Head Coach Brian Daboll
Q: Do you have any updates on the injured guys?
A: I do. Would you like to hear them?
Q: Yes, please.
A: (Offensive lineman) Devery Hamilton will not practice today. (Guard) Tyre Phillips will not practice today. (Tackle) Evan Neal will be non-contact, he's still in the protocol. (Wide receiver) Collin Johnson will not practice today.
Q: Is he (Collin Johnson) alright though or is that a long-term thing?
A: I don't think it's long term, but I'm not a doctor either. Right now, I think he is not practicing today. (Running back) Gary Brightwell will not practice today. (Inside linebacker) Cam Brown will not practice today. (Defensive lineman) Ryder (Anderson) is still out. And then (defensive lineman) D.J. will be off of PUP, Davidson.
Q: What about (cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott?
A: He's practicing.
Q: (Cornerback) Nick McCloud?
A: McCloud won't.
Q: (Punter) Jamie (Gillan) is alright?
Q: You said McCloud won't, right?
A: He will not today.
Q: (Inside linebacker Darrian) Beavers. Did he not play as part of his rehab program?
A: Yeah, like I said, I don't know if you were there or not. Yeah, that was more the plan, but he'll go today. Everybody else should be out there in some form or fashion.
Q: We know you take (quarterback) Daniel's (Jones) input into the offense quite a bit, at least in terms of last year, this year. Do you do that with (running back) Saquon (Barkley) too? Because he has been pretty vocal about wanting to be more than just a check down receiver and it seems like you guys have included specific routes that aren't just like he's the checkdown guy, he's an in route, in rhythm, a target.
A: I'd say our coaches and players work together really in everything. We are always going to do what we think we need to do for that game. That's how we always approach it.
Q: Do you see that as a potentially untapped part of his skillset?
A: I just think it depends on week to week, what we want to do.
Q: How do you work with players, in terms of, they have a really good performance you don't let them get too high and if they have a bad performance, you kind of keep them even keeled and focused on tomorrow?
A: I think that's what we always try to do here is to try to be focused on today, get better. You are going to go through a lot during an NFL season and there hasn't been one in 23 years that I haven't, so you are going to have down times; you are going to have up times. You have to really stay focused on your day-to-day improvement and regardless of what happens the play before, the week before, you have to have a positive mindset, move on with the right approach for the next play or the next series or the next practice. Try to eliminate any roller coaster riding that the NFL usually tries to get you in.
Q: Do you talk to these guys and say 'look, you had a bad practice, you had a bad game, we are not going to make a decision based on that one?'
A: I think I try to be as transparent as I can with everybody. The goal is to be consistent, consistently improving. That's really the goal. You are going to have, everybody is, myself more than probably anybody, is going to have a bad play, a bad decision, a bad day. You have to be laser focused on what your craft is and how you do it to the highest level.
Q: Sounded like you guys thought you got a lot out of the joint practices, now you go forward, it's just basically you guys and the games between now and the start of the season. Do you have to structure anything differently or do you look to structure anything differently for your practices to kind of get out of what maybe you are not going to get out during the week from going against another team?
A: Yeah, I think you have a plan of what you want to do at the start of camp but that evolves as your team evolves on situational football, more things that you need to get that maybe you didn't get in the game. Revisit it on a day-to-day basis. We have the layouts of what we want to do but make adjustments where we need to make adjustments. We are still in training camp mode, we will be in training camp mode here for the next couple of weeks so a lot to work on.
Q: (Offensive lineman) Marcus McKethan, I guess you will be ramping him up. Last summer if I recall, cross-trained at guard and tackle, is that something you kind of plan on doing again this year?
A: Yeah, I mean I think anytime you can have linemen that are flexible and that can play multiple spots, you try to do that early on in camp and throughout camp because you never know. If you are not a starter, you are going to have multiple roles so we will put him in there, move him around a little bit. We will see how it goes today and then we will talk about what we do going forward but he will do a little bit more today than he is.
Q: Nacho's (Defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches) back today?
A: Yep. He will be doing something.
Q: Is (wide receiver Jalin) Hyatt's wrist any kind of concern?
