Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: How are you feeling about your week of practice?
A: Let's try to have a good day today, finish off strong. Had a good week of preparation. You know, important day today, finishing touches, go out there and have a good practice.
Q: Does opening day still excite you how it did your first year? What excites you most about that day?
A: Absolutely. It's the start of the season, a lot of unknowns. You get to go out there and play a real game, coach in a real game, deal with adversity. It's always exciting. Opening day, one of my favorite games.
Q: Do you still look at the old cliché that the middle linebacker is the quarterback of the defense? If so, how has (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) done?
A: I think we've got a lot of guys that are good communicators on our defense. Bobby's been a great addition in terms of the communication aspect of it and talking to the back end (and) also talking to the front guys. (Safety Xavier McKinney) X has done a great job with that as well, but Bobby's been a good addition for us. Throughout camp he's shown good leadership, he's had a really good camp for us, excited to watch him play.
Q: What makes (Cowboys' Defensive Coordinator) Dan Quinn's defense challenging to play against?
A: That's a good question. One, he always evolves over time. He has certain players, or type of players he has in his system that always create negative plays which is a huge challenge against this defense. Their ability to create negative plays and to create turnovers so two of the most important things on defense, they do at a high, high level. It always seems that when you're getting ready to play one of his defenses that they're already up there with that. Whether it's taking care of the quarterback, getting into bad situations where it's total advantage with their scheme, their players and how they play and the things that they cause issues with. Whether it's our offensive line, or tight ends, running backs, they have good corners usually that can play zone, but these two corners can play both, zone and man, so they tie in really well. The front ties in with the back end, they're aggressive, they're fast and he does a great job of coaching them. His defense evolved over time, but he has basic structure in which he's laid his foundation in, and you can see it every time you're playing one of his teams.
Q: You talked about the excitement of opening day. Opening day, it's at home, how much does the crowd play into that?
A: Playing well plays into that, that's what you need to do. Again, we have great appreciation for our fans, and we hope they're here early and loud during the game, but you also have to give them reason to be loud so playing well is really the most important thing.
Q: What makes you believe that Jason Pinnock is ready to be a starting safety in this league and when did you start thinking it was even a possibility?
A: Well, he's earned it out here. He's done a great job of picking up our defense, he's an athletic player, he's smart, he communicates well with X back there. He's earned his role.
Q: When you say unknowns, you've mentioned that a couple times, does that include you not knowing how your team is going to react, or do you have a pretty good idea as to how your guys are going to react when the lights come on?
A: I think you always do as a coach. You're confident in your players, you're confident in the game plan. But again, the early part of the season, what are they going to do? How are people going to react? Thirty percent of the team that we have, I don't know how they're going to react when something happens bad. That's why you try to practice it, you try to talk about it, but until it happens in live action, you really don't have a feel for your team. I'm confident in our guys, their preparation, how they've worked, but we're going to need to go out there and play and coach well.
Q: When you talk about unknowns, how much of a challenge is it with (Cowboys linebacker Micah) Parsons that you don't know where he's going to line up?
A: Yeah, that was kind of the way it was last year, too. So yeah, it always is. There're so many different communication points that have to take place with the offensive line, with the running backs, with the tight ends, whoever's in protection. There's a lot of I'd say study on that, a lot of communication with the coaches, a lot of planning that goes into that because he's such a dynamic guy.
Q: How much do you think the team feeds off (wide receiver) Sterling Shepard's energy when he's out there? We saw last year when he was hurt, they fed off him on the sideline. Now that he'll actually be back on the sideline, which I imagine will be a pretty emotional moment for him.
A: Yeah, he's put a lot of work into it to get back. He was there that first game, and then the first game at Tennessee he made that big play. (Wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) is an emotional guy. I think a lot of people feed off of him. He brings positive energy. He's been here a long time. Glad he's on our team.
Q: Do you have anybody limited the last two days that'll be full?
A: Same. Same. Everybody's going, and then we'll talk about it tonight.
Q: (Wide receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) has a chance to play Sunday?
A: Yeah, I think everybody's going to be out here today and then we'll sit here and talk about it tonight.
Q: All the rookies are going to be playing their first game under the lights in primetime. How will you psychologically prepare all these younger guys?
A: I had the captains talk to the rookies at the beginning of the week, just about their experience of playing in game one but really more importantly the preparation process leading up to game one. So, not just talk to them the night before where there's probably some anxiousness for everybody. I know there is for coaches, there is for players. So, do it early in the week. They've played this game a long time. Everybody's got to play their first game at some point.
Q: Why do you expect that atmosphere to be like for them and for you guys in general?
A: I just hope we go out there and play a good game. Hope the fans are out here early and tailgating and then get in their seats early and they're as loud as can be.
Q: Will you dunk footballs in water to prepare for possible rain?
A: Yeah, today we'll do a wet-ball drill. Yep. Anytime we think there's chance of rain, we always do that each week. That's really special teams phase, offensive phase.
Q: You've rotated the guards obviously all throughout camp. Have you settled on two starters, or do you think you'll continue the rotation?
A: No, we've settled on them.
Q: Do you want to disclose that?
Q: What's the benefit of not disclosing it?
A: We'll just get out there and be ready to play and the guys that will be out there will be ready to go.
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