fit for this offense. Do you see it that way? I know it's only been one day of actually practicing. Do you see this an offense that can really get the best out of you?
A: Yeah. (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs gives us a lot of freedom to get open and I think that suits a lot of the guys that we have well. (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) does a great job. He's a quick twitch guy. (Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney) KT, me. That type of player can really thrive in this offense. But we have to do our part in it and really lock in and work hard at it.
Q: Was there any uncertainty? I think back to when (General Manager) Joe Schoen was hired, and you were in here. And Dabs was hired, and you were in here. What was running through your mind back then about actually still being here wearing the NY on your chest?
A: As you know, in this line of work, nothing is promised. So, it was a little nerve-wrecking. You have to think about your family and what you're going to do with them. So, those thoughts were running through my head, but I'm a big believer in God. And whatever he has in store for me is what I'm meant to go through. So, I just put my trust in him, and I'm happy to be here. I love this place. I love everybody in this building. I've been here for seven years now and it's been a blessing just being here. You hear stories about other places around the league, and there's no place like here. And this is where I wanted to be. This is where I want my family to be, and I'm glad we could make it work.
Q: Do you see a future for yourself here considering they drafted Kadarius? Do you see a long-term future for yourself here considering who they drafted?
A: I'm not really worried about what's going to happen in the future. Just trying to stay present and focus on the season. That's my number one focus, getting this team on the right track. It's been a while since I won games, so my number one goal is to get this team and to get this franchise back to where we're supposed to be.
Q: Did anybody ask you to carry a helmet or introduce yourself?
A: I wish they would ask me to carry a helmet. No, they didn't give me a hard time. It was just a lot of guys just dapping me up and telling me that they're happy to see me back out there, which felt really good. I'm going to do my best to stay out there with my guys. I love the game, and I love being around them. That's one of my favorite things in the world besides my kids and my family – being out here playing with those guys. So, I'm just going to cherish every day.
Q: Thoughts on tomorrow with the Jets coming here? You've obviously been in this city. You know what it's like. You think you're going to get a little chance to go against green?
A: I don't know what they have in store for me. Like I said, I'm going to listen to the trainers, and it's a day-by-day thing with me and just in terms of what they want me to do and how much they want to push it. That was my first day, and I felt good. But I have to see how I feel tomorrow and how I recover. And we'll see what they say.
Q: Does it mean more versus the Jets though – the fact that it is a cross-town team at this point?
A: Of course. It's always been like a little rivalry with them. And we always have a pretty good game in the preseason. Those guys are fired up. It's like who's going to be the little brother. You know what I mean? So, we're getting prepared for them. And we're looking forward to the game.
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: Are you looking forward at all to seeing the Jets tomorrow?
A: I look at it the same as every joint practice. I know (Jets Defensive Lineman) Quinnen (Williams) pretty well, so I'm excited to see him as a friend. Other than that, it's been so many years since I've been there that I don't really see it the same way anymore. It's just another team for me.
Q: Is that unusual to you that you'd be thinking that after starting with that team and playing with them for a number of years, and now they are just another team?
A: I guess it is. Maybe like the year after I got traded, I think we played them when I was with the Giants – actually the same year, I think. That's when I was like, 'I'm really pumped to play against them,' and stuff like that. I appreciate that organization for bringing me into the league, for drafting me, for giving me an opportunity. Now I've been wearing blue for so long and I've been a part of the Giant's organization and I'm so thankful to be here. It's a completely different culture and I'm totally bought into this new home that it's kind of hard to think about it that way.
Q: What do you mean different culture?
A: Every team is a different culture, you know what I mean? I've adapted to what type of culture it is here, I've adapted to my teammates, I've adapted to my coaches. Like I said, every team is a different culture so you kind of have to adapt to whatever team you go to.
Q: There might be like five guys left on the Jets from your days, no?
A: Yeah, that's what I was about to say. I don't think I know anybody there anymore besides Quinnen Williams.
Q: Who's the other veteran defensive lineman?
A: Oh, Nathan Shepherd? Yeah, I know him.
Q: Would that be it?
A: Yeah. That's what I'm saying, it's like me going back to college now. I'm like, 'I don't know anybody here anymore.' (Laughs)
Q: Says a lot about the league more than probably you or them?
A: Or I'm getting old, I don't know. (Laughs)
Q: You haven't played that much in the preseason, has that been planned?
A: This year?
A: I'm not sure if it's been planned or not. It's just the way it's worked out. I just know that when it's Week One and when it's live and I haven't missed a game yet, and I've been working on continuing that streak. I take pride in being a durable player and being accountable to my teammates and coaches that I'm going to be ready when it's time.
Q: You looked pretty good in sprints too.
A: Thank you. (Laughs)