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Quotes: Coach Brian Daboll, WR Isaiah Hodgins, LB Bobby Okereke

Head Coach Brian Daboll

Q: Any injuries coming out of yesterday?

A: Yes. So, (offensive lineman) J.C. (Hassenauer). He'll be out. He'll be out long term. He got a tricep. He's going to end up having surgery, which is too bad. Other than that, it's the same. (Tight end) Ryan (Jones) will still be down. (Linebacker Jihad Ward) Haddy will still be down. And then everything else Is the same.

Q: Will Nacho (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) still be out. It looked like he had that red non-contact jersey on?

A: Yeah, he will be doing more today. So, he will be up.

Q: Is Nacho still in the concussion protocol?

A: He's doing stuff today then he'll be looked at post practice

Q: How did Shep (wide receiver Sterling Shepard) look the first day out there for you?

A: Good first day. He's been working hard over there, running routes. It's probably good for him to go against some people. What we will do is, sorry, we will keep him down today. We will keep Shep down today. That's the rehab plan for him.

Q: Every other day or?

A: I'd say down today, then we will just monitor it every day. After this first one, we wanted to give him a day off the next day.

Q: What have you seen from tackle Tyre Phillips to warrant him getting reps with the first team?

A: He's done a good job. He's done a good job since we got him last year. He's big, he's long. He can bend. It goes back to the position flexibility. Play outside, swing tackle, play some inside. So, we thought we would give him an opportunity to look at him inside. I guess we will find out a lot more here for the big guys. It's hard to evaluate, but being able to do that, communicate with different people at a different position, we thought that would be good for him.

Q: Is it tougher to evaluate a guy when you get him mid-season when you're not doing all these evaluations, practices and getting ready for games?

A: It's different. You can still evaluate them, but it's a different evaluation because you are. The stuff you are doing now is broad. There's a ton of things. We are trying out a lot of different things. Once you get to the situation where you are in-season and things are cut down, it's a little bit different. But you still can evaluate.

Q: What have you seen from cornerback Trey Hawkins?

A: He's done a nice job with the opportunities that he's given. He'll get some more. A lot like the young guys, some good, some stuff to improve on. Good young man who works hard. So, he will get some more chances.

Q: Would you say that it's a myth when you have a player coming from a small-school program, jumping into the NFL. A lot of people say they have a bigger gap to bridge. Is that a myth in your opinion?

A: I think each person is different. Where they went to school, when they come in. Every situation is different.

Q: Wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins was not a typical in-season pickup for you because you knew him. He wasn't brand new to you, but the way he came on late in the season. As a coach, can you admit you were surprised? I mean, these opportunities haven't been there with Buffalo or here before that.

A: I'd say nothing really surprises me. I think he made the most of his opportunity. He's out there, he'll compete right now. He plays multiple spots as well, not just one spot. But, obviously, having a relationship with him and him understanding some of the things we did offensively, not exactly the same, but I think it allowed him to pick it up a little bit quicker. He made the most of his chances.

Q: You always say one season doesn't affect the other. You were hot at the end, it doesn't mean you are going to start out hot. He was hot at the end of the season. Can that help him in his head? I did it, I can keep going here.

A: I would say that's probably a good question for him.

Q: As a coach, do you look at him and say 'okay, that's the way he ended. So, he can start that way, too?'

A: No. He's got a foundation to build on, but we start back over. There's different competition in the room. But he's got a good mindset.

Q: Does linebacker Darrian Beavers still have a lot of rookie to him because of all the time he missed?

A: I'd say it's not his first year because he knows how we run things, our program. But obviously being out here after that injury that happened in training camp. Still a young player, still has a ways to go. He's done a good job since he's been out here. Obviously fighting through that rehab and now getting an opportunity, he's done some nice things. We'll see when we get going here.

Q: Is he on a pitch count?

A: Yeah, we manage him.

Q: You're rotating a lot of guys, particularly with the offensive line, where people talk about the need for continuity. Is there a point in time where you would really like to settle that?

A: I think it will be settled by the players once we figure that out. Seems like that's a question I've had since I've been a coordinator, then last year. Our job is to give people opportunities to go out there and compete, use different lineups. See how they react to different things, whether it's from tackle to guard, guard to center, center to guard. I think every place I have been we have always done that with the offensive line.

