Q: In almost every team period, Ahmad gets the first carry with the ones. What does that mean?
A: It just means that a guy who missed a lot of football a year ago, a guy we expect a lot of right now and as you've seen with all of our guys, we're going to do whatever it takes to win this year. We're going to try to put people in the right situations as best we can. Obviously a year ago, we had injuries, we had expectations of certain people that were going to step up. Obviously in losing a guy like Derek Ward, but you have fresh guys out there who haven't played a lot of football – other than Brandon Jacobs. Brandon Jacobs has been around the offense for some years now so he knows a lot of things. Trying to get some guys to step up, get some reps. Eli's only in there so many times. Andre Brown missed a lot of football, a whole year of football right now and we have high expectations for him too. You see his skills, his athletic ability out there, but he's got to grow within the system. Danny Ware, we lose the first game of the year. We have high expectations of him and he misses an awful lot of football out there. We're just trying to progress as we go. We're not hung up on who's the starter. There's many times you've probably seen Brandon start off a drill here and there and it's going to be the situation of the day. No matter if it's a four-minute situation or a third down situation. We're going to utilize the best situation that we can with the guys that we have. You look at New Orleans last year in the Super Bowl – they played four running backs all year long, with a great one as Reggie Bush. When you have a group of guys that aren't selfish in what they do and just try to help everybody grow along, have some depth, you start to find out how successful you can be in that situation. We're blessed with that right now, but we have to have guys that grow right now and that's all we're concerned with right now. We're not hung up with who's got what. It's just who's getting the certain the amount of plays as the script goes, as the day goes on and then we'll see how it goes.
Q: Does Hedgecock look healthier than last year?
A: Right now he definitely is. He feels a lot stronger, a lot healthier – when you're a fullback in that kind of situation, with an injury, but now he knows how to fight with it, how to work with an injury. But yes, he's definitely a lot stronger. I look forward to him in the first preseason game. You evaluate certain players on the field – linebackers and fullbacks – based on one hundred miles-per-hour, full speed hitting each other. You're going to see that in a game. They kill each other out here in practice, but I think he is and he is continually trying to work on his ability to catch the ball – we're looking to it.
Q: You never got to see Andre Brown in a game situation last year.
A: No, it was sad. He had some spurts last year where we were like 'Hey, this is a guy we drafted who has some talent out there' and he hadn't had a chance to get on a NFL field and play in a game. So he's excited. We're excited about the hungry players that we have in our backfield. Everybody has a reason for something to prove and that's where you want to be as a team, as a coach – that it carries through the season. That's what's great about right now. As coaches, we're just out there trying to see who can do what right now in those kind of situations and do the best job of game planning and getting those guys in there as we go.
Q: Has Andre voiced that to you specifically – about getting out there in an actual game?
A: Well he'd love to, but as you've said, he hasn't been out there yet so it's hard to judge a guy until he's actually played a game. But as far as his heart, his desire, you get even hungrier when you sit around all year long. He has that heart and desire, he just needs reps to play to be an NFL player. I haven't seen an NFL player just step on the field and play yet, but I'm looking for one.
Q: Might he fill the role of Derek Ward as the receiver out of the backfield?
A: Danny Ware and Andre kind of fit. They catch the ball very well out of the backfield. They protect the passer, they do those kind of things that we'd like to be able to do, but we weren't able to progress a year ago through injuries. Andre obviously before we even get to our first preseason game. You got Danny in the first game. You never really got a chance to go beyond that so now you're always trying to put this guy and this guy, this guy in that situation by game plan. You really didn't get a chance to do what we really intended to do. Now we're trying to do that – again. So if we can stay healthy, grow within the system – we think we can put Danny Ware in a lot of different situations. We can put Andre Brown in a lot of different positions. It allows us to do more.
Q: Is Brandon still your number one starting running back?
A: Well no one is really the starting running back. It's all, as we said, we're not going to get hung up on who's the starting running back. It's who does what when that play is called. From that standpoint, if we want an outside play, if we want to be in third down, if we want to be in two tights, or what is the defense's game plan going to be. We're going to put, just like you saw the New Orleans Saints a year ago, you're going to put that guy who does what's best in that situation. We're trying to spread it out there. Everybody understands that they have a role in the game plan and we'll just go from there. It will be based on who we play against.