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What He Said: Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll on QB plans, receivers and more

Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll
Friday, July 27, 2018

Opening Statement: Good to be at camp, got a lot of work done. [We] had a good spring [and] implemented a lot of things. The guys came back with good retention, now it’s the next start of the process. Pads come on tomorrow, so this is really another extension of an OTA day, really, [having] no pads and limited runs and things like that. The guys have worked hard in the offseason, you can tell they’re conditioned. [They did] a good job on their condition tests. Ready to go to work.

Q: I know it’s the first day, but everyone wants to know about the quarterback situation. Sean [McDermott] addressed it briefly yesterday, but where do you stand early on here?
A: Yeah, it’s only the second day, so really we’re still in an extension of this OTA process that we talked about in spring. They’re going to have plenty of time to compete and work with some different units and different guys. They’re all required to know everything that we’re putting in and work with different guys and see where they’re at. Every day will be an evaluation process, just like it is for everybody, whether it’s the center position, guard position, a receiver, that’s where we’re at. Each day, we’ll evaluate and sit back [to look at] the entire offense.

Q: Brian, I know it would ultimately be Sean’s decision on who gets the starting job, but as the new coordinator especially, running a new offense, do you have a preference sooner rather than later?
A: I think whenever the decision [is] made, it will be the right time. We’ll do our due diligence collectively as a staff and our head coach will make a decision along with input from the rest of us. We’ll know the right time.

Q: With a guy like Josh [Allen], what’s the right level between accepting and understand that he’s a rookie in his first camp and what you demand of a quarterback?
A: Well, I think you demand everybody’s best performance, regardless [of] who it is: rookie, ten-year veteran, receiver, quarterback. That’s your job as a coach just to demand their best. That’s what they owe their teammates. Their understanding of the playbook, their technique and fundamentals, their execution, their pre-snap stuff, their ability to protect the ball and lead their team down to score points. That’s his job; that’s AJ’s [McCarron] job, that’s Nate’s [Peterman] job. I think you set a standard offensively for your players, you set a standard for your coaches, myself included, and we’re here to try and do our best every day. That’s what we owe each other, to do our best. [To] work extremely hard to get better every day and, really, to accept nothing less than that.

Q: With the installation, so everything that’s been put in has been done once so far in the spring or twice?
A: You try to get as many reps as you can. You’re obviously limited in certain things in the spring. There are some things that we’ve repped multiple times, there’s some things we’ve only repped a few times, and, again, it’s an evolving process [of] what guys do well, what they may struggle with, who’s doing what, where you want to put the person, what one of the quarterbacks feels comfortable with versus maybe another. You have to do constant evaluation. There’s a lot of communication that goes into it. You get as many reps as you can get, but training camp is going to be hard; it should be hard physically and it should be hard mentally on everybody, because that’s what gets you ready for the regular season. I’ve been a part of these for a long time; every one of them has been different, but the standard that you want to set really starts back in the spring and that’s what you have to demand.

Q: Is there an aspect of Josh’s game over the first couple of months or personality traits that you see already and go, “he’s ahead of the curve already in that area”?
A: He’s just a hard-working guy like I’ve talked about in the spring. He’s professional, he learns every day, he does his best not to make the same mistake twice. He’s got a good rapport with the players and that’s what you need to have at quarterback. Where he’s at now compared to where he’s going to be, I can’t tell you right now. We haven’t been out there and practiced with pads or taken a hit or anything like that, but he’s a professional young man.

Q: How tough is it for a rookie quarterback to walk that line and make sure that you get the respect of some of the veterans on the team, but you’re still a rookie quarterback?
A: I think anybody needs to just worry about doing their job and if you do your job well and take pride in it, you come prepared, you’re a good listener, you give good feedback, I think at any position or with any player that we have, that’s what we’re expecting.

Q: What level of input might you have had in respect to Robert Foster in the scouting process and what made him attractive to you as an undrafted option after the draft ended? I’m just curious what you communicated to the scouting staff.
A: Sure, well first of all, Brandon [Beane] and Joe [Schoen] and all of their staff do a tremendous job. It’s a tough job. Sometimes, you don’t realize as a coach how tough it is being down in Alabama and seeing all the scouts come through and the work they put in. You have a really good respect for all the information that they try to gather. Obviously, I was with him for a year, so you get to know your players. Whether it’s personality traits or how he learns or the type of routes he likes, no matter where I was, if I was in another place, it would be the same thing. They do a great job; they did their due diligence. He’s a hard worker, he’s got good speed, obviously, but he’s got a long way to go like the rest of us. We’ve got a long way to go, like most teams in the league do. We’re not anywhere near where we need to be. He’s been good in that regard.

Q: But the connection, though, in Alabama. You must have had some input there. The scouts do their thing, but you had him for a year. How much of a role did you have in bringing the kid here?
A: Look, I’m just a piece of the puzzle; I’m part of the team and they asked me, like I said, you get certain things [when] you’re around a person every day, whether it’s Robert or somebody else. If you’re around them, you’ll give your input in terms of work ethic, and character issues or anything like that. He’s a good kid; he’s worked hard. We expect him to continue to work hard.