Q: With tackle Tyre Phillips, did he do any guard with you in practice last year, I know he did as a rookie?

A: I'd say (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson) does a great job, whether even if it's on the look-team during the week, rolling guys in. Just to try to create much flexibility as we can.

Q: Shep said yesterday that you remind guys that the playoffs isn't the only goal. To go even further. Is that important…

A: Who said that?

Q: Sterling Shepard. Is it important to talk about those things before you can achieve them?

A: I'd say Shep maybe confused that with 'let's go out and have a good practice.'

Q: What did you think of the cornerback (Jason) Pinnock interception?

A: Yeah, it was pretty impressive, particularly when you pause it at the high point where he's got it

Q: And you did that?

A: Well, when we were watching it as a coaching staff. I mean, it was a good play.

Q: Does he still get credit for it even though you blew the play dead?

A: That was kind of an impromptu type deal where I got leaders on the team wanting to do one more play, which is good. It's good competition. So, of course, yeah.

Q: With the wide receiver competition, is it the same philosophy as the offensive line in terms of no timeline?

A: Yeah, it really is. That's what training camp is for. That's why we are out here. I think everybody deserves an opportunity. Those that deserve the opportunity should get the opportunity. Then, what they make of it is up to them. Maybe they want more opportunity than they're getting and I've talked about this at the start of camp. You got to control what you can control, whether that is five reps, 10 reps, whatever it may be. You don't get any balls one day, you just got to stay mentally focused on doing your job and when you get an opportunity, make the most of it.

Q: I know you said wide receiver Sterling Shepard might have misinterpreted your message, but I'm curious, in your mind has the rhetoric or message changed in year two because you are at a different point in the progression?

A: No, we are day-to-day. We got a long way to go. This is a different year; I have said it a million times and it is. It's not cliché, it is. I have been a part of teams that had finished the way you wanted to finish then didn't finish the next year the way you want to finish. They are two different teams. You've got to really stay focused.

Q: Now that it's a different year, do you alter your message?

A: I think you always as a leader and presenter, you always have to evolve. I've spoken to a lot of, again I've said this, business executives, head coaches, not just in football but in other sports. You're always trying to improve, self-improvement. It really is a new year. The focus has to be laser and you have to continue to just block everything out and improve each day.

Q: What has changed in year two for you?

A: I kind of keep all those notes from the people I've talked to private, but there's a lot of things I can improve on. I'd say first is my weight, which I really haven't done a good enough job of (laughs). No, it's leadership, it's communication. It's practice scheduling, it's dealing with other people in the organization, whether it is equipment staff, training staff. There are constant things that go on each day that maybe last year was the first time it ever happened to me. If it comes up this year, I can lean on some experience. But I'm kind of like the players. It's all new right now, relative to training camp and trying to build a team. We've certainly got a long way to go.

Q: I know it's early, but to the amateur eye, we've seen cornerback Deonte Banks get beat a few times. What have you made of what he looks like so far and where he needs to go?

A: I think he's done a good job. A young player, competitive. We kind of throw a lot at them, whether that is throw a lot at them on defense, throw a lot at them on offense. He's a good young player. But he falls into the category of all the young players that we talked about. Tre, you guys asked about. Or (Darrian) Beavers or some young receivers. That's what this time of year is for.

Q: Did you want to go right at him at the get-go? No like kid gloves. You want to challenge him.

A: I think we try to challenge all our players. We are jumping right in, it's not like walk into the pool, we are jumping right into the deep end right now. Everybody's got to compete it out.

Q: What do you like about how quarterback Daniel Jones has started camp?

A: Consistent, which is probably a good word to describe him, is consistent since I've met him and have been around him. He's done a nice job.

Q: In general, there seems to be more down field shots yesterday. What do you attribute that to?

A: Scheduling, scripting. Again, we're always trying to work on different things. Maybe it's the short passing game, maybe it's third-and-short where you're not throwing a bunch. We try to be well thought out in our practice plans, see different things. Yesterday was just normal down and distance, but obviously we threw It down the field yesterday, I'd say, quite a bit. Which is good because you've got to see some of that for your evaluations. It's building a team, it's scheduling, it's improving each day, which is always about evaluation and testing different things out.

