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Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, RB Saquon Barkley, S Julian Love, LB Jihad Ward


BRIAN DABOLL: How is everybody doing? Go ahead.

Q. Jon Feliciano yesterday said Wink threw a lot at them doing practice. You've gone against Wink's system. What makes his system so tough to play against?

BRIAN DABOLL: I wouldn't get ahead of ourselves here. That's practice and OTAs right now. I'll tell Jon that, too.

Everybody wants to win every period. There were some good plays, there were some bad plays both ends. I'm learning as a head coach it's never a good practice because one side is either doing good or the other side is doing bad.

I have said this before with Wink. It's hard to prepare for. There are a lot of different looks. Designer defenses, if you will, that you don't see all the time that you have to be really good, good communicating, do a lot of studying on them to figure out some of the protection things and different pressures that he brings.

So, yeah, that's one of the reasons why we hired him.

Q. Three tryout players yesterday. And you had them participate in the practice session.  

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think it helps, too, to get another set of legs out here and run around, but also get a good evaluation of some of the guys you want to take a look at. You never know when you might want to add someone to the roster. Could be today, could be two weeks from now, three weeks from now.

You can have the ability to have some of these guys out here to look at them. I think it helps.

Q. One of the things that I don't think you can miss from these spring practices is all the different spots Saquon is as a receiver. What kind of advantage is that to you? Your Bills running backs didn't catch a lot of balls. Is there somebody in your past at running back that has had that skill set?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think each year each team is a little bit different, each player is unique.

I think Saquon is a unique guy. You move him in different spots, that makes other guys have to learn other spots, too. It really falls on the five eligible receivers or the personnel groups you hope to utilize.

He's got good hands, he's a good route runner, a good runner. Try to use him the best way we can.

In terms of other running backs I have had, I wouldn't compare them to any of the other guys I've had. Guys like Reggie Bush I had at Miami were good in the pass game.

Again, each week presents its own unique challenge, how the defense wants to play you, what kind of personnel they want to play, how do they see it, do they see him more as a sub guy, do they want to load up the box and play it differently. I think that's a week-to-week type of deal.

Q. We always talk about this as a quarterback driven league. Can you build an offense around a running back like that?

BRIAN DABOLL: I think you build it around all your skill guys. The quarterback is a pretty important position in today's day and age in the NFL in terms of being able to pass the football. All the skill guys have to complement him and you put the pieces around him.

Q. With Saquon, the last few years obviously injuries have been a big thing with him. I'm wondering, what have you seen from him physically this spring?

BRIAN DABOLL: He's been good. He's been able to do everything we've asked him to do. Run the different runs when we're doing them. Those are more walk-through relative to how camp is being played. The routes we are asking him to run, his quickness, his ability to get in and out of breaks, his long speed, it's all looked good.

Q. Do you see what you basically saw when you scouted him?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I see a talented player. I'm glad he's on our team. Look forward to working with him. He's been great since I've been here just on the field, running around. Has been impressive.

Again, we got to go out there and do it with pads and under some pressure. Everything we've asked him to do to this point, he has done a really nice job.

Q. Do you sense any leadership aura with him? Can you see it yet? Do you sense that with any guys, maybe him in specific?

BRIAN DABOLL: He has leadership traits. Again, I think you let that play out with the preseason games, the padded practices, being able to bounce back whether it was a tough practice, a tough play, how you are in the meeting room. We look at all those types of things. We have since we've had the player. I think it is a long process. He definitely does a good job in the running back room and I think he has the ears of a lot of guys on the offense, keep working with them.

Q. Are you a leadership council or group head coach?

BRIAN DABOLL: I think it's important to talk to your players. I think just because you have experience and a good player doesn't necessarily mean you're a leader. Everybody can be a leader in their own right. Doing what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it on a consistent basis, that's the first step to being a good leader.