Q: How do you look at the wide receiver competition and what's important to you when it comes to the back end of that?
A: Still, I'd say it's ongoing right now. We have got a lot, a couple more weeks of practice, a few more games, so just still kind of let them compete it out and kind of see who rises to the top.
Q: Do you like to have a wide variety of types there and how much does special teams for you play into that?
A: I think it all plays into it. We are not at that point right now, roster cutting and all those things, we are still in the middle of training camp, so these guys are going to have ample opportunity. The more you can do, usually the better it is. Whether you can play in the kicking game or not, create another role for yourself but we are still in the thick of it.
Q: Just having the one cut, do you like that? Can it get too crowded out here or is there no such thing?
A: Well, this is the first time for me doing it. I don't really think about it too much, just whatever it is, it is.
Q: You think you will like that in third preseason when you don't, sometimes you run out of bodies there.
A: It's the same for everybody so just play by whatever rules it is.
Q: What makes (wide receiver) Cole Beasley reliable and a good route runner?
A: He's quick and experienced, has good hands. He's done it for a while, he's been a pretty consistent player.
Q: Now that we are a few weeks from all the contract stuff that happened with Saquon, how have you seen him in camp? Is he the same guy he always is, is he any different at all?
A: Same guy, yep.
Q: Which means what to you, like same guy?
A: Comes in here, does his job, works hard, knows what to do, practices well, good teammate.
Q: After watching the film, it looked like from a layman's view and the PFF stuff, your backup tackles Korey (Cunningham) and Matt (Peart) had some scuffle in there, in terms of just pressures allowed, any concerns coming out of that about your depth at tackle?
A: No, it was the next part of the process. We will get to go out there and get some live reps. Again, we all have improvement to do, that's what we will try to do this week.
Q: What did you like about (running back Eric) Gray coming out of Oklahoma? Does it seem like he plays faster than the 4.63 that he got timed at?
A: He was a productive player for them. Did a good job with the ball in his hands. Had some pass receiving skills, open field running. Again, I told you guys this before, we will get him reps returning as many kicks as we can but again, a long way to go like the other young guys.
Q: You have obviously taken the time with your guys on the interior defensive line, whether they have been banged up or coming off of PUP, a guy that seemingly stood out last week was (defensive tackle) Jordon Riley. Just curious what you have seen from that, sometimes guys get thrown in with the big boys and don't necessarily step up, what has allowed him to step up?
A: I think he's made steady improvement. He's got a good room to be in for a young player with the veterans (defensive lineman) (Dexter Lawrence II), (defensive lineman) (Leonard Williams) and Nacho and (defensive lineman) A'Shawn (Robinson). They are really invaluable in there for young players. And then (defensive line coach) Dre (Andre Patterson) and (assistant defensive line coach Bryan) Cox do a good job. He's come along slowly, he's improved every day since he has been here. Thought he showed out well for himself, played a lot of snaps. He's in a good spot relative to the room he's in, the people that he can learn under. He's got the right mindset.
Q: What's the biggest growth you have seen in him? Or biggest steps.
A: He's really just improved day-by-day. Come into this league, it's all new and then you are inside, he's big, he's long, he can bend. He's learning stuff every day from Dre and Cox but then I'd say those four veterans they are really good teammates and they take those guys underneath their wings and talk to them a lot and he's done a good job of listening and just trying to get better each day.
Q: Do you have any other update on the other PUP guys? (Wide receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson) and (cornerback) Aaron Robinson? This week, either guy?
A: I'd just say making progress, but no timetable yet.
Safety Xavier Mckinney
Q. Are you looking to play Friday night and get some snaps in?
A: Yeah, I was wishing I played last game but ready – getting ready for Friday, getting prepared and kind of the same thing as last week. Just getting ready for the week, getting ready for the game so (it) should be good.
Q. Can you talk about cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III and what you seen?
A: They played great, man. I thought for their first game. I thought they played really well, they played composed, and they went out there and were competitive. We didn't expect anything less. We saw them put in the work throughout the weeks to build up to that game, and we've been helping them along the way. Obviously, they're going to have their growing pains and they're still having their growing pains, but they're competing and they're competitive guys. So, we know every game day they're going to come with their best stuff.
