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Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, LB Darrian Beavers, OT Matt Peart

Head Coach Brian Daboll

Q: Any other injuries yesterday besides (tackle) Evan (Neal)?

A: No. (Guard) Jack (Anderson) will be back practicing. (Wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) will be back practicing. (Linebacker Jihad Ward) Haddy will be back practicing. (Defensive tackle) Leonard (Williams) will be back practicing.

Q: (Outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari)?

A: Azeez, we will give him another day. Kind of two like what we did with Leo.

Q: Evan is still in the protocol?

A: Yes

Q: Giving guys two days off is unusual. Obviously, you guys have data behind it. What's the general thinking for two days in a row?

A: I think it just depends on what it is you are resting for the player. I meet with those medical guys daily, come up with a plan for each individual player. In this case, it will actually be another day too for him. So it will be a day off tomorrow and then get ready to go back on Monday.

Q: (Defensive lineman) Ryder (Anderson) will be out again?

A: Yeah, Ryder will be out probably a few weeks here. The exact amount of time, I'm not sure but that won't be a day-to-day, so I'll just get that one out of the way. That will be a few weeks.

Q: What is the injury?

A: He hurt his arm, tricep.

Q: (Tight end Darren) Waller is good? With the finger, it looked like he left with a jammed finger and then jammed it back in?

A: Yeah, he's good.

Q: I am sort of reluctant to ask this because it's a little in the future, but I am going to ask it anyway. You spend a lot of time with the players, the players spend a lot of time during training camp. You are going out to Detroit. Can you just talk about what the differences are as far as bonding activities when you are on the road like that for a couple days versus being in training camp like this?

A: I think it's good to practice against another team. Again, for some of the reasons why I mentioned earlier, a couple days ago I think it was. You are competing against different players, so you are seeing different matchups. You are seeing where your team is relative to the other team. You are going against different schemes. You are in a hotel together for about five days, or I think it's five days. A lot of planning that goes into it, that other people are doing right now. Particularly, (Director of Coaching Operations) Laura Young, she's been outstanding with all that stuff. So, we will try to have a good one today and then I think we leave Monday. Monday after practice.

Q: Do you do different bonding activities, how does that kind of work?

A: You are just around each other most of the time in the hotel. You know, you are practicing. You are around each other pretty much every day. It's like going away for camp almost.

Q: Do you do one of those bowling nights or something like that?

A: No, no. I mean we will be out there practicing and meeting. It's still training camp for us. Going through tape and doing all those type of things, but again instead of going home to your house, you are at the hotel, maybe you are at dinner together with your teammates but still to go out there and get good work really is what we are trying to do.

Q: In getting that good work, would you be at all apt to rest (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) or to pull him out or do you want to see him get back?

A: I haven't talked to those guys about that yet, relative to where all the guys kind of are. We'll have a plan for that, whatever that is, that morning, or whatever I'll share with you guys.

Q: Do you miss that camp experience?

A: No, I like the way we do it here. I've gone away to camp, I'd say a few times early in my career. I think 2000, went to camp. Buffalo, we went to St. John Fisher, an hour and a half, somewhere an hour and a half away from Buffalo. I'd say predominantly I have stayed at the place we had our facility at. It's good either way, it's still camp. Again, and that's evolved from 2000 with the two-a-days and things like that. I like how we do it here, we have a great facility, so it's been good. Fans have been great. I think this is the last day for the fans. They've been awesome every day. Packed house gives the guys a lot of juice. Very thankful for our fans.

Q: Everything starts up front, I know it's still kind of early but what is your assessment of the line, mixing them up?

A: I'd say early still. Still competing. Bunch of guys out there, we are giving them opportunities. These preseason games will be important for a lot of guys to really go full, full speed. Still an evaluation process.

Q: How is Evan Neal doing? Did you get to talk to him?

A: Yeah, he's good. I mean he's as good as can be, he's just in the protocol. I think he said he feels better than he felt yesterday, so again we will take it slow with those things and let the doctors and training staff go through all that but feels better than he did the day before.

Q: Do you know what happened? Or what play?

A: Yeah, there was a little bit of a collision. That happens. Not out of the ordinary, just a little collision on a run play I think it was. Took him out. Always going to be cautious with those guys.

Q: What did you see from (tackle) Matt Peart when he came in?

A: Matt has done a good job this camp. We have moved him around. You'll see him in there with the ones today over at the right tackle. Maybe the whole practice, maybe we will sub in some other guys, we will see how practice goes, but he's done a good job for us to this point.

Q: Can you still evaluate guys who are injured, even not able to practice or who are limited in practice and if so, to what degree can you evaluate them?

A: Well, you are just evaluating them on the things they can do, so that's really the retention in the meeting room, but ultimately it's really their performance on the field, executing under pressure, doing the things when you have to do them in a quick manner. It's a little bit harder than if they are out there practicing.

Q: With the Lions and (Lions Head Coach) Dan Campbell, the two of you have a friendship long standing, does that help in terms of what you expect to see next week?