So we have a lot of guys that I think fit that mold. How it pans out, when we vote for captains, which will be a vote for the players, it's their team. That will be down the road at the end of the preseason games, so who they see as their leaders, I think that's more important necessarily than who I see.

Q. Regarding Evan Neal, we've seen a lot of rookie tackles struggle. Why in particular do you think it's such a challenging position for a rookie to be able to thrive at? What are the particular reasons for that?

BRIAN DABOLL: They're playing against really good players every week. It's really not rocket science. These guys come from good programs. Any position in the NFL, really, it's hard to jump right in in the NFL and be as dominant as you were in college. That's just the nature of this league.

So when you go against really good players every week, edge rushers, guys with experience, multiple looks, I think you got to learn on the run and catch up fast.

There's a lot of things going on in rookies' minds, not just plays. They're moving to a new city, a lot of different things to do, a lot of them are on their own first time. It's why you see a lot of rookies, it is a slow development process. And others, not many, you throw them right in and they adapt.

He has certainly done a good job for us. He's got a long way to go. There's times when he does really, really well out here. There's times, again without the pads on, I'm sure he's like, this guy is pretty good.

Q. What accounts for Ricky Seals-Jones playing with the third team offense?

BRIAN DABOLL: I wouldn't read too much into any of that. I always tell these guys we have a rep chart, not a depth chart right now.

He's been with the ones, he's been in the twos, he's been with the threes. We've used different personnel packages. That really goes with all the guys. You'll see different receivers go with Daniel one day. This isn't really, like I said, an evaluation type of camp. It is more of a teaching, learning camp and  moving guys around and putting them with different players.

Q. So training camp would look different, you're saying?

BRIAN DABOLL: It could. We'll see. We'll take it day by day. And when we get there, we'll figure out the roles, where they're going to be.

Q. What do you like about Jamie Gillan that made you want to bring him over from Buffalo?

BRIAN DABOLL: He's had a really good camp. He's a good teammate. He can boom the ball. But he fit right into our culture, what we're trying to create. He's done a really nice job out here. Punt the ball pretty well.

Q. When you're trying to create a culture here, four plus months into it, it's one thing to bring rookies in who are hearing professional coaches for the first time. You have guys on this roster that have heard multiple voices since they got here. How cognizant were you from the very beginning to make sure your voice now is the only voice they're hearing, doesn't matter what they've been told in the past?

BRIAN DABOLL: I don't put much thought into it. Come in here and try to do the best job I can do for the guys, be myself, tell em like it is, be honest, be demanding that they do things right.

But also I think we have some good guys that want to do things right. Again, I tell them all the time, it's your team. They have to be accountable to one another. We'll give them instruction, we'll teach them fundamentals, we'll try to put the schemes in that best suit them. But at the end of the day, they have to take ahold of this thing and take it where they want to go.

Q. Does that also apply position-wise, a new position coach comes in, starts coaching a guy that's had four position coaches in five years?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, I think that's unfortunately the nature of our business. There's a lot of change usually every year, a lot of different roles.

The guys that have been in this league for some time I'm sure have had multiple position coaches, different coordinators. You'd love to be the same coordinator or same coach for a guy for seven, eight years. Unfortunately, that's not the world we live in.

Our guys have done a really good job, our position coaches, they've got to put their own spin on things as long as it's within the framework of what we want to do as an organization. I think the players have done a good job of listening to those guys.

Q. What do you like about Richie James?

BRIAN DABOLL: He's got quickness. He has the ability to play inside and outside. We've put him really in all three spots or four spots when we're going with four wide receivers.

I think the quarterbacks can read his body language. Has good hands, knows what to do, dependable. So he's been a good addition for us.

Q. Getting back to Saquon for a second. He caught 91 passes his first year here. I'm not asking for a number. You and your staff, is that something you say, we've got to utilize this ability?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah. I think any time you have a good player, if you're an offensive play-caller scheming, you find a way to get the best players the football. Targets. Sometimes as a decoy, touches in the run game. Guys that can produce and make yards with the ball their hand, as a play caller, you like those guys.

