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Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, TE Darren Waller, LB Bobby Okereke, WR Wan'Dale Robinson

Head Coach Brian Daboll

Long couple of days here, obviously made some cuts. I'm not going to talk about who was released today. It's kind of still a fluid situation right now, so really all-encompassing the roster, whether it's the practice squad, who we have so that's really more for tomorrow. Other than that, open it up.

Q: What about the activating (receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson)?

A: Yep, he's activated.

Q: What have you seen from him? Obviously, he hasn't participated because he's on PUP. What is your projection for him for the opener?

A: I'm not going to go – just going to see how he looks today and take it one day at a time.

Q: How impressed were you with how quickly he was able to come back? That seems pretty quick for an ACL.

A: I think the trainers have done a good job with him. It'll be good to get him out on the practice field and doing some individuals with (Wide Receivers Coach Mike) Groh and then we'll kind of slowly put him into some of the other drills but it'll be his first day out here.

Q: Was there any thought that if you would've keep him on PUP that it would've been six weeks?

A: Yeah, there was a lot of discussions about that relative to when he might be ready, when he's not ready, what's the best thing for the player, what's the best thing for the team and today we decided to bring him up.

Q: What do you think of the perception that you have a small wide receiving corps and it's a lot of slot receivers?

A: We just try to keep the best guys for us.

Q: What impression did Wan'Dale make on you guys when you guys drafted him and what impression did he make on you last year before he got hurt?

A: I thought he was improving. Obviously, the game he got hurt he was having a productive game. Again, he was a rookie receiver, learning a new offense. I think he's got the right mindset, had good speed, had good quickness, was productive, obviously, the game he got hurt and, unfortunately, he was out for a while.

Q: Where do you stand on having a receiver emerge as a "number one?" Do you care about that?

A: Yeah, I'd just say that I've coached receivers for quite some time early in my career, back in '02 and '03. (Former Patriots receivers) Deion Branch, Troy Brown, David Patten and David Givens, that was one group. I've been a part of some other places where (former NFL receiver) Brandon Marshall was there or (Bills wide receiver) Stefon Diggs. So again, it's really all about just doing your job and contributing to the team in the role that we need you to contribute in.

Q: Will (cornerback) Aaron Robinson start on PUP?

A: That's the plan. Yeah, that's the plan.

Q: What about (outside linebacker Carlos) Boogie Basham? What are you getting in that regard?

A: A young player that has good size. He'll be in the outside linebacker room, and we'll get him here and start working with him and put him in our system. Our system is a little bit different than Buffalo's system so we'll get him out here in the field and (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew (Wilkins) will start working with him and try to get him up to speed.

Q: From last year to this year, where has (wide receiver Darius) Slayton come in your eyes? Obviously, at this time last year he was pretty much on the bubble of making the roster.

A: I've been very pleased with Slay, a true pro. I think he dealt with some adversity when we first were here, obviously in training camp and in the early part of the season. Has had nothing but a great positive attitude, a team first player and has had a good training camp for us.

Q: Boogie Basham, how much does it work to your advantage, obviously (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) was part of the group that drafted him. You've obviously seen him a lot at practice.

A: I'd say it's a new system for him. So, let's just go back and talk about (wide receiver Isaiah) Hodgins for a minute, right? He was really in our system, understood our terminology, kind of pretty seamless transition. This is just acquiring another player from a different roster with a different – we know the player a little bit, the person and stuff like that but, again, he's got to learn a whole new defensive scheme, so it's probably a little bit different situation than, like say, Isaiah.

Q: How do you guys look at (cornerback) Darnay Holmes? Obviously, it's a tough thing to lose a job but he's still here and had to take a pay cut. How do you look at him?

A: Good team player and he'll be productive in whatever role we ask him to be.

Q: Have you determined who your starting guards are?

A: We've got some time here, but those guys have had a good camp. I'm not going to get into who's starting, who's not starting, who's the punt returner, who's the linemen. We're just going to come out here and focus on us for these next three days and we'll have 11 guys out there.

Q: Other than the guys that you put on IR, any other guys like (defensive lineman) Ryder (Anderson), for instance, will he go on IR?

