Q: Was that as crisp a practice as you would like to see? Or maybe the other way around, not as crisp a practice as you would like to see?
A: It's our first day in any kind of pads and it's nice and humid, we obviously took advantage of that. Some parts were crisp, some parts weren't. That's just the constant battle to come out, particularly that first day, and take some of those drills you've been doing in shells and learn where you're fit goes with sticking that shoulder pad in there and that helmet in there. Those are the things. I was pleased with some of the work. I was pleased with the way they were enthusiastic by supporting each other. Some good things happened, even on both sides of the ball. Good morning, but it's already Thursday. It's moving fast.
Q: It sounded like you got good reports on Hakeem Nicks and his knee. Is he close to returning to practices?
A: He's coming out this afternoon and we'll see how far he can go.
Q: How about Shaun O'Hara? Is there anything new on him?
A: Yeah. They hope to get him Monday.
Q: Do days like this make the night practice that much more important, when it's a little bit cooler?
A: The reason for the night practice, to be honest with you, is you want the amount of time between practices. You just increase that as rest interval so you think you can get more done at night. It's a nice change-up for the players. It's probably going to be hot and humid this afternoon, too, which will be good.
Q: When you look at the three veterans you added on defense, the skill is what matters most, but they all have a lot of experience and maybe that "leadership" word. Was that a large consideration when you were looking at what to add on defense?
A: When we had an opportunity to sit and talk and interview them, that became obvious that they were all in that position and we were pleased with that part of it. We thought that they could make a strong contribution like that. I knew, pretty much, Bulluck from having studied him over the years. I was really excited about Antrel [Rolle] and (Deon) Grant. Those guys all came in and made nice contributions in the spring.
Q: In the NFL today, how is a guy a leader?
A: It's not necessarily vocal. Although, it's the strength and the confidence to be the kind of individual that recognizes when it's good and when it isn't and is not afraid to say things in the right way when it isn't. It's the kind of guy that leads by example. It's all about doing, in my opinion. That's the greatest way to get people's attention, to do it.
Q: I know Jay Alford didn't practice, is he still on the one-a-days?
A: Alford has been moved. He's been twice til now. We've just moved him. The doctor was here yesterday afternoon. They're going to have him go one-a-day now.
Q: Will you expect him to return to that form he showed last year?
A: I certainly expect that to happen. How fast it happens, I'm not sure.
Q: Was there a set back or something that made him go back to one-a-days?
A: He's sore and that's to be expected. The next thing after the doctor discovers the soreness is probably to slow him down. So that's what they're doing.
Q: What's your assessment of Matt Dodge so far?
A: Matt's worked an awful lot on the side. We haven't had many team related drills that have been that way. It will be more now, going forward and I'll get a better idea after I see some more.
Q: Did you know Keith Bulluck before a couple of weeks ago?
A: Syracuse guy, of course. I didn't know him personally, no. I just knew of him.
Q: What do you see in Sinorice [Moss] that gives you the indication that he could have that breakout season?
A: He's worked real well in the spring. He's taken advantage of his opportunities here. He's volunteered for pretty much everything, kickoff return, punt return. Consistency. The ability to make the big play, he's in a big play position. That's got to happen for us. He's worked hard. He's worked very hard and he's got a great attitude, as always. We're all rooting for him.
Q: How much does that mean when a guy steps up and volunteers, when he says "Coach, I'll do whatever you need me to do?"
A: It certainly means an awful lot about the attitude of the guy. The second thing is now what are you going to do with it?
Q: With the DBs having to look more at the quarterback, how is that coming along so far? What's the hardest thing about making that adjustment? Is it physically making that turn with the eyes or mentally knowing that they have to do it?
A: It's always been standard operating procedure. Man versus the beginning of the zone circumstances, your eyes are on the quarterback. It's how quickly you decipher what's happening. Is it a three step drop, is it more than a three step drop, do your eyes have to go somewhere else based on exactly how many steps the quarterback's taking. Then, of course, what you have what's coming with the double moves. You have to be able to deal with that as well. The guys have done pretty well with it so far.
Q: As an older linebacker to this young corps, how much of a mentor is Bulluck to these young linebackers?
A: By example, in the classroom, but he's a serious guy. He's a no-nonsense guy. I like that about him. I think that bodes well with that group. I think that guys will sit up and take notice of the way he studies and prepares. He was on the field very minimal and yet he was moving the defense, getting everybody lined up, which I thought was pretty impressive.
Q: Is Deon Grant out?
A: Yeah he did. Groin.
Q: With the two fumbled snaps, until Monday, are we still going to see Koets in first and second team?
A: Richie [Seubert] goes. We haven't had any [fumbles] with Richie. We've had a couple with Koets.
Q: Are we going to see Seubert more there?
A: You'll see him just like it is. There's three teams trying to work. They both play guard and center. You'll see equal distribution. You may see a little bit more with Rich this afternoon.
Q: Is it a quiet camp for Eli? Is he one of your known factors in a camp of questions?
A: Quiet in terms of?
Q: Questions about him?
A: The only questions I ever have are as we continue to upgrade our expectation level and he's well aware of that. He's Eli. He's flying along and making, from an academic standpoint, seeing everything, doing everything
Q: Does Eli literally get better at quarterback from year to year? Or is it more based on working with the personnel he has? What gets better?
A: Yeah. All of the different categories and percentages, and the one we're working hard on is not turning it over. Two years ago we break the NFL record (for least amount of turnovers in a 16-game season) and last year, I don't even want to talk about it.
Q: We've seen Jason Pierre-Paul make a few plays. What have you seen from Jason in terms of his athleticism and the things that he's done?
A: I've seen a lot of athleticism. I've seen on all of these special teams and seem him get off the ball and rush the passer. The athletic part of it gives you an awful lot of possibilities in terms of utilizing him in a lot of different roles.
Q: Are you anxious to see him tonight in full pads?
A: To me, the message is, yes you are in full pads, but we still don't want them on the ground. The pads are the pads. They're protecting their legs better and you're a little bit more intense, but you're still trying to stay up. You don't tackle, you just thud.
Q: Guys like Tim Brown, guys whose best chance is to make this team as a return guy, do you want them to do the receiving first and then try to return stuff?
A: They have to do both. We don't always but everybody who's a candidate back on any one given day because they would obviously get one a piece or whatever. That usually works with two or three back there. Tim Brown has a chance to be a punt returner, Cruz has a chance to be a kick returner, along with a lot of other guys. Hopefully Andre Brown will get back there.
Q: How frustrating do you think this ankle injury has been for Shaun O'Hara?
A: If you're an offensive lineman and you're standing there watching practice, it's not really good. Those other guys are not real charitable and wondering if you're okay and comfortable and would you like another glass of lemonade.
Q: A couple of your old BC running backs are going into the first hall of fame class here in Albany this weekend, locally. What are your recollections of Justin Smith and Chucky Dukes?
* *A: Chucky was unbelievable. There was an unbelievable recruiting battle to get Justin at BC because everybody wanted Justin. But Chucky came out of junior college. He was a tough, hardnosed, multiple carry game in and game out guy that almost made it at the next level, almost did. Two outstanding athletes and really, really good football players and adjusted and did well at Boston College.