Q. How did Dexter Lawrence come out from turning his ankle yesterday? Will he practice today?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, he's fine. I thought I was going to get through this whole press conference without an injury question, but that's okay. (smiling). You guys are doing great.

Q. We saw Kenny Golladay run some drills yesterday. Are we going to see him do more maybe the next couple days? What is the line you try to walk there between we'd love to see him out here now but we want him to be healthy come training camp?

BRIAN DABOLL: Yeah, the first thing, the guys in the red jersey, whatever they can do, they are going to be out here doing it. Whether that's a little bit more, a little bit less, each guy is on his own individual program.

What was the second thing?

Q. The line you try to walk.

BRIAN DABOLL: I think that's a valid question. Look, there's a time to be smart and there's a time to make sure you're pushing through things the best you can. You have to balance those.

What is it, June what?

Q. June 8th.

BRIAN DABOLL: June 8th. So guys that we've got to take a little bit off them on June 8th so they're ready to go fully on July 26th, I think that's being smart.

You push guys through in training camp, maybe it's the same exact thing and they don't have a red jersey on. It's week two in training camp, everybody is sore, we know we're sore, but we've got to get ready to go, then there's a time to push through things.

All we're trying to do is try to be as healthy as we can be when training camp gets here.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about that because there have been injury problems here in the past. You talk about sports science and the training staff. All those people are the same people who were here. Did you come in with new ideas, different ideas? How do you adapt what has been here?

BRIAN DABOLL: I'd say it's been very collaborative. Certainly, I have ideas, but I'm not a doctor or a trainer. But sports science, analytics, I think there's really good give-and-take.

As a coach, you always want to have as many reps as you can get. Probably 10 years ago, I'd have been like let's come out here and do a thousand reps, but I think it's important to get all the information and make good, educated decisions.

I learned a lot in my time at Buffalo, how they did things in that regard, the reps, what we did with the players, and it really paid off.

Q. I got a question regarding Jihad Ward. What did Wink and Drew Wilkins tell you when you were considering signing him? Seems like he's a guy you can always hear on the practice field. What's he added?

BRIAN DABOLL: What you guys see. He's got constant energy. He's excellent in meetings. I'd say from my experience, not all the time, but when you're a player that comes in as a free agent from another team, it's a little bit harder to lead right away because you are swimming with a new playbook and new surroundings.

I'm not saying you're a rookie, but kind of like that. You kind of take a step back and just kind of feel things out.

He kind of jumped right into the deep end. He's got a great personality, energetic. I love the way he practices. He's always running to the ball. I'd say he helps out…he's great with like Kayvon and those young guys in his room.

He's been a really good addition. It was a good recommendation on those guys' part.

Q. It seemed yesterday that Wink threw a couple of gadgets at the offense. Do you like that just to see how they react?

BRIAN DABOLL: I think that's one of the jobs of a head coach, too, is to put different, whether it's the defense or offense, in probably harder positions. Maybe there's a little bit more third-and-longs yesterday or second-and-longs, where when it's third-and-long or second-and-long, what do you think it's going to be? A run or a pass? A pass. So you're going to get a lot of junk defenses.

That's the importance of really understanding how to play the game and staying on terms. Conversely, when they're practicing a bunch of second-and-twos, you put the defense in a bind. What is it going to be to stay on track?

My position, I'm trying to put as many different -- whether it's coaches, play callers, players in different positions, some easier for one side than the other, and then conversely the other way around. I think that's important to see how guys react.

Look, every time you're out here and practicing, it's such a great opportunity to improve because you go back, you sit down, you learn from whether it's a mistake, maybe it's a call or a scheme.

That's what coaching is all about, is teaching, learning from mistakes, getting better the next time you're out here. That's why you do all these things.