A: Again, that just goes back to what I said earlier. There's kind of a fluid situation here. We'll have more for you whether it's tomorrow or Thursday when Joe and I are together.

Q: Will you have more than 53 guys out here today then?

A: Probably not.

Q: What about (tight end) Tommy Sweeney?

A: Yeah, same thing. With all of those guys, I respect the question, understand you got to ask it, but we are still in such a fluid situation right now with the roster.

Q: Who is not practicing today, injury wise?

A: (Running back Gary) Brightwell, (inside linebacker) Cam (Brown), (safety) Bobby McCain, he's in concussion protocol, (cornerback Nick) McCloud, (cornerback Cor'Dale) Flott, G.O. (safety Gervarrius Owens).

Q: I know some of those, but with G.O. is that long term?

A: No, I'd say everybody is really day-to-day. Yeah, with all those.

Q: So, all those guys are on the initial 53?

A: G.O., yeah. I mean, good job, nice question. Again, I'll go back to my original statement.

Q: Nick McCloud has been out awhile. Is there any sense that he's going to be ready to play?

A: Day-to-day.

Q: How do you feel about your offensive line, not just the starters but the depth as well. How do you feel about that group right now?

A: I think they have all earned it. The players that we kept have all earned it. Smart group, tough group. They mesh well together.

Q: What benchmarks do you have for your three practices this week and then you go away for a little bit on the weekend, maybe not you but the players and then come back. What do you want to accomplish before this weekend?

A: I'd say there is a considerable amount. Look, you are going against one another in training camp for, call it a month, whatever it is. There is definitely certain things that we need to get practice, whether we didn't get a certain look or we got too much of another look on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game so some of it will be competitive periods and others will be really let's do some things that we need to see that we haven't really seen as much from the other side of the ball, so it will be some carded periods that are just kind of let's work on these type of things and then it will be some competitive periods.

Q: Does the heavy game planning for Dallas really kick in next week?

A: Yeah, after the break. I mean the coaches have been working on that for quite some time, but it can get stale for you too as a player. These three days we'll focus on us and areas of improvement that we need, whether we need to see it or we need to do something better at it. Then, they'll have the three-day weekend, the players, and then come back and kick it off with Dallas.

Q: What's the value of (quarterback) Tyrod Taylor, a veteran like that being the backup?

A: He knows our system, he's an experienced player. Been a productive player when he played. Great teammate, have a lot of confidence in him.

Q: He seems to be a guy that maybe some of the younger players might choose to gravitate towards for questions, how do you see that?

A: Yeah, they do. I'd say, start in the quarterback room, I think he's really good for DJ (quarterback Daniel Jones), but I do think whether it is offense or defense or in the kicking game, there are a lot of players that, they watch how he works, they watch his routine. I mean he is in here as early as can be. He's just a true pro in every sense of the word.

Q: (Wide receiver Cole) Beasley practicing today?

A: I'm not falling into that. Again, I'd say the rosters fluid.

We voted for captains, so again there will be 10. It was player voted and told those guys during walkthrough just a little while ago.

Q: Who are they?

A: Good question (laughs). I was just waiting.

Q: Fluid? Not a fluid? Captains are a solid situation.

A: No, this is it. The captains are (quarterback) Daniel (Jones), AT (tackle Andrew Thomas), (running back) Saquon (Barkley), (tight end Darren) Waller, (kicker) Graham Gano, (defensive tackle) Dexter (Lawrence II), (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams), (inside linebacker) Bobby Okereke, (safety) X(avier McKinney) and (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson). Those were all voted by their teammates.

Q: Did you separate it by offense, defense, specialists or did you just straight up?

A: So, the way we do it is I have six slots and I have all the players vote and then if you get a certain amount of votes, then you are named captain. I think there was 22 people on the team that received votes, which to me is good for our team in terms of the way players perceive other players in leadership roles. Just because you are not a captain doesn't mean you are not a leader on the team. There was a considerable number of guys who got, maybe it was five votes or three votes. Some guys got over 50 votes, but that was all by the players.

Q: What does it say to you that two newcomers in Okereke and Waller immediately have that designation?