A: I haven't talked to Dan since we put this thing together. I think you are just so in the day-to-day moment, I'll probably talk to him over the weekend here, but you know Laura Young and the person that helps him, they are in communication. I'd say once you get going to plan these, the coordinators are in communication to make sure the practices and the scripts, we've kind of set up the scripts and what we want to try and accomplish in the practice back in June or whenever it was we talked. We will revisit probably this weekend or Monday just to make sure we are on point. What do they have injury wise, what do we have, do we need to cut something down, do we need to add more? Those are conversations that will take place, but I have a lot of respect for Dan. Done a great job. Go out there and have some productive days, that's the most important.

Q: What are on those scripts that you are hoping to accomplish?

A: It's really not much different than the practices that you have, that you script out here. There is third down, there's red zone, there is first and second down. There's a bunch of different things, you just kind of put them together. Our sports science people talk to their sports science so it's a collective agreement in terms of how we want to approach practice, the things we want to get out of it and practice the right way the best you can.

Q: We have seen teams that have done joint practices where the starters will get a lot of work in those two practices and then pretty much won't play in the game. What is your approach?

A: I'd say I'm not there yet. It's kind of similar to one of the questions about the guys. We will revisit that all once we get to it, but it's planned out relative to the practices and stuff though. Who plays, how long. I'm not there yet, we're not there yet.

Q: Going back a little bit talking about Azeez and Shep and guys you know you are clearly managing and are aware of. First off, the familiarity with those guys, having them a year later but also how formal is it for you guys? Your sport science and the trainers, coaches but also the players being involved to know, right up front 'okay, this what we are going to expect from you' it's not going to be a surprise that 'hey, you're off today.'

A: I'd say you go in with a plan and just like your offense and defense and your kicking game, you are constantly evolving. I have meetings every day with that group. With (Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) and his staff and the sports science staff and we have good discussions about what we think each player needs and every day it's a little bit different. You never know. You treat everybody fairly; you can't treat them all the same relative to nicks and bruises. Maybe there is a prior injury or sometimes you have got to take it off the player because they will just keep going and that's not good for them either. It's really good conversations, I lean on those guys a lot. They are the experts in the rehab field and the sports science and how many reps they need to get. It's a good conversation, good give and take and then you just clearly communicate to the player here's what the plan is. Sometimes the player is like 'no, I'm ready. I can go' and it's like understand that, but sometimes you have to try to protect them from him sometimes.

Q: Did you back off Jalin Hyatt a little bit yesterday?

A: We go through, there is a lot of data you get. How fast they run for how long they run. There is a ton of stuff you go through and those are conversations that we have every day about every player that are in those, kind of high areas.

Q: In a crowded wide receiver room, how is Shep doing?

A: He's doing good. Yeah, he's doing good.

Q: Are you seeing enough of him?

A: Yeah, he's doing everything we have asked and he's doing a nice job so once we get to, again these preseason games and another part of the evaluation we will see how well those goes out but all those guys, I'd say they are all competing.

Inside Linebacker Darrian Beavers

Q. What's it been like putting the pads back on for the first time since your injury?

A: It's been a blessing. It's been a blessing to play football again and get back there. It's been a long year, so it's good to get out there and play football again.

Q. What's been the most difficult part of your return? Is it different from what you thought it would be?

A: I'd probably just say the wait time (and) how long it takes to recover from this injury. But besides that, it's just been taking the game of football away – I'd probably think is the two biggest things. I've been playing football since I was seven, every year, so sitting out a season is kind of different for you, so I'd probably say that.

Q. Is there a moment in the first session that you felt like you were back in a groove?

A: I think it's like a continuous thing. The more and more practice, the more and more reps that I get, the more and more I'll feel – I guess more comfortable as you'd say. But it's just been a blessing to play football again and have the chance to put the pads back on.

Q. When you have a game that you love taken from you, do you come back with more appreciation for it?

A: It's still football at the end of the day, so it's still a fun sport. Like I said, I've played since I was seven, but I'd say maybe it made me sit back and humble myself and not to take it for granted, I'd say in a way. Besides that, it's football, and when you come back and you're on that field everything blanks out and you just want to play football.

Q. How do you view the linebacker room now with the new additions?

A: I think we did a good job in the offseason getting a bunch of players in here that are new and trying to make this team the best team that we can make. I mean, and that's just good. The better the players, the better it is.

Q. With joint practices coming up, how do you look at the opportunity to go against an opponent during training camp?

A: I think it's great. I think it's great to practice against different teams, different players and see where you're at. I think it would be good for this team and good for this season.

Q. You talked about having to learn how to live without football. Did you do anything differently to fill that time when you weren't rehabbing?

A: Not really. It was mostly doing rehabbing and trying to stay off my feet as much as possible, which probably made it seem longer. Just sleeping a bunch of times and just relaxing all the time, but it was just doing rehab then going to stay off my feet.