That's why you try to create, let's say, pressure in practice, when you're deciding… Look, we've had a few minicamp practices, 10 OTAs, now we've got two. We've already been through 15 practices. A lot of the installation is in. Now it's just kind of putting players and coaches in different positions, even though it is June, so that the next time we hear it in July, hopefully we're better in those areas and we're learning from our mistakes. Me included.

Q. Going to the Rangers game tomorrow?

BRIAN DABOLL: We'll see.


Q. How did it feel to get your degree?

SAQUON BARKLEY: Oh, it felt good. I was not expecting that to be the first question, but it feels really good. It's something I wanted to accomplish, something that I had to make a promise to my mom, my dad, when I had the conversation with Coach Franklin that I'm going to leave school early, he made me promise that I'll come back and get my degree, too.

Been banged up a little bit over the year, so I had a little extra time on my hands that I probably wouldn't have liked, but I was able to accomplish that and get my degree.

Q. Did you tell your daughter? I know that was one of the main initiatives.

SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, she can't really understand that right now yet, but when she gets older it will make a little bit more sense to her. But not just my daughter, my nieces, my nephews, brothers and sisters, my whole family. They're excited for me and happy that I was able to accomplish that, and I'm thankful for all of them.

Q. How excited are you in this new offense? Julian just said that it looks like you'll be utilized more and more. How excited are you to be in this offense?

SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm very excited. I think this offense is going to put our playmakers in position to make plays, whether it's post-snap, pre-snap, just giving us looks so we can good out there and let our talent go and work. I'm excited not only for myself but for all the playmakers on this team, for the offensive line, for the team in general. I feel like we have something special here, but like I said, like I always say, got to take one day at a time, can't look too far in the future, and now finish up minicamp and this little break that we have, make sure that we can capitalize on this break to catapult us and put us in the best position for the season and coming into camp.

Q. How helpful is it when you go against the defense and they have to kind of play "where's Saquon"?

SAQUON BARKLEY: I think it's helpful, not only for myself but opening up other things for the offense. That's something that I've been aware is kind of more -- haven't really moved like this since college. Kind of went back and watched a little bit of my college stuff to see stuff that I was able to do there and transition, bringing it here.

I'm excited. Dabs, Kaf, all the guys on the offense, all the coaches, they've been doing an amazing job this camp, and we're just going to take it one day at a time.

Q. Were you good in college?

SAQUON BARKLEY: I was alright in college. I was okay in college.

Q. Will there be anywhere that we will not see you? We know you'll be in the backfield, you'll be in split. Are there places you haven't even been before that they're using you in those places now?

SAQUON BARKLEY: No. I mean, I've been -- pretty much every place I've been so far, I've been there before. Just I've got to learn a lot more, got to know a lot more. Obviously don't want to give too much details, but just trying to learn the playbook, trying to learn the offense, understanding not just running back position but just if I'm out there, if I'm wide or inside or wherever I'm at, learn that position so that when I'm out there I don't got to think, I can go out there and react and play fast and try and help the team out.

Q. When you think back to your rookie year, you had some really good numbers. Do you think more 1,307 or 91? What do you look at and say, I like that better? The 91 receptions really was something that --

SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I think it was cool. Anytime for me -- I feel like whenever I can get the ball in space, I feel like that's where I'm at my best. I feel like no matter what, I feel like I've got the confidence now whether it's in between the tackles, outside tackles, out wide or whatever, especially when you have confidence in your body again. I feel like I'm capable of helping the team, but especially in space.

You know, however it is, whether it's 91 catches, whether it's less than that, whether it's more than that, the main thing is more (wins). That starts with the little things and that starts with right now, finishing minicamp real strong and that little six-week, seven-week period that we have, capitalizing on that and getting my body in shape and getting ready for camp and regular season.

Q. When we see you out here, you're catching. We see you catching a lot more passes. Do you sense that that's something that is going to translate, or is it that's just -- 7-on-7 at times, is it that, or do you expect an uptick in your usage kind of as a receiver?