A: I think the players respect them and they have gone about their job the right way and performed out on the field, whether it be in practice or in some of the games and players that voted for them certainly have respect for them.

Tight End Darren Waller

Q: Did it surprise or take you back a little bit that you're going to be a captain right away?

A: It means a lot. It something you don't take for granted. I don't come in to try to earn a 'C' on my jersey. I just come in to try to impact guys in a positive way because I know I'm somebody that's been in the league longer than a lot of guys in the locker room have, so they may look at me to see, 'How's he been able to sustain through good times and through bad?' I try to set an example like that, and it manifested into being a captain and I'm going to continue to try to do the same things that I've been doing as far as uplifting guys and just being a positive example.

Q: Have you been a team captain before?

A: Yeah, I was a captain in '21 with the Raiders.

Q: When you'd been there for a while…

A: That was my third year.

Q: What do you take from that experience, being a captain with the Raiders and bringing it here? How does that impact how you go about things?

A: Something I learned being captain for the first time was you don't have to be anybody other than yourself. It's about finding your own leadership style. I feel like it's still unfolding for me. Even back then it was still a feeling-out process. Like, do I say a lot more, or do I do different things? Now, for me it's I feel more comfortable and how I lead is saying things (inaudible) sometimes, saying things that need to be said, but more so leading by example, encouraging guys when they may be in a rut or things may not be clicking, just being there for them when some people may turn their back on them and be like, 'What's going on with him,' but just try to be there for people. That's kind of more my leadership style.

Q: Did it take you a while to find that here, or did it happen almost right away with guys?

A: I feel like it started right away because I got here and I've never really been one of the oldest guys before and here, I am. I'll be 31 in a couple of weeks. I know guys look to that no matter what you've done in your career. It's like, 'Okay, this guy's been here for a long time; how has he been able to stay here?' So, I take that into account with the decisions that I make, the routine that I have, because you never know who may be watching. I try to carry that into every aspect of the day.

Linebacker Bobby Okereke

Q. You were voted as a team captain. What does that mean to you? Were you surprised?

A: I think, honestly, that's one of the biggest honors that you can get as a player on a team. To be voted by your peers, voted by your teammates as a captain. Something I don't take lightly at all. I just think we've got a great group of men in this locker room; we've got great leadership all around and I'm just happy to add to that and do whatever I can to help this team win.

Q. What do you think you showed them in your relatively short period here to make them look at you that way?

A: I think just discipline, hard work, a lot of the intangible stuff that doesn't really take any talent. Just showing up and working and being a guy that they can count on.

Q. Were you a captain in Indy?

A: No, I was not.

Q. Have you ever been a captain?

A: I was a captain in college my senior year.

Q. So you take this seriously?

A: Yeah, very seriously.

Q. I think (Head Coach Brian Daboll) coach said that there were votes for 20 or 22 different players –

A: 22 different players, yeah.

Q. What does that say about the character of this locker room that that many guys have votes?

A: High character, very mature group. It speaks to (General Manager) Joe (Schoen) and Dabs and the type of people that they bring in the locker room. The Mara family, just the whole organization that they've got here. Just a very, very, respectable organization.

Q. Is it a – relief isn't the right word – but you can kind of see who the team is now? Then you get a practice and a little break then it's the real thing.

A: Obviously, cut day today, it's a tough day. Guys you've seen pouring blood, sweat and tears out on the field, transitioning either to another team, another career, or different opportunities. But yeah, it's starting to take shape, take form a little bit and obviously we'll get a couple of guys back tomorrow with the practice squad. But, what are we – 12 days out from September 10th, Week One? It's getting very exciting.

Q. You guys made a couple of moves late here to add to the defense. How important is that depth and what role do you have to play to get those guys up to speed, because for some of the them it's a different system?

A: I think that's the great thing – like you said, 22 guys being leaders. There are at least one or two strong leaders in every position group. Those guys (outside linebackers) Jihad Ward, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari – I know (outside linebacker Carlos) Basham, I forget his first name, but they'll bring him up to speed pretty quickly. We've got a very veteran team, a very veteran group and we're just excited about it.