Q: Just one last follow up, just because his numbers weren’t really there. He wasn’t really putting up numbers at Alabama, so what’s the draw? Outside of what you said already, he didn’t have a lot of input down there?
A: He’s obviously got a good redeeming quality in [his] speed. He has some familiarity. We’ve been out here with no pads, not a lot of press coverage or anything like that, so he knows he’s got a long way to go. He’s a great kid, he’s a grinder, he’s a worker, so we’ll see how it goes.

Q: Brian, back to the quarterbacks, one thing to draw on your experience in New England where Tom Brady was the guy forever, but can you draw upon your experience in Cleveland and the challenges and what you look for as the competition progresses through the spring through the end of training camp?
A: I think you draw upon all of your experiences wherever you’ve been, but in this case, it’s a new case, it’s a new year. We’re in a competitive business. We are, you guys are, everything is competitive in what we do. It’ll sort itself out. You’ve got to evaluate every day, put guys in situations and, like I said, it’ll sort itself out. It always does.

Q: Are there milestones you look for? One week into training camp, what are you looking for in week two or anything like that?
A: Yeah, I think my motto is just [to] improve every day. All you can control is today and what you have to do today. [In] training camp, there is a lot of installation. Sometimes, there’s more meeting times, sometimes there’s less meeting times. We put in new stuff, the defense puts in new stuff. There’s multiples and multiples and as many times as you can get different looks, that suits you well.

Q: What did you see in the spring at receiver that made you feel like you’re going to be able to stretch the field vertically?
A: Well, we’ve got a long way to go from spring. I think all those guys did a good job with Terry [Robiskie] and Chad [Hall]. They all have different redeeming qualities. There’s different ways to stretch a field vertically: it could be just straight speed, but there’s different techniques things and different routes, so we have a lot of guys that are working and competing right now to do it, and we’ll see how it ends up going.

Q: Kelvin Benjamin has a lot of credentials coming in. Aside from him, though, you have guys who have done things, but they’re new. Do you view this receiving competition as wide open as it seems?
A: Yeah, I think, what a great opportunity to have as a player to come in here and compete, show your worth, get better every day, get opportunities and make them.

Q: Again, I realize it’s day two, but you’re not that concerned that-
A: Did I say it was day two today [laughs]?

Q: You don’t seem concerned that teams will be able to just crunch down on you.
A: Yeah, and with all due respect to your question, our focus right now is on our team. What we’re doing a  month from now or three months from now, we’ve got to make sure we can come out and string some good days together, but [in] training camp, you’re going to have some good days, you’re going to have some bad days, just like you are in the season. That’s what hardens your mental toughness at times. We’ll just keep improving and stacking good days together and concentrate on the now, that’s where we want to be.

Q: Brian, what do you remember about Rochester and how does it feel to be back here?
A: Feels great. It’s a privilege. Being from where I’m from, I take a lot of pride in that. Working for your hometown team is a blessing. There’s also a lot of things that go along with that, you know? Coming up here where I went to college, I had a great time with my four years. It’s great.

Q: How do you balance getting to know these players off the field while still coaching them on the field?
A: I think just being yourself. Making sure you show them how much you care about them. I think that’s important to guys; it’s always been important to them. They don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care, and I’ve said that before. They’re important to me, their families are important to me, and again, this is a tough deal. There’s 2,880 people right now competing for a jobs in the National Football League with 32 teams and 90 guys on the roster. Week one, when there’s 46, there will be about (1,472), not including practice squad guys and things like that. I respect what they do; it’s a tough job, a demanding job, but it’s the world we live in.

Q: LeSean’s [McCoy] situation is very much in the air, but if things do go awry and he’s out for a length of time, Chris Ivory, can you talk a little bit about he will mean to this offense if he has to go in there and be the guy?
A: Everybody’s got to be ready to play no matter what. I think the running back position is a good position for us. We have some good depth, some inexperience, some experience. Hopefully, you find roles for all the guys that you can.

Q: How weird is it that you can just drive home and be home as opposed to flying [home]?
A: Yeah, you’ll have to ask my wife that one. She’s probably happy with it; just told her not to speed on the 90. Yeah, it’s great, you know, the back and forth, we’ve had some long distance deals here and family is important to me. [It is] the most important thing to me, so it’s great seeing them after practice or if they get here before practice. Obviously, it’s much more convenient than flying JetBlue or Delta or any of those other airlines that we have to take.

Q: Zay Jones, how far behind the 8-ball is he since he has really been able to participate much at all this offseason?
A: He’s in the meetings and when he can be out there, we’ll put him out there and see what he can do.

Q: Brian, how have your feelings on RPOs evolved over the last couple of years?
A: Obviously, in college there are different rules that pertain to those things, you know, we’ll see.

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