SAQUON BARKLEY: I'm not really expecting anything. Like you said, it's more of a passing camp, so I'm probably moving around a little bit more. But just in case if that is the game plan or the goal for me this year, to go out there and catch the ball a little bit more, I've got to be ready for it. It starts here. It starts here in minicamp, and as I said, going into this little break that we have, getting with Daniel, getting with quarterbacks and just working on my hands, working on that part of the game so I can be versatile.

I feel like the more versatile you can be as a player, the more helpful you can be to your team, and I want to help this team win games.

Q. When you look at yourself in college, is there growth? What have you seen from watching yourself in college? When was the last time you watched your college tape?

SAQUON BARKLEY: It's been a long time since I've looked at some of my college film, but yeah, obviously you can see the growth, maturity.

Q. What's the biggest difference, I guess?

SAQUON BARKLEY: The biggest difference would just be you had to go through a little bit the past couple years, so it just helped mold me, shape me to be the player I am right now and just coming into this camp, focusing on my body, working on my body, doing all the little things necessary to keep my body healthy. When you've got that, when you can trust your body, your confidence just grows. So I would say the difference was I was a way more confident player in college and early in my career than I was prior to the last year and then last year. Now I'm starting to get that back, starting to get that swagger back.

You can't get too high on it because it's just minicamp right now, but all the little stuff in gaining confidence here, in this break that we have, hopefully catapults and pushes me through camp and to the regular season and beyond hopefully.

Q. How do you feel physically? The injuries have been a thing the last couple years. Last year at this time of year you were still rehabbing.


Q. How do you feel out there? Do you feel like --

SAQUON BARKLEY: I'll tell you, I feel a lot better than I felt at this point last year. Like you said, I was rehabbing. My body feels good. My body feels strong. Feel like I got my strength back. Feel like I got my speed back. Feel like I can trust my knee again, trust myself to make plays and not think about it. Even when you feel like you trust yourself, like actually going back and watching film, it correlates with how you feel and what you're actually seeing, putting out there on the field.

So yeah, my body feels really good, but just got to keep on it. Got to keep going, got to keep pushing myself, keep working to get stronger, get faster, but also maintain the strength and maintain being healthy throughout this break so I can come in at a high note for camp and for the season.

Q. Did you sit down with the coaches this offseason and did they ask you what you like to do, what you want to do and did they take that into consideration?

SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, I mean, they definitely sat down with me and asked me the things that I liked to do and what I feel like I do best and what I need to improve on, all that good jazz. Like I said, it's so early right now. That's more down the road when it gets into when you're game planning and getting ready and preparing for a team. Right now just really focusing on just learning the basics, getting back to the fundamentals, learning the offense and putting yourself in the right position to be able to make plays, so when we come back in camp that it's not like you're sitting down and you're seeing it for the first time, that it's the second, third time, becomes secondhand to you so you can go out there and play fast.

Q. About the two first-round picks, I'm curious, from a football perspective, what do you think when they drafted an offensive lineman and what was your reaction to Evan Neal, and off the field Kayvon Thibodeaux kind of has that star persona that you came here with. I'm curious if you've given him any advice about juggling football with the other stuff that comes with being a star in New York.

SAQUON BARKLEY: Yeah, with Neal, with Evan, selfishly as a running back, anytime you draft a guy like that, it's going to put a smile on your face. I kind of met him, I think I've told you guys this before. I didn't meet him, he was coming in for like a visit or something like that, and he was walking through, and I was just like, golly, who is that; we need that guy on our team.

Thankfully we were able to draft him, so I'm really excited for him to be on our team and what he's going to be able to do and help this team in the future.

With Kayvon, I've had conversations with him. Biggest thing I told him is never get too low on the lows and never get too high on the highs. That is what it is. Whether you play 20 years, 10 years, no matter what, there's going to be peaks and there's going to be valleys. Your valleys never stay too low, and when you're at your peaks, never get too high, always try and stay like this, just straight, and keep your mindset, keep your focus where it needs to be. At the end of the day, put football first and everything will take care of itself.