Q. Is it all physical now? Has the mental part gone away post injury?

A: No. When I'm on the field I don't even think about what happened or anything about last year. For me, it was just – I want to be the best that I could be on the field, so I want to know – there's so much stuff that I've got to do pre snap, before a play to even worry about my knee to be honest. Like I said, when I'm out there, I've got so much other stuff going on that that's the last thing on my mind.

Q. Are you a full go for the preseason or are they holding you back?

A: To be honest, I'm just taking it day by day. To be honest, if I'm practicing then I'm practicing, and they'll let me know that before the practice or the game. Right now, I'm just going day by day, and I know that we have a practice today and I'm going to go out there and practice full padded today.

Q. With all the veterans getting days off, are you saying 'coach, I don't want a day off?'

A: For me, yes. Like I said, I need as many reps as possible. The most reps I can get, the most practice time I can get on the field, playing football is very important to me.

Offensive Tackle Matt Peart

Q: We saw you get in yesterday when (tackle) Evan Neal went out. What was that like and what did you take away from those reps?

A: It's kind of having that next man up mentality, always being ready. Always making sure I capitalize on those opportunities to be with the ones. Making sure the attention to detail is that much more defined and yeah, just playing with my guys.

Q: How do you think your game has changed over time? Maybe not the whole time you have been here but maybe under this coaching staff and the opportunities that you have, especially with (tackle Evan) Neal at the moment?

A: With (offensive line coach Bobby Johnson) OG he's a stickler for the details so this being the second year under him, understand what he wants and respect what the defense gives us. It's awesome being in the second-year underneath OG. I feel like my skills from that standpoint, I've been able to grow and been able to attack each day.

Q: Just the idea that you have grown over your time here, maybe not going back to the very beginning but it seems like under this coaching staff a lot of guys have made some improvements.

A: It's kind of crazy when you think about it, four years kind of flew by (laughs). Being under) OG for a second year and understanding what he wants with respect to the looks, it has been great to be under his coaching and I am definitely able to fine-tune my skills and refine them.

Q: Can I show that I am really not cool or into the nicknames, I am not sure who OG is.

A: Coach Johnson (laughs).

Q: That's what you call (offensive line coach) Bobby Johnson? Can I ask what the 'O' stands for?

A: That's OG Bobby Johnson (laughs).

Q: I'm curious how is this training camp and maybe this offseason in general, maybe a little bit different from last year when you were kind of recovering from the ACL and maybe day-to-day and just in general, how is this a little bit different?

A: Mentality has always been the same. Just get better each and every day. When I was rehabbing my ACL last year, I was just making sure that I was able to do better than the last day. I made sure that I was able to just grow and have that same mentality carry into the offseason, OTAs, and on to training camp, it's the same mentality. Making sure I just focus on the plays and making sure that I have good plays, not good days because that will speak for itself at the end of the day. Just making sure I have that same mentality of always having the mindset of always being willing to grow.

Q: Obviously, your ability to play on both sides of the line has helped you in college, helped you in the pros. What maybe about your skillset or what have you maybe learned over time about playing on the left side versus the right side and what are some of the differences that maybe you have had to kind of improve at or just learn over time as you got the pros?

A: For me, I just try to keep it as simple as possible. Being about to flip your feet is something that takes time. I put the work in to really fine-tune or refine my skills because they are both different … and different ends so you have to understand what comes with both. I just try to keep it simple as possible and try to make sure that whenever my number is called, I am ready for whatever side.

Q: Does this maybe opportunity with (tackle) Evan (Neal) out, this chance with the ones or just this training camp in general feel a little bit more important just given this point in your career, where you are contract-wise, does this opportunity kind of feel a little bit more important or do you feel a little bit more pressure to kind of impress the coaching staff, kind of make your mark this training camp?

A: I take every rep as if it is the defining rep. Being able to play with the ones is a great opportunity but if I am with the twos or threes, I make sure that every rep that I get, I make sure that I showcase my skills and put my best foot forward all the time.

Q. In my generation, OG meant 'old guy', you weren't fibbing to us, were you?

A: No, no. I guess my generation it means original gangster (laughs).

Q: In year four, does it feel like a make-or-break year?

A: I mean coming into this year, it's how the mentality is always getting better. Year four, year three, year two, year one, it's always been the same. Make sure I always put my best foot forward and showcase my skillset and what I am able to do on the field.

Q: You always wonder when they draft two tackles that high, you wonder 'do I still fit in?' Was that ever something you concerned yourself with or do you just look at yourself?

A: No, I just kept it to myself. Just try to control what I can control and like I said, just always make sure that every rep that I take, make sure I showcase my best foot forward every single time and just always have that mentality of staying ready.

Q: What feedback did you get from OG yesterday after you took those first-team reps?

A: Like I said he is a stickler to the details, so you know with OG he likes certain footwork with certain plays and just making sure that whatever, whichever respective play came up, just make sure that my attention to detail was sharp.


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