Q: Do you think there's a battle for the job?
A: Yeah, I think to be honest with you there's a battle for every job right now. That's why you're in training camp. Obviously Mario and Hakeem have done a great job and proven to be big play guys. You're looking to continue with that. Domenik Hixon, in terms of what he brings to the table, he can play all four spots at wide out. He's a good ball runner on the outside. He understands the slot stuff. I think he's certainly a strong contender for that three spot. Without putting any limits on it, everybody's competing for every job right now.
Q: Does Domenik look like he did prior to the injury?
A: Absolutely. I think Domenik looks good. I've been impressed with his route running. He's 13-14 months out of surgery and I don't think it shows right now. His cuts and breaks are clean and crisp. He's getting out of those things and playing well.
Q: Steve Smith is good on the inside. Who's your best inside receiver right now?
A: We're looking for that right now, I'll be honest with you. Dom's played in there. Obviously, Mario Manningham has that type of speed and quickness to be that guy. I think Jerrel Jernigan is obviously a guy that we went out and looked at. He played at Troy. He played the slot. He's going to be real comfortable in that. It's open auditions right now. Darius Reynaud, there's all types of guys that we're going to put in there. We're going to see who's going to play the best inside. Ramses Barden, when he gets back, he's going to be another guy we're going to look at. He's played in there, inside and outside. Right now, we're going through all these guys. That's what this whole process is about, really being able to find somebody and see where they fit.
Q: Even if you do bring Steve back, what can you expect from him based on the fact that he's coming off of surgery?
A: If there's one person I'm never going to doubt or put a ceiling on, Steve Smith would be one of those guys. He's a competitor. He's a very good football player. Physically, yeah, it's going to take a little bit of time for him to get back. I wouldn't put anything out of the question for Steve in terms of what he can do and what he can accomplish.
Q: Excited to have Clayton back?A: Yeah, I am actually. I am excited. He's one of the most physical guys you're going to find on the outside. He will get after people in the run game. By the end of last year, when he was with us towards the end of the year, his route running on the outside, I thought, improved. His knowledge of the offense is going to be better than it was a year ago. I'm very excited to have him back.
Q: You have two guys, him and Thomas, that are physical players and also had limited time last year. Where are they right now in terms of where they sit on the depth chart?A: Devin is working at a few different positions. I've been impressed with his quickness and his route running. He had the hamstring last year. He looks faster and quicker to me. He looks better coming in and out of breaks. I've been impressed with Devin. Mike gets here today so I can't really put him anywhere yet.
Q: Jernigan, without the benefit of the spring, is he behind?
A: No. That's one of the things I'd say about him. I've been impressed with that. He missed rookie mini-camp, OTAs, mandatory mini-camps. In terms of football knowledge, he's pretty good for a young guy. He picks things up. He picks up concepts. He works at it, too. He studies. He takes notes. He's trying to learn. I've been impressed with that he's done and the steps he's taken in a short amount of time.
Re: last season and injuries at the receiver position
A: It had its challenges. Obviously, we had the injury bug. That happens. That's part of it. I wouldn't say it was more difficult than what anybody else had. You plug your guys in. You teach them the offense. They work at it and we play with whoever we've got on Sundays. That's just part of it.
Q: Hakeem had a very good year last year. What do you think he needs to do to take the next step?
A: I think we just have to hone in on the details of things and do the little things. I'm talking about body language, that the quarterback knows exactly where he's going to be. He's a big play guy. He's going to stretch the field. He's dynamic with the ball in his hands. We just have to keep getting him down and continue to hone his route running and precision in those areas. But, that's it. He's a talented, talented wide receiver.
Q: What do you think the two long touchdowns at the end of the year did to boost Mario's confidence?
A: Obviously it grows his confidence. He's a dangerous guy out there. He knows that now. He's proven it and he's proven it against good teams – Green Bay and at the end of the year Washington. He made some huge plays for us. It definitely helps his confidence. We're just looking to grow on that.
Q: Victor caught fire this time last year. How would you say he's playing now?
A: I think he's playing well. I think, obviously, he's a year now advanced in understanding the offense. He doesn't have to think as much. He can rely on his ability and just play. I think you see that. He looks faster. He looks quicker. I think it's because he has to do less thinking. I've been impressed with it so far in the first three days.
Q: How hard is it for you with no mini-camp, no OTAs to install the things you need to install and get these players on the line?A: You start with the foundation, regardless of when it is, and the base of the offense. Then you build on it. There's probably more going in than there would be. Time becomes an issue. Again, its building blocks. You start at the foundation and just keep going. It's been a normal progression for us – maybe a little bit more volume. But, in terms of that, a normal progression.
Q: You're not doing things now that are like boy, we did this on May 5 normally and now we have to play catch up?
A: I haven't really thought about it, to be honest with you. Not an issue anymore, we're going.