Q. What did you make of how light today's practice was? Would you rather get more work in, or is that something that's good for the team that you'd like to see more of?

SAQUON BARKLEY: I feel like Coach does a really good job of listening to the players, listening to the staff and understanding we've been grinding. We've been going since April 4th. I can't even do that math that quick. I know I got my degree, but I don't know how long that's been. But we've been grinding for a little bit.

The training staff, the strength staff are doing a great job with all the players, and if he felt like we could chop the practice down, I feel like that means as players we've been doing a really good job of giving him the confidence to do that and also of him just understanding and listening to personnel, listening to everyone in the building, where we need to be and where our bodies are.

Q. You've been through so much the last couple of years, and the numbers are down from your rookie season. Is there something inside you that says, guys, if you counted me out, don't do it, I'm back? Do you scream that?

SAQUON BARKLEY: No. Like I said before, it's really early, so I can't make too many predictions for the future. But it is what it is.

I think I said it before, when the tables turn, just make sure you're on the side of that table. Just stay on that side.

It is what it is; never get too low, never get too high. Stay like this and just keep working.


Q. Big stakes for that field goal at the end of practice?

JULIAN LOVE: That's Graham (Gano). I knew he was going to make it. I don't know what even the stakes were to be honest with you. I just knew it was a make-or-miss. I always take the make on that one for him. But yeah, pretty smooth.

Q. What was up with that players' meeting on the side of the field there?

JULIAN LOVE: You know, that was just something that some of the leadership put together. Just to make sure everybody is holding each other down, especially as we go into this break, doing the right things, just off-the-field stuff. Making sure everybody is okay, has a resource to reach out to, stuff like that.

Q. Is that something you would have done last year?

JULIAN LOVE: You know, there's been so much going on across the league, I think, as of late, I think it's important to have those conversations. Everybody wants to just be back and be ready to go come training camp. That's the goal. So that's what that was about.

Q. The more you've gotten into this off-season, what do you think are the strengths of this defense and how much do you like it?

JULIAN LOVE: Yeah, I think the strength is that a lot of guys can do a lot of different things in a lot of positions. We have some guys who are talented in terms of things that they do, and I think Wink is doing a good job or we're getting to the point we're doing a good job of mixing it up to keep offenses guessing as opposed to kind of pigeonholing guys into one spot, into one role, into one thing they do on a certain defensive call. It's allowing guys to play free, play loose, and we've got some juice going, which is exciting. I think that's the biggest change. We're excited to make plays, and we're celebrating that.

Q. What's the reaction of the linemen when they see you in the A-gap?

JULIAN LOVE: I saw a few of them crying earlier today. It's gotten weird. Yeah, that's the big body package, and clearly that's why I'm in it. But yeah, mixing some stuff up. He feels comfortable with me doing different things, and I feel real comfortable. I have .5; sack I'm trying to find another half sack this year so I can get to whole numbers. That's what we're aiming for.

Q. What did you make of kind of dialing it down today, helmets off, walk-through, is that something that's good for you guys?

JULIAN LOVE: It could be seen as both ways, good and bad. Bad in the sense of there's a lot of competitive talk in the locker room each day about who won the day. Heated battles. I don't think we were given enough of a chance to compete today, so yeah, there's that conversation. I think defensively we wanted to get after it a little more today, but tone it down, health-wise, making sure everybody is good. I guess that's the good thing.

Q. You're still ahead from yesterday then?

JULIAN LOVE: Yeah, hey, there's a big discussion of who won the off-season. Of course, I'd say defense won the off-season.

Q. Do you feel a little bit more personal ownership of the defense, especially in your role as a veteran player?

JULIAN LOVE: Yeah, I definitely feel a sense of leadership, a sense of urgency more than anything. I saw some stat somebody sent to me about me and Dex playing the most games as a Giant on the defense, which is crazy to think about.

