Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Q: Now that we’re entering the regular season, how difficult for you is it to balance giving Josh [Allen] the amount of reps that he needs for him to be able to develop while still game planning for the actual week as well?
A: Yeah, Nate [Peterman]’s taking the ones, Josh is taking the [scout] team, so he’s going to get his work there. If we want to put him in and give him a few reps here or there, we’ll do that. I think that’s just the nature of the business when you’re preparing for a team in the regular season is [the fact that] the guy that’s starting is going to get the most of them. Josh is going to have to do a great job mentally before practice, after practice, drill work, coaching him up on the [scout] team and then whatever reps he does get with the one’s, that’s the way we’re going to go with it.
Q: Coach how do you go from, because all three quarterbacks had different skillsets when you were working with them in camp, and you were able to tailor the offense to each, but kind of narrowing that focus now that Nathan’s in? Was that something that you continued with the process of something that you had or [was it] something you had to [alter]?
A: Well, I’d say we have plenty of plays in the offense and each week is going to be different based on who we’re playing, too. Everybody was accountable to be able to do all of the things. Now, if somebody does something a little better or if someone doesn’t have the comfort level with one particular play, then we don’t do those plays. I think it’s important for the quarterback that’s playing that he has a firm grasp, that he really has a comfort level with the plays that we’re running, particularly early in the season when [there is not a lot of tape]. There are preseason games to evaluate, but at the end of the day, it’s about, and I’ve talked about this before, the fundamentals and properly executing based on rules. At the end of the day, you’re not really sure early in the season what you’re going to get from the opponents.
Q: What concerns do you have based on the last time the offensive line starters were in a game and how they performed against Cincinnati?
A: Our focus is on getting ready to play Baltimore and we have a tough challenge ahead of us; not just the offensive line, but everyone, from the receivers, the quarterback. We’re playing a very good defense. Coach [Don] Martindale has done a great job in the preseason with them. They’re kind of, the Ravens are known for defensive football and from top down in the organization, from Mr. Bisciotti to Ozzie Newsome to Coach [John] Harbaugh to Coach Martindale to the players. The players, the front level, mid-level, and the back end [are impressive]. It starts with [Terrell] Suggs and then [CJ] Mosley is a very, very good inside linebacker. [He is] very instinctive, makes plays on the ball. Eric [Weddle] back there is a 12-year veteran who does a great job of reading the quarterback. It’s going to take all of us; it’s going to be a big challenge.
Q: In that sense, how much of a concern is it that that’s what they left on the field and how much of a concern is it as to what this offensive line may look like and perform based on the last performance going into Baltimore?
A: Well offensive football is about all 11 guys being able to do their job. From the receivers getting off the line of scrimmage to the quarterback reading the play properly to the running backs making sure their blocking assignments are good to the line doing the things they need to do, it takes everybody. It takes all 11 guys.
Q: LeSean [McCoy] called you a genius yesterday in terms of what your offensive scheme could look like. I guess [what is] your reaction to that and [can you talk about] what you bring and what this offense can be?
A: I have a lot of appreciation for our players and how much they work and what they do on a daily basis in terms of what they do in practice and their daily preparation habits. We’re all a part of this thing together, myself [and] the coaches [included]. It starts with Sean [McDermott], Brandon [Beane] and our ownership. I’m just a piece of the puzzle trying to do the best that I can do along with the help of a lot of other people around here.
Q: What stands out about their front? We’ve heard a lot this preseason about their front and showing more looks than we’ve seen before. What do you [think about that]?
A: I think the first thing is the players: [Brandon] Williams, [Michael] Pierce, [Matthew] Judon, Suggs, [Za’Darius] Smith, Williams comes in in sub-rushers. They have a very active front that has size, plays with very good technique. That’s always a challenge you’re going to get when you’re playing the Ravens. They are a physical, physical football team. They have multiple schemes; they can line up in multiple fronts. Again, Coach Martindale, I think, this preseason has done a good job; the results are out there, whether it’s the one’s, the two’s or the three’s with the things that they were doing. They’re good players executing properly, playing tough, playing aggressive. This is a smart team, a smart defensive team in terms of understanding situations and what the things they need to do [are]. It’ll be a big challenge.
Q: With the element of the unknown early in the season as far as reference, how much pressure do you put on yourself to always have a good answer for Nate and your offensive players?
