If you've been around One Bills Drive or have listened into player press conferences, you have probably heard this statement a time or two.
"Daboll, that's my guy," rookie wide receiver Gabriel Davis said.
It's a phrase that easily rolls off the tongue for offensive players. So why do players talk about him with such high regard? Obviously, he's a talented offensive coordinator. Quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills offense have improved under offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. But the reason why players' faces light up when you say his name is due to the emphasis he puts on building relationships.
Daboll constantly goes out of his way to check up on his players. The conversations aren't just about football, either. He wants to know what's going on in their lives off the field. In a world where Zoom and FaceTime have become a part of our daily lives due to COVID-19, Daboll is steps ahead with the form of communication he decided to use years ago.
"He isn't calling me on the phone," Davis said. "He's FaceTiming me."
This is another well-known topic at One Bills Drive. Daboll is the FaceTime guy, and his players love it.
"There's a little bit of a running joke on our staff that Daboll doesn't call anyone, he just FaceTimes people," head coach Sean McDermott said. "It's been pretty cool to watch it unfold over this offseason because I've found myself now FaceTiming people instead of just calling them."
"I've been working on it since (FaceTime) kind of came out," Daboll explained. "I'm not very technologically advanced with some other things. But FaceTime is definitely one of them if you want to consider it a technological advancement."
When his name pops up on players' phones they know the content is probably anything but football.
"Most of the time it's not even about football," quarterback Josh Allen said. "He's just FaceTiming me while he's on the golf course or in his backyard about to jump in the pool. He just wants to know what we are doing."
"Last week he got a new puppy," Allen said. "It's this little like one-pound dog. Obviously he's a bigger dude. It was funny that he was FaceTiming me with the dog, just how little the dog was compared to him. Just little things like that. He wants to let us know that he's thinking about us. He wants to keep us informed about what he's doing in his life. It really feels like family."
A feeling of family, strong relationships and loving one another is what Buffalo's culture is built on. Daboll thinks it's necessary to form real bonds with his players because friendships matter.
"You work with them on a day-to-day basis," Daboll said. "It's not just you're a coach and you're a player. They're great friends of mine too. Calls matter. I think concern matters. Friendship matters. You go through some tough times, and you have to be real. That's what I try to be with these guys, is real. I hope that they know how much I care about them and I believe they do."
"I think the connection part is cool because we haven't been able to be together," McDermott explained. "Just to see faces certainly makes it more personal. It's personal and that's the best step we can take right now, but still would surely be better to be in person and together with one another. When you can see someone's face, I think it's beneficial to both sides. We need this interaction as humans. Maybe Daboll was out in front of the times and a trailblazer."
It's relationships like these that make players and coaches want to work even harder for each other once they hit the field.
"I consider Daboll a coach first, obviously," Allen said. "But he is a friend, he really is. He loves his players. He cares about his players. He's protective over his guys. He's going to go to work for us and it makes us go to work for him. He has consistently been that way ever since I have known him. He's very open. He expresses his feelings, and he'll say what's on his mind. I think that's something guys respect tremendously. We've got his back and he's got ours, we know that."