But I'm just really trying to be a resource for all the young guys to get them going. My position is guys like Dane Belton are really coming along, some other young guys who are on their way right now. I'm just trying to be that personable guy. I'm not super old. I'm pretty young. So I'm right there to fill in the gap and kind of be that leader for everybody.

Also just making plays. I feel like I've known Wink forever now and I've been here for a couple years, so I'm excited to take that next step forward.

Q. When you are out there, do you notice anything in Saquon that's different than a year ago?

JULIAN LOVE: Yeah, I mean, that dude, he's all over the place. They're doing a lot more with him. I know he's really excited for that, and you've got to. He's one of the best talents in the league.

To be able to do a lot in a lot of different roles -- I know Kafka, how can you not be excited to utilize that. I think he's back in his headspace of being super competitive.

When I mentioned competitive talks in the locker room, he's the main guy. He's one locker over from me and that's the main conversation every day about him competing. So I think that's what we've been seeing, and I'm excited for him.

Q. How different is that from where he was physically last year?

JULIAN LOVE: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. That's a guy who is like the most competitive person I've ever been around, and for him kind of be banged up here or there, it's tough. It's tough on him, it's tough on us.

As a friend, I'm just excited for him to see what he can do.

Q. Do you like the new words to the Notre Dame fight song?

JULIAN LOVE: What? New words to the Notre Dame fight song? They added new words to the Notre Dame fight song?

Q. They changed them.

JULIAN LOVE: I did not know that. First time hearing that.

Q. It's a good thing. It's "sons and daughters" now as opposed to --

JULIAN LOVE: Oh, okay. 2022. Yeah, we're moving forward. I like it then.


Q. Was it good to win the first day against the offense yesterday?

JIHAD WARD: It's all good. But we're just trying to get them better. That's all. I like just being out there with my teammates. It feels good to be out there.

Q. Seems like you fit in pretty quickly here.

JIHAD WARD: Yeah, I would say that. It's good, whatever scheme-wise and all that stuff, I'm versatile, so everything is good. You know how this stuff goes.

Q. Personality-wise, too?

JIHAD WARD: Personality-wise? I'm just out here living life, chilling, freedom. I do what I do on the field and off the field and make sure all the guys are straight. It's my job to do that, make sure the culture -- we need more culture in here. I will say that in my opinion. It's coming along very well. We are close, and we are coming together as one.

Q. What do you specifically mean by that, that you need more culture?

JIHAD WARD: Everybody just dial in, everybody just on the field and off the field. When you're in a grind like this, you really don't have time with your family. All I can say is when you come here ready to work, it's time to go. It's like a Navy Seal type stuff, so you've got to just come together in order to win games. I can't come to Kayvon (Thibodeaux) and not know anything about him. You've got to know my background, know his background. It's deeper than that. Everybody has just got to come together as one. I'm more of a person, you ride for me, I ride for you. If you're not riding for me, then I can't be around you.

Q. When you come to a new situation, you're not a rookie but this is a new situation, you can, I guess, choose to just wait and see or you can be the personality that you think you are. Everyone here says you've been that personality right away. Is that easy to do in a new situation?

JIHAD WARD: No, because I'm being me. The whole time, I'm just being me the whole time. I'm not changing who I am. That's about it right there. I can't pretend to be a leader, I cannot pretend to be anything that these guys, Dabs, want me to be. I'm being myself. God has gifted me with that, so I'm being me the whole time.

Q. Do you think being you, there are leadership traits in there?

JIHAD WARD: Yeah, I'm not trying to pretend to be anybody else. Just being myself, feeling free. That's all that it really is, to be honest with you. 