A: You try and do that on every play, but that’s not always going to be the case, regardless of if it’s week one or week fourteen. There’s always an element of the unknown. You need to try and prepare and put them in situations that are stressful in practice, but at the end of the day, they have their list of plays and we have our list of plays. Being able to match them up on every practice rep is a tough thing to do. There’s a set of rules that you install early in OTAs and continue to work on those and develop them through training camp and the preseason. You have to trust your rules. There’s going to be unknown, but you have to trust the protection, assignments, doing what you’re supposed to do under pressure; that’s the name of the game.
Q: A lot of your offensive players have credited you with being a sharp, offensive mind. A lot of these guys have been in the league for a while, but they feel what kind of separates you from others is your ability to effectively communicate how and why you want things done a certain way. How much have you in your career with players worked on becoming an effective communicator or is that something that has always kind of come naturally to you?
A: Well, I think when you’re in a role of a leadership position, you have to effectively communicate. Sometimes conversations aren’t easy to be had. I learned a long time ago from veterans that I have a high appreciation for, the Lawyer Milloy [type of person] that I was with early on in my career is to just be honest with me, tell me what I need to do, tell me what I need to be better, give me an answer to the question that I have and if you don’t, it’s okay to say that I’ll find it out for you. That’s being frank and being honest; I think it’s the only way to go.
Q: What do you like about what you’ve seen from Kelvin Benjamin and what do you see as his strengths?
A: Kelvin has worked really hard; I hadn’t had a relationship with him prior to when I get here. He’s a big body, physical receiver, is smart. [He’s] done a good job since he’s been here. I like his attitude and work ethic. We’re going to need him to play big.
Q: We’ve asked you about LeSean a few times and his preparation and all of that, but now that you’ve seen an entire offseason of his work, what he does and puts into it, going back to April until now, what have you learned about LeSean that you might now have known about before maybe?
A: Well, I just have a great amount of respect for him and how he goes about his business in terms of the way he practices and the way he prepares, the way he finishes things during the week. He’s a guy that has had a lot of success in this league. You understand watching him out there in practice why. Obviously, he’s a very talented player, but he has a [high] work ethic and dedication to his craft. Usually, the very good ones in this league all have that, and he does.
Q: How much freedom is Nathan going to have on the line of scrimmage to change calls and things like that?
A: We’ll give him the plays and if he sees something he needs to get to, that’s the job of a quarterback. We don’t have crystal balls, and sometimes there will be a play, probably, that won’t be the best versus that particular look. Nathan can do what he needs to do to put the offense in a good position.
Q: How important is that particularly in the running game where people don’t always think of a quarterback doing that type of thing? How key can that be?
A: I think it’s key in every situation: running game, pass game, red-zone, third down, two minute. Look, it’s important to know what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and play fast and do the details right and try and take it to them. They have good coaches, they have good players on the other side, too. That’s the game within the game.
Q: With all the adjustments that have taken place and being unsettled at certain positions and a [young] quarterback starting, are you confident that this unit can come up and play fast to do that?
A: Yeah, that’s our job. That’s what we try to do at practice every day is try to improve on things, try to play fast, try to execute well. That’s the job of an offense: go out there, get the play and execute the assignment that you need to execute based on the look that you’re going to get.
Q: Are Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson interchangeable?
A: Yeah, look they’re smart and savvy back there. They do a good job of fooling guys, particularly the quarterbacks, but they do a great job with the disguise. Not just them, but the entire defense. Baltimore Raven defense has been historically good since the year 2000 and it just seems like they keep replenishing guys to fill those roles. Suggs has been there forever and he’s a problem. Mosely’s in there in the middle of it, who’s an issue. Then there’s Weddle and [Tony] Jefferson back there who can play down, sometimes they can play back, they’re good at disguising. Yeah, they’re good.
Q: Brian, how often are you evolving and tinkering and adding to the offensive scheme and playbook? Is it a continuous thing since you took the job? How often is it continuing to change and evolve and improve?
A: Well, we have a system, but again, it doesn’t really matter what it’s been in the past. It’s who you have now to run those things. If we’re not really good at running them through the OTAs or training camp, it might not be a smart idea to run those plays. Every team has its own strengths and weaknesses with their players and the things that our guys do well, that’s what we’re going to try and focus on.
Q: What will Josh gain by being on the bench to start the season and what might you be able to learn about him?
A: Well, I think he’s going to gain experience whether he’s on the field or where he’s at. This is a week to week league. There are so many different challenges during the regular season to prepare for scheme wise, player matchup, new coaches on the other sideline. Really, it’s the whole thing. It’s the preparation process that you need to do in order to be a successful pro. You can prepare and practice every week on a consistent basis, regardless of the outcome. Just concentrate on doing your job each and every day, practically at that position, but really, all positions. That’ll benefit anybody.