Q: By my count you had perfect attendance. That has to please you.
A: What did you expect for a mandatory mini camp? I expected everybody. They have all been here pretty much the entire time. The OTAs were very, very well attended. So we are just looking to get better. That is all we are trying to do.
Q: How would you assess the mood of this club right now? You have this mini camp and then you have a long layoff before training camp opens. What is the sense of the mentality of this club when they get together?
A: I think they are enthusiastic. We have had our series of OTAs – guys have done a good job with that. They have competed like they always do but I think there is a sense of we want to be better, we are not happy with the way it ended last year. And I think guys have accepted their goals and the priorities both individually as a group and as a team. We have some new people h ere that have to be integrated into it. It is obvious we are doing a lot with the ball in the air. We have some young receivers and we have some guys that we are counting on that need to get a lot of reps. So we are doing a lot of that. But right now we are trying to put the finishing touches on a good offseason program and then we will do a good job of letting everybody know what is expected over the next few weeks. The enthusiasm will be very high for us coming back.
Q: What have you seen in terms of the progress of those young receivers as you now wind this thing down?
A: If you are talking about the two rookies – they will have a good day, they will have a not so good day. I think the one thing that has happened is they have consistently caught the ball, which is obviously a very good sign. Some of the other young guys who have had their opportunity – Manningham has continuously caught our eye. Sinorice Moss has done a nice job. So people have taken full advantage of the opportunity.
Q: Sinorice has gotten behind the defense a couple of times. He was more of a possession guy in previous years.
A: That was never – one of the reasons he was here was because he could run. And that was a very, very important part of his makeup – his quickness and his speed and that type of thing. He has gotten behind the secondary a few times this spring. And he has obviously created some excitement on our part in watching him do that.
Q: Does his speed make up for some of the things that maybe he can’t do because of his height?
A: I don’t know what he can’t do. We would like to see the full gamut of what he can do and then for Sinorice to just keep getting better. He has accepted that challenge and he has a great attitude about it. His confidence has to be buoyed by what he has done this spring.
Q: Is it a little nicer talking about the guys that are participating as opposed to last year when there were distractions and guys were holding out or other issues?
A: It is a lot better subject, yeah; more interesting.
Q: Is this as good a dynamic as you have felt on your team at this point.
A: As I say, the guys are enthusiastic, they have been that way. We have a new building, a new facility. We are excited about that. That has certainly not worn off -- the magnificent nature of our facility. So there is a good feeling, yeah. We obviously have a long way to go.
Q: A year ago at this time you had just gotten your rings and you were telling the team to forget about last year. How different is the message this year?
A: Very different; very different. We are coming off a huge disappointment, quite frankly, on the part of everybody. There is no presumption here. It is hard work and it is the ability to get things done on the field when the opportunity is there. And I think that where the attitude is right now is that we know have a lot of work to do and we know we can be a good football team and we know that there are consistency factors and ability factors and having the opportunity to get into a situation where we can do something about that bad taste we have in our mouth from last year. I think that is exactly where it is.
Q: You have a few guys on the sidelines – Bernard, Webster, Beatty are there.
A: There are all little things that are just nagging enough to keep them out. So h opefully we will have that cleared up when we come back.
Q: It seems like over the last six months we talked Plax every day. Does it ever go through your mind, “If we had this guy, we could have two rings.”
A: That train pulled out of the station. I’m not thinking about that stuff. I’m thinking about this group of guys that is here right now.
Q: Tyree tried to go and then –
A: Yeah, he has had a little groin strain that has been bothering him. And he looked like he made it well into the individual and then all of a sudden he obviously had some discomfort. So rather than do something foolish right now he went to the trainer and the trainer decided to hold him.
Q: Could you talk about your young safeties and what you have seen from them so far?
A: They have worked hard. Phillips has made a lot of plays. If you have been around and seen some of the OTAs, he has had a nice spring, covered a lot of gr ound in so doing and showed the range that we really felt he had in coverage. And Michael Johnson is very consistent.
Q: We talked about that range last year. Do you see better awareness, better positioning?
A: I see better recognition. I see him getting a jump on the ball; believing in what he sees and letting his ability take him to literally where the ball is.
Q: Does that excite you because you know what he can do physically?
A: He is bigger and stronger, too. We are excited; looking forward to it.