A: You can imagine. The message is always – at this point in time, at the end of the mandatory mini camp, just reminders on training camp, about our attitude going in, about conditioning. This is a required nine-week program, rather than a normal 10 or 11-week program. So there is still work to be done, obviously. The guys that have been injured and have strains, etc., they have to get that cleaned up so when we come to camp we can practice together. What you want to remind everybody is, if there are 90 players, or in this case maybe 85 or whatever the number will be, look at the reps and how the reps are distributed. Therefore, everybody has a chance to be really in tune with what we are doing. We will preserve, over time, the reps because we will be able to control them better and no individual or group will get to a position when they are doing more than they should. And then you talk about the fact that we are not going to see each other for four or five weeks. The goal is always to win the Super Bowl, be responsible, take care of yourselves, enjoy yourselves, but let’s make sure we can all get back together with a smile on our face and a stern look in our eye when we come back together on the 26th. So that is basically the message.
Q: This is the first year under those new rules that you mentioned - a little more constraint - did you get out of it what you needed to get out of it?
A: I’m going to have to look at that, to be honest with you. Because the players have got to understand, as we tried to make them understand, that there is three or four times the mental part of it to the physical part of it now. And that is evidentially the way they want it. Because it is a different kind of – two-a-days is different, too. It is the same kind of thing. So provided that the mental – we really threw a lot at them – and we forced them. We won’t know exactly how much they have allowed that stuff to be absorbed until we get to camp. So hopefully the rookies have done a good job of studying. You do a pretty good job of controlling them throughout the entire day. And there is not much free time for them. If there is an idle moment – like tomorrow – we will meet with them and they will have strength program – that type of thing tomorrow as well. So we will see about that. We will have to evaluate everything.
Q: Is it a little unsettling as you go to camp with the offensive line, tight end, receivers, a lot of new faces that you are going to have to put in.
A: Yeah, but I don’t think that is any different than any other team in pro football. It depends on the position. What we need to do is get to where we practice together. Let’s get these people out on the field – stay on the damn field. And then we will make some progress.
Q: Does a head coach on a day like today - you hold your breath a little bit until July 26th.
A: Just as I said, you try to make sure that you are verbalize everything. And part of, ‘don’t let the other guys down.’ That part of it is, ‘make sure that you are thinking in everything that you do; everything that you say, every place that you go. Be safe, be smart, and let’s make sure that we are all able to get together at the end of July.’
Q: You would have preferred that this would have not happened, but the
A: Well, I’m sure it did. The Commissioner just issued a statement that he wanted to make sure that we all covered - and it had basically to do with that. So the timelessness of where the Commissioner was coming from, and the end of these mini camps, puts that as a required – which we normally talk about anyway – but a requirement.
Q: Where do you see
A: Did you just get here with that – we just covered him yesterday. He is doing well; he has had a good spring. And let’s see him get better.
Q: Is he on special teams?
A: He is on everything. He will be on everything, as all of the young ones are on everything. All rookies are required to be in every special teams meeting and be a part of everything special teams. So he has that and he has done well with that. You see him catching the ball. So he has been asked to be back there on kickoff returns, punt returns, or whatever. And that is going to give him one other way to get on the field.
Q: Do you look forward to some time off now?
A: I’ll be excited about the first little bit of time that we get away. But give me a couple of days and I’ll start thinking about what is coming at the end of July.
Q: Not even a week – it’s only going to be a couple of days?
A: Yeah, probably; maybe the end of the first week.
Q: With Eli obviously here and the way the team finished last year, are you very confident with this team as you get ready to go to camp?
A: I certainly am. You are talking about the World Champions. There are changes; there is no doubt about that. But I like the way that our team responded and finished. You used the word – the season. And I have every confidence that they will come back just as inspired to want to play at their very best. The big key for our team is the bridging over of all of those values and virtues and principles that we carried forward from 7-7 on. Just an example – in the playoffs we gave up an average of 14 points a game. You are going to win a lot of games if you can do that. We turned it over one time – you know the stats – you know the numbers. We averaged 116 yards rushing. We had multiple special teams plays that helped us win. If you play like that – my word is harmony – when we start talking about those kinds of things – if we play with harmony with all three phases like we are capable of and we carry these things over and we encourage these young guys to be a part of it and we improve – there are multiple, multiple areas that we can improve in. If we can make considerable improvement in those areas, we will be representative.