After Practice– AUGUST 3, 2007
On practice today
It was a hot one but it's good for us at this time of year. It wasn't too hot. That's good for us too. We always take precautions like we talked about before and the guys worked through it. John McCargo left practice before it ended because he strained an oblique. Hopefully that won't be long but he couldn't finish practice so we'll just have to see how that is. All the other injuries are about the same and we hope to get them back soon.
On whether he cut practice short today
We were right on schedule. We were scheduled to end practice with two four minute periods which we did and then a short two minute which is a red zone two minute. As you noticed we spent a lot of time in the red zone, in team 7-on-7 and our four minute and our two minute. It was a good day.
On having the officials at camp
I think it's a great thing and it has been for a number of years now. It's an opportunity for us to get to know the officials a little bit better. It's an opportunity for our players to see the officials and to be able to stop them and ask them questions. The officials sit with us in our meetings and we'll ask them questions in there. Any question they have or any foul, they bring it up. They make the mandated league presentation on any rule changes and that will all occur tonight. It's really good for us. If you ask them they say it's really good for them too because they need the training to get ready to start the season too. They'll be here tomorrow morning and then they're gone.
On Keith Ellison
I think he is definitely making a jump because he is a year older in this scheme. He is a very smart guy. He is a player who can build upon what he learns that day. There are all kinds of different players. Sometimes you get players that have one year of experience ten times and other times you have a guy who has ten years of experience. Keith is the latter. He'll build and keep learning. He'll get better off of everything that he does. That's him. We certainly didn't develop that in him. That's him. Our guys coach him hard and coach him well. Keith is just a good player. I think he's just going to get better.
On whether Keith will be overmatched in his position
Probably I think almost everybody is overmatched sometimes it depends on the scheme. We have to protect him in the scheme. There are all kinds of ways to do that particularly in our scheme. Do you worry about it? Yeah, but not any more than you worry about anyone else
On Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson as a duo
We're really looking forward to seeing them. They did well. They did really well last year. They improved on a game by game basis but we'll just have to wait and see because you don't know how good they're going to be. There is no way to tell what teams will or won't do if things had been different on the field. We're playing with the lead more than we were. There are really not a lot of reasons for us to speculate because it's gone. I just believe they're going to get better and let's face it we all have to get better if we're going to consistently win.
On Jason Peters
I'm glad he's with us that my initial thought but in terms of the business it doesn't make me think anything different than I ever thought. It's not an exact business. People make errors all the time with number ones. You're not certain when you draft a guy number one that he's going to be a great player. One of the best quarterbacks in the business was a sixth round pick and unfortunately he's in our division. You don't know how it's going to work out. That's why you gather in camp and give everybody a chance and don't predetermine. We say a lot that every position is open. You don't know where the next Jason Peters is. You don't know if he's one of these free agents that you get that last night of the draft. That's the beauty of sport.
What has Peters done to improve so much
He was born with unique abilities and he was born with genetic gifts that you can't coach. Then he found his spot. Tight end might not have been his spot. He found a spot that he got real comfortable with and then he gained the confidence of the coaches. It's a tribute to him and the guys who work with him. Jason does the work. Nobody is out there making the blocks for him. He's got the ability, he found the spot, he got comfortable there and he got real confident.
On Langston Walker
It's still early so you have to wait and see how the regular season goes and what happens when you're playing for real. I'm definitely not disappointed in Langston Walker, Derrick Dockery or Jason Whittle.
On Thurman Thomas
He was just so good. He was so aware and so talented. Such a great fit for such a great football team. Marv and I will talk sometimes and I ask him. There are so many players on the team that you start asking who the critical guy is. Was it Jim Kelly? Was it Andre? There were so many people on both sides of the ball. The running back and the way they used him was so effective and so consistent over all that time. It was not a pleasure to play them but they were fun to watch if you were watching them on tape. I'm really happy for him. I don't know him real well. I've only met him but I don't know anyone who knows him well that doesn't really respect him and enjoy being around him. It should be a special day tomorrow.
On Daniel Watts
We're really happy to have him. He's a very bright young man and willing to work. He's willing to do anything he's got to do to be with us. I think he'll enjoy the time here. Bill Kollar is as good as anybody in the business. I know that he'll learn a lot. I know he'll help us prepare. It's great to have him around.