Marcus Monk was all smiles when the conversation started up. He thought the reporter wanted to talk about the watermelon he was chomping.
When talk of the way fans should treat quarterback Robert Johnson came up, Monk made a rare frown.
"We love our fans and we need them, but they need to back Robert Johnson," Monk said. "I'm not sure it bothers him because he's been through a lot of adversity and he has learned to handle it. But I want our fans to get behind our quarterback."
Monk said he has spoken specifically about fan support with Johnson.
"Yes, he and I spoke about it," Monk said. "I don't think it bothers him that much. He told me that the main thing that matters is that as long as we have his back 110 percent, he's fine. He has that for sure. We've got his back. We've talked about that.
"What fans don't know about last year is that much of what happened was not about the way the quarterback played. There are 11 players out there. You need 11 good players doing their part to make a team go.
"That's what we have to do this year, be together. Be on the same page. Be a team. We have to play as a team. I think this is a different team. I think we are together. We'd like our fans to understand that.
"I know people blamed Robert for last year. That was wrong. Again, we love our fans, but as long as Robert knows we have his back then I thinkn he's going to be fine."
Monk thinks Johnson can handle the pressure of the position.
"There is too much pressure on the quarterback," Monk said. "But he's a different guy this year and he can handle whatever is on him. I know that for sure.
Monk sees part of that as a mental maturity, but he also sees that he's grown as a player, too. His ability has changed.
"He's worked hard on his craft," he said, "just like the rest of us. He's developed his craft. He's a different player in that way.
"But it's mental, too. He's stronger. He's matured. I think going through adversity does that to you. He's become a man. His teammates see that in him on a daily basis."
Monk speaks up for his QB
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