Q. Does a little more fall on your shoulders having two young guys out there?
A: A little bit. A little bit definitely does. Like I said, it's growing pains. It's like little things that they kind of get mixed up on sometimes, but that's why guys like me, guys like (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), that's why we're out there to help those guys kind of get through that type of stuff. Like I said, they're competitive, so they fight through it, and I tell them all time, I got their back, we got their back, so they don't have to worry about much.
Q. Do you guys in the defensive back room feel like you guys are behind safety Dane Belton in takeaways at this point?
A: (Safety Jason Pinnock) JP and (safety) Dane. They both have one, so we're going to keep trying to stack them. We've got a really good room, we've got a lot of talent, a lot of guys that have the ability to go get the ball, so we're just going to keep stacking, for sure.
Q. Is it good to see Dane Belton healthy and see what he brings to the defense?
A: For sure. I think just having the secondary as a whole be healthy is really good for us, and that's going to work in our favor, obviously as we keep working through these weeks. We've got a lot of guys that can play really good football, so having all of us available and healthy will be super important with the number of games that we have.
Q. What do you think of the way that cornerback Adoree' Jackson has gone into the slot a little bit? Only the best of the best corners in this league are that flexible. What have you seen from him and what does it tell you that he wants to do that?
A: Ever since I've known Adoree', I've knew that he could play anywhere. It doesn't matter where you put him. You won't see a drop off. It's not surprising – it's not anything that surprises me at all, or any of us. But he's done an extremely good job of being aware and being able to make those switches and also having the smarts to do that because it's not easy to do, but he's able to do it.
Q. Does that give the offense another wrinkle to think about?
A: For sure. For sure. But like I said, we've got a room full of guys. You can throw us around a lot of different places, and you don't know who's playing what position. That's the great thing about our group, and the great thing about our room is that we're able to play in different spots and do different things, so that should work into our favor.
Q. On the other side of the ball, we've seen running back Saquon Barkley go into the slot. Not just as a checkdown receiver but as a slot receiver. How tough will it be to cover him if he's a designed target rather than just a screen option?
A: That guy's one of one. It doesn't get any better than him. Wherever he's at on the field, rather it's lined up in the backfield, lined up in the slot, lined up on the outside, you've got to match up. You've got to be alert, he's a guy that's going to give guys a lot of problems, no matter where he's at. But that's what happens when you've got a guy that good, a guy that talented, so that's another piece that we have.
Q. Do you see the difference in quarterback Daniel Jones this year in terms of his play? If so, what way?
A: For sure. Just being a lot smarter and knowing different things. Obviously, with the more game experience that you have, you start to see a lot of different things, you see more coverages – you see things that the defense is trying to mess with your head and trying to this, but he's been picking up on that super well throughout this offseason. He's poised, he's confident, and you can see it when he plays. You can see it in the locker room, you can see it really everywhere. He's been great for us; he's been making us better in the backend, and he's definitely made our offense better as a whole. It's good to see him just continue to grow but knowing how he works; we see it every day. He's one of those guys – he's like a work horse. He's always working out, he's always in the film room, so it's not surprising.
Q. How do you see it in the locker room?
A: Just being a lot more talkative. Just having that energy day in and day out. We can see that. It's contagious, we can feel it as a team. I know the offense can feel it as well on the other side, so it's just been good, man. Overall, I think the energy level has been high throughout the course of the offseason. Just being in the locker room, being out there on the field with the guys so it's been fun.
Q. Seems like safety Jason Pinnock is playing in that spot next to you. What have you seen from him and how do you guys complement each other?
A: I think we complement great. We can play both jobs. We can both play the right and the left safety, doesn't really matter. It's going to be special. I think as we continue to grow – obviously, we've still got to get through some things, just kind of figuring out some things, but I think so far it's been really good just to play alongside of him. As we practice more together, as we play games, we'll start to understand each other more and know what the other one likes to do, what we don't like to do, stuff like that, so as we go, we'll figure it out and we'll be good.
Linebacker Bobby Okereke
Q. How tough is it covering (running back) Saquon (Barkley) as a route runner?
A: Very tough, yeah.