Wide Receiver Wan'Dale Robinson

Q: How does it feel?

A: It feels really good, long eight and a half months, but I am just glad to be back out there with the guys.

Q. You said eight and a half months. I mean, it is a long eight and a half months for you, but for that injury, eight months is not long.

A: I mean, nah, but it felt like a long time. Just put in a lot of work and just making sure that I got back out there with the guys.

Q: How ready are you?

A: I mean, I'm ready. Right now, it's just going to be a little gradual build up, just kind of got back out there, get my feet back up under me today and just kind of go with the trainers and the coaching staff and just see where we are at from there.

Q: What is your ultimate goal? To be ready opening day?

A: At the end of the day, I just want to help this football team win, whether that's week one and I feel comfortable out there or week two or week three, whenever that may be. I'm hoping for week one, but (I) just want to help the team win.

Q: Was it important for you, mentally and physically, but just the idea that they didn't put you out for a month so at least the message is that they believe you'll be back before October, did that matter?

A: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I wanted to go out there and show it even whenever I was just doing my rehab process that I'd be ready within those first four games so that they wouldn't have to sit me within those and then obviously, I'd have to have a little ramp up period if I was on the PUP and then maybe not been able to play for five or six games. Just wanted to get back out there, just get that chemistry back with (quarterback) Daniel (Jones), and just see what we can do from there.

Q: Was there a secret to getting there? You kind of short circuited this rehab by a month or two, right?

A: I would say that's a big testament to this (athletic) training staff and all the help that they have had with me. A lot of BFR (blood flow restriction therapy), a lot of long nights, and just making sure that you got to do what you got to do and you got to sacrifice some things, so I knew I wanted to be ready for the start of the season and I knew that I would sacrifice some things to hopefully getting back a little earlier than expected.

Q: Sacrifice what things? Like a life?

A: Yeah, I'd say for the most part during this offseason I was up here for really just about the whole offseason just trying to rehab and do what I could to get better.

Q: This timeline, was that always the goal, is the first four weeks or did it become evident at some point in the process that this is moving along faster than I would've thought?

A: I mean, from the moment that I tore my ACL, that's what I was wondering, can I be back week one. Talked to Dr. (Neal) ElAttrache out in LA and he was like, it could be a shot you just have to put the work in, and I told him that was exactly what I was going to do. Luckily, about a month ago everything started looking really, really good and just was able to get back out there today.

Q: Was that kind of all you needed to hear at the start, was that it was possible?

A: Once they told me it was possible, I was just going to do whatever I could to get back out there.

Q: Last year, you had a little injury, the last game, I'm sure you don't want to think about the injury, but do you think you were just starting to show?

A: Oh yeah, definitely. Me and my receivers coach (Mike Groh) had a talk about it too. Just felt like I started to get a lot more confidence even whenever, coming back from my injury the first week and then I just felt really, really good especially going into that game. Luckily, I ended off on that note and I know exactly what I can do in this league, but obviously it's a new year and I've just got to get back to work.

Q: What you were able to do today, were you like running routes, full on during team period?

A: Running routes, just working with DJ (quarterback Daniel Jones) and just doing those kinds of things. Just really like I said getting my feet back under me. They weren't going to throw me out there in the fire too much, but just definitely getting my feet back under me.

Q: Even though you were still on PUP, were you able to throw with Daniel at all in the offseason?

A: Well so the rules, at least during camp where I wasn't allowed to participate in anything with the team, so the only time that I was able to do any kind of throwing was whenever we did our little Charlotte trip. Just kind of was spot catching at that point, I wasn't really running too many routes. Yeah, so today was kind of the first time we really got to hit it back off so yeah.

Q: How difficult was it to, so they added (wide receiver) Jalin (Hyatt), they added (wide receiver) Parris (Campbell), (tight end) Darren (Waller) is not a wide receiver, but he is kind of a wide receiver, to see guys coming in and knowing you can't even compete with them?

A: I mean, I knew everything was a plan, even when everybody is getting added in. Luckily, I was still able to talk to some of the guys, and I just knew, at the end of the day, I knew I had a role and just going to play my part and everybody I feel like is going to do what they have to do, and we just want to win.

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