Q: How do you see Wink interact with a rookie corner who is clearly being scheduled to start? How do you see Wink in that role?

A: The same that I see him with all the players. I think he does a great job of interacting. He's honest, he tells the players what they need to work on. He's a good communicator and has good leadership about him. So, it's not just with (cornerback Deonte) Banks, it's the veteran players, too. He just got a really good way about him that the players respect. He's been doing this a long time, so he's been through a lot of different experiences, probably a lot of different conversations with a lot of different players, so it's good to have him.

Q: What have you seen out of linebacker Bobby Okereke and how good of a combination can he be with Beavers?

A: Bobby O has been a good addition. He's got good length, speed, practices hard. I think someone asked about his leadership. He's done good in that regard. He's been playing both spots. Someone asked about that as well. We'll see where it goes.

Wide Receiver Isaiah Hodgins

Q. How do you feel like camps been going?

A: It's been going well, you know. (I've) been taking it day by day and continuing to work on my craft so it's been going good so far.

Q. What was your perception on Daniel Jones?

A: We definitely knew that he was a tall, strong quarterback. We used to always talk about him and compare him to (Bills quarterback) Josh Allen. We definitely knew he had the physical traits and stuff and coming here, I was able to see the mental side and the preparation and work ethic. He's the full package, and I think he's a great quarterback, so I'll ride or die about him.

Q. Do you think Daniel Jones gets enough respect outside of this building?

A: I feel like some people do (and) some don't. That's with a lot of guys in the NFL, but I know one thing, he definitely doesn't worry about that, so that's all credit to him. Whether he has a good game, or a bad game or people praise him or not, he keeps the same mindset of working every day, so that's something that influences the entire locker room. That's what you like to see from your quarterback.

Q. Is Daniel Jones a topic that comes up with guys that you know around the league?

A: People definitely have a lot of questions, for sure. I think he put a lot of the league on notice last year, so I think those conversations start to come up when you have good performances like he did. A lot of people were probably talking bad, and then he has the season that he had last year, and now people are trying to debate if he's good or not, if he's top this or whatever. That's going to come with performances like he's had. I know he's not worried about it (and) I know as a wideout room and as a team we're really not either. We're focused on what we can do to win games every week.

Q. When you look at the wideout room do you think you guys are more talented than last year?

A: The coaches did a great job of retaining a lot of talent then adding a lot of talent. We've got players all over the place that you can plug in at any position, any route and put a lot of pressure on the defense. I'm definitely excited to see what our wideout room can do.

Q. How does it feel coming in this year after having a whole offseason rather than being brought in midseason?

A: I feel very comfortable in the offense and the scheme. Just being able to take a different approach to my game and knowing that I'm not just thrown into the fire like I was last year. (I) kind of get to work on some mental stuff for me. Kind of like looking at coverages and disguising stuff and seeing stuff that I give away and stuff that I can work on in my game. So, I'm trying to take that next step myself.

Q. Looking back, how beneficial was that to get that late experience in the system last season?

A: It was really beneficial. Just being able to compete against top teams, to play in huge games and playoff games and be able to be in the grit and grind with this team. Coming back from being down or a big divisional game. It was good to be able to see the character in that locker room and whether we take a hit or whether we're winning big games, just never change and keep working throughout the week. I definitely love the guys in the locker room, and it made me feel more a part of the team being in those moments with them.

Q. How would you describe the overall competition and camaraderie among the wide receivers now that there is so many more of them?

Q. What do you think (wide receiver Cole) Beasley brings to the table?

A: I think he definitely brings that veteran experience of just route running from the slot and really on the outside. I used to always tell the guys about him and how much he helped me, he's been back for a week or two and he's already back to critiquing me and helping me with my routes and different details. He knows the offense really well. He came up with half the concepts. He's just mentally on a different level than a lot of people, so he's a huge help.

Q. With what you did last year, do you sit there and say, "I got to go out there and do it again?'

A: I don't think anyone would really get in that position and try to just 'oh I'm cool.' Especially me and a lot of guys on our team. I try to push myself to forget it completely about last year and just sit there and take it day by day and really eclipse what I did last year. That's our goal, we are not satisfied with that.