Q. It seems like you do that a couple of times a day in practices.
A: Yeah, and it's honestly great practice for me because I don't think there's—I mean, I think (49ers running back) Christian McCaffrey is a great route runner, but I think Saquon might be the best.
Q. What makes him so good at that?
A: He's got speed. He's got shiftiness. His wiggle is really good. He's just a dominant player.
Q. When you guys are in one-on-ones, do you arrange that so you're always going against each other for the most part?
A: Yeah. I mean, iron sharpens iron, so I try to give him the best that I can, and I always know I'm going to get a great look from him.
Q. What have you seen from (inside linebacker) Micah (McFadden)? He's been alongside you a lot the last couple practices. What has he shown you?
A: A lot of maturity. He plays fast, he plays physical, and he's got a lot of trust in himself.
Q. How much do things change for you whether it's him or (inside linebacker Darrian) Beavers? They're different types of players, so how does that affect you?
A: I love both their play style. I think Micah is always on it. He plays fast. Beavers has a swag and a confidence about him. So, it's really just getting my mindset going from Will to Mike when I'm playing with both of them, but I feel comfortable with both.
Q. How big of a difference is that, going from Will to Mike?
A: Not too much. My whole career, I've repped both. I played the Sam my rookie year, played Mike and then switched to Will, so I've been comfortable with both.
Q. You want to go into this preseason game, assuming you're playing, and get better and see more things. When you're facing a rookie quarterback, is it less of a challenge?
A: No, I still think (Panthers quarterback) Bryce Young is a great player. Obviously, there's some stuff in the league, some mistakes he hasn't made yet that he's learned from. We'll just watch the tape and prepare for him like any opponent.
Q. As a player, how much game time do you need in the preseason?
A: Personally, I like to play. You've got to feel those first couple of tackles. You can come out here and practice as much as you want, but your heart rate being up those RPMs of those nine, 10-play series, there's nothing that's going to really replicate that. I think it's important to play in the preseason. But obviously your head coach and coaching staff and trainers just figure that all out and we just go play.
Q. When you were on the other side of facing the Giants, how much of a concern was Saquon as a pass catcher? Because it seemed like in the past, they used him just as check downs, and now they're using against you guys in slots and stuff. Was he a big concern before and now that he's being used different, can you put yourself in an opponent's shoes and think about what you might think?
A: 100 percent. Thinking back to last year when we played him, it was, 'Get on Saquon, don't give Saquon any space,' just because of how dynamic and special he is with the ball in his hand in space. He's a threat anytime he's on the field, he's one of the best football players.
Q. Do you like the wrinkle that they're showing with him more as a pass catcher?
A: Yeah, I love it. I think it just makes our offense more dynamic.
Q. How about (tight end) Darren Waller? How difficult of a matchup is he?
A: From a speed-size combination, there are not a lot of guys who can match up with him physically. He just plays hard.
Q. Did you have an outside-looking-in perception of (quarterback) Daniel Jones? Now that you are his teammate, seeing him every day, did it change at all about the style of player and if so, in what way?
A: No, I think it just reconfirmed it. Obviously, playing you guys last season, or playing us last season, I got to see firsthand how competitive he was. A couple of those runs, a lot of quarterbacks aren't really putting it on the line for the team like that physically. Just to see the way he prepares, he's the first guy in every day, just his leadership on the field, his conditioning, I think he's a great leader.
Q. You can't force takeaways, but the defense as a whole got a couple in the last game. (Safety) Dane (Belton) got one out here, Dane ripped that ball out at joint practices. Is that something that's being emphasized, or can you not emphasize it because if you emphasize that then you're going to make a mistake and allow a big play?
A: No, you can emphasize it. You want to play as disciplined to the scheme as you can, but you always preach swarming to the ball, and you preach punching out the ball, and it's the extra effort that gets takeaways. You've seen that from Dane, that two-minute series, being in conditioned shape, and that play, he's just hustling to the ball and punched the ball out. So, the more we get in conditioned, better shape, the more takeaways we'll get.
Q. Does Dane seem to have as much linebacker in him as safety?
A: I just think Dane's a complete football player. He can hit, he can run, he can tackle and he's very smart.
Catch up on all the action from Monday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.