Q. How does this defense compare to the defense that you came from, to that quality of defense?

JIHAD WARD: Yeah, with different personnel, everything is real simple. Everything is really slow for me, as I go through 3-4, 4-3s, whatever personnel is out there on the field that we game plan, everything is real small. That's the part where you've got to study and know what you're doing, that's all. It's not really hard.

Q. How attractive was it for you to reunite with Wink (Martindale)?

JIHAD WARD: Yeah, Uncle Wink? Wink is Muslim, just to let y'all know. Muhammad Wink. It's a good thing. We had good times back in the day. I'm glad to reunite with him. Let's get stuff rolling, man. Let's get this stuff going. It's a good feeling.

Q. You've been on the field against your own team in practice with Wink's defense when he starts installing some blitzes and some things that the offense isn't expecting to see. Did you notice a little bit of that yesterday, that your offensive guys were kind of looking around wondering where you guys were coming from?

JIHAD WARD: Yeah. I mean, that's the whole thing about it, pressure breaks pipes. It doesn't matter what we're going to go, we're going to come at you. That's the type of defense that we're running, and it's been really successful. Just try to bring it up here, that's what Wink is trying to do. Shout-out to Wink.

Q. We haven't seen Kayvon on the field since very early in the spring. What have you seen from him behind the scenes that tells you that he's progressing and getting ready for the season?

JIHAD WARD: No, he's ready. I'm on him. Make sure he's studied the playbook and stuff like that, because I don't want him to play slow. I don't want any of my guys to play slow. That goes for all positions. But him, he'll be ready. He'll definitely be ready, and I can't wait.

Q. Do you take that as a personal charge, as a personal responsibility to get him ready?

JIHAD WARD: Yeah, shoot, we drafted him, right? We drafted him, and he's a special guy for the defense. My job is to get him right and all of our jobs basically -- he's dialed in. He's ready. Once he comes with this situation, I don't know his injury, so whatever situation he's got going on, he'll be ready in training camp and be ready to go. I just don't want him to be learning while he's playing. I want him to go.

Q. How much is he ready to be all over the field? I know that's how Wink uses guys and you've been used that way in all different spots. Is that something that he needs to prepare for, also?

JIHAD WARD: Yeah, that's for everybody to be honest with you, not just him, me. Everybody has just got to know -- I think it's easier that way to be honest with you. Handle your position first, then when stuff goes left, then you can worry about everybody else's position. There's going to be times where there are going to be injuries. There's going to be times where somebody is not going to know what to do in two-minute. I know Dabs does hurry-ups, quick, some Buffalo stuff in the past, and we do hurry-ups, and that's the part where you've just got to -- basically like emergency stuff is going on.

Q. You strike me as a guy who hates to lose. This organization has struggled in recent years. How determined are you, how little patience do you have for rebuilding?

JIHAD WARD: I came from last year in Jacksonville, so I'm pretty well experienced about that one. I don't want to talk about Jacksonville –

Q. I didn't ask you about it.

JIHAD WARD: It's all good, but yeah, just building it up. We've just got to do it now. That's all I've got to say on that one. You can't really know -- I don't know when it's going to happen, but I've got faith. Trying to get this stuff out of the way now. We've got to do this stuff now, offense, defense, whatever we got any problems, in life, whatever stuff you got going on on the field, be honest, let it out. That's why coaches tell you, if you've got any questions, please speak, because on game day nobody really cares. That's why you got all these cameras, right? It's all what they see on the field.

Q. Do you like that you had a lower key practice today, taking the helmets, walk through, or do you think you need more work than that?

JIHAD WARD: I mean it doesn't matter if it's short or long, whatever weakness we got going on that we need to work on, that's what we really care about. There's going to be times where Dabs is going to be like, we need to go work on this or the defense or offense, special teams, field goal, whatever we need to work on. He'll ask us if we need more, it doesn't matter, do what your heart tells you. Whatever you feel like that needs to be tightened up, we'll do it, but I'm not going to leave from this field and not work on stuff that we needed to work on.


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