Q: The explosiveness of this offense has been a big focus this offseason, does it feel different in practice or how does that feel different to you?

A: I feel like it definitely does. I feel like at any given moment we can be throwing a deep shot to anybody from the ones to the twos to the threes, whoever is in there at any position, to a tight end or a running back. Our offense is very creative, and it's very explosive, so I am excited to see it in games.

Q: What do you think of the way (wide receiver) Jalin Hyatt's been coming on the last few days?

A: He's been doing great. He's doing everything a rookie is supposed to be doing, he's asking all the right questions. He's soaking everything in like a sponge, he comes up to me and (wide receiver Darius) Slay(ton) and (wide receiver Cole) Beas(ley), he's always asking questions, trying to watch film and do all the right stuff. I think he definitely brings just that explosive part to our offense. He's one of those pieces who helps stretch the field vertically for us. I'm excited for him to keep taking it step by step and learning this game, getting all those bumps out of the way, which it seems like he has, and just keep taking the top off of defenses.

Linebacker Bobby Okereke

Q. (Inside Linebacker) Darrian Beavers, you probably didn't know a lot about him coming into this year. He didn't play at all last year other than the preseason. What have you seen from him so far?

A: He's a big, athletic guy that's very physical and can run. He's got smooth hips. He's a really good athlete.

Q. In the Giant linebacker position with the two inside guys, are those guys interchangeable?

A: For the most part. Sometimes you'll have the dime matched up more on the tight end and Mike more on the running back. But I mean, a lot of times with teams and how they jet motion and try to put you in funky positions, you end up playing both. So, you've kind of got to be able to play both.

Q. This position was kind of inconsistent last year on this team. Do you see yourself as the fix to find consistency at middle linebacker?

A: I just think I'm a good addition to the group. Obviously, just trying to push everybody and make it a very competitive group, competitive training camp. Hopefully we just can contribute to this team as best we can.

Q. How much are you looking forward to putting pads on?

A: I'm excited. It's only a day away, so here we come.

Q. Are pads open season to hit somebody, or is it in moderation?

A: It's in moderation. I mean, obviously, we all come out here, we have egos, everyone wants to prove something. But it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. We've got to keep each other healthy, and we've got to all make it through 17 games. You can win the battle in a practice, but you want to win the war. So, you've got to keep each other smart and safe, but you also want to compete. It's a fine balance.

Q. Darrian spoke about stopping the run being an emphasis for you guys. Is that an emphasis for you guys?

A: 100 percent.

Q. How are you guys trying to get better in that area?

A: A lot of walkthroughs, a lot of meeting time spent on (run) fits, just the mental part. Then when the pads come on tomorrow, physicality.

Q. Is that something you think is a strength of your game, stopping the run?

A: 100 percent.

Q. Is stopping the run winning a battle or just staying in your position?

A: Can you clarify that? What do you mean?

Q. In a sense that you have a zone or an area—

A: Yeah, I mean, it takes 11 guys to do their own job at the same time. But also, once you fit your gap, go be a football player and tackle the ball. It takes that dogmatic mentality to go make the tackles, but you also have to do your one-of-11. Stay in your A-gap, stay in your B-gap, set the edge. It takes everybody.

Q. Have you enjoyed this so far? It seemed like the Colts funneled tackles to you last year. Is that what this team is doing too?

A: I just think this team is as competitive as can be. Our offense, you're going against (running back) Saquon Barkley, (tight end) Darren Waller, DJ (quarterback Daniel Jones), I mean, there's (wide receiver Darius) Slayton. Guys are flying around. So, it makes us better. It makes us competitive. From a tackling standpoint, I'm just trying to tackle the ball every time they hand it off.

Q. What are you trying to get used to with the pads on? Is it the physicality or is it the weight of them?

A: It's my fifth year in the league. I'm pretty used to pads.

Q: But you haven't worn them in seven months now.

A: Yeah, the weight of it, for sure. Obviously, you want to work on your conditioning. But you just go out there and hit.

Catch up on all the action from training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.



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