Q – Your thoughts after one week of training camp.
A – We're getting to the point where we're close to the wall that you hit. Everybody's tired, but you've got to push through it mentally and physically. That's kind of where we're at. This happens every year in training camp as far as fatigue goes.
Q – What about you personally?
A – I'm learning the offense. It's getting better every day. Basically, I come out here and work as hard as I can.
Q – Is this a complicated offense compared to some of the other offenses you've run?
A – Not necessarily complicated. Just different. Different language, different terms, different reads. The toughest thing is forgetting what you had last year and learning a new deal.
Q – Sort of a mind game you're playing with yourself?
A – I've done it before. I'm trying not to run two teams in one. I have to completely forget what I had last year.
Q – Are you feeling more comfortable?
A – Yeah. I'm doing well. I haven't had a problem getting out of the huddle. Like I said, I'm a long way from where I need to be as far as being real fluid in this offense. I'm taking it day-to-day.
Q – Is Romeo Crennel anything like Bill Belichick? Is there any Belichick in him?
A – I'm sure there is in certain ways. We have the same kind of scheduling. He doesn't act the same as Belichick. It's two different people. I'm sure Romeo, through the years, has learned a little bit from all the head coaches he's been around and that's going to make him a great head coach in this league.
Q – Notice any similarities between Romeo and Belichick?
A – From different ways that we do things like schedule type now and doing stuff like that. But sayings and stuff like that, Romeo's pretty much his own person. There are certain things you take from people and certain things you don't. I think he's taken a lot of great insights not just from Belichick, but from other coaches he's been under – (Dallas coach Bill) Parcells and a lot of other coaches in this league. He's been around for years and has grown into this position.
Q – Compare this camp to other Patriots camps.
A – Eevrybody's new from the administration down to the last person on this team. We're doing a little more banging. We're trying to get stuff done. We're not fiddling around out here. We're out here for a reason – to improve and get better. We're working on certain things day in and day out to make ourselves better on offense, defense and special teams.
Q – Can you see it coming?
A – We've been here over a week and you can tell things are getting better. Things are improving. Basically, in that first week, you're working kinks out for a lot of guys and then you try to get a lot more reps. You watch the video every day and try and correct yourself and go out and do better the next day.
Q – You guys ready to see somebody other than your teammates?
A – Everybody usually is. When you get to playing some preseason games, you get some different faces and start working against different defenses and it gets you going in a different way. It's not the day-in, day-out grind of seeing the same guys in the locker room. You want to go out there and start playing against those (other) teams and give them a good look. Go out there and try to win as many games as we can.
Q – Brand new to the team. Been here a couple of days.
A – What's today? I lose track of time.
Q – It's Friday.
A – I got here Wednesday. In training camp, you don't what day of the week it is. I'm just trying to get into a mind-set.
Q – Do you have a preference of where you're going to play along the defensive line?
A – I play wherever I can, to be honest. I feel most comfortable at nose tackle.
Q – What did the coaches tell you when you arrived?
A – To go out there and work your hardest and try to make something happen.
Q – What can you bring to the table to help this team?
A – I'm familiar with the 3-4 defense, the whole scheme. I've got to go out and make plays.
Q – This is quite an opportunity for you to play more than you did in New England.
A – My job is to go ahead and when I get a chance to perform, perform to the best of my ability.
Q – You seem like a laid-back kind of guy.
A – I am. I'm real quiet. That's just the way I've always been. That's my personality. But when I get on the field, it's time to pick up business.
Q – How does it feel to have really competent folks (guard Cosey Coleman and Andruzzi) standing next to you?
A – That's really underrated as a center to have two very good guards that have experience. That speaks volumes. The jell process, working with the offensive line, has gone a lot quicker because of that. It's going smoothly.
Q – In what specific ways have they helped you?
A – It's experience. Just knowing. Guys with experience kind of know what's going to happen. Like you feel a linebacker showing a tendency. You can play even before it happens. It puts you in a better position to be successful. It's just having the confidence that those guys are going to get their jobs done, not having to watch both sides of me. I'll be able to set the protection and do my job.
Q – Is there a recognition factor here?
A – I think so. That's part of being successful. Being able to recognize what the defense is going to do before they even do it. Having those two guys, like I said, with all their experience, it's a lot easier.
Q – Are they always talking to you, either or both of them? Is there constant conversation going on among you three?
A – It's mostly me talking. I'm making the calls, saying what's going on. In between plays, there's chatter. Did you see that? Did you see this? It's very comfortable for me playing with some guys who have experience and are going in the right direction.
Q – Even though they have more experience, isn't it still a center's job to be a leader on the offensive line?
A – Without a doubt. And I assume that position. I take that position full heartedly. It's one of those things where you've got to be the voice of the offensive line, you've got to be the quarterback of the offensive line, you've got to get it rolling in the right direction. I take responsibility if we don't get the protection set right. If we're not communicating right, if there's some kind of misunderstanding among the offensive line, I take responsibility for that. That's my job. It's my job to put us on the same page.
Q – The receivers have stood out at this camp.
A – We're doing what we do and that's making plays. On offense, the receivers have to be the ones that carry the team a lot. When there's a big catch that needs to be made, the receivers have to be able to make those plays. And we have a very talented group. That's what we're trying to do.
Q – Coach Crennel said at the outset that he wants this team to focus on the run, control the ball. What did you think when you first heard that?
A – Any great team that wants to win the Super Bowl or is trying to win a Super Bowl has to have a powerful running game or a dominant running game. As a coach, that's what you want. You're always going to need receivers and receivers can't be run off because they hear that. You're always going to need receivers in this game. I don't care what kind of team you're trying to have, how much you run the ball. As a receiver, especially if you're able to make plays, they're going to use you. You've got to continue to work and when your number is called, then you got to go out and make a play. Whenever that time comes, we as receivers have to be ready to make the plays.
Q – Your quarterback (Trent Dilfer), even before training camp, said this is the best group of receivers he's ever thrown to.
A – Makes us feel good, but at the same time, we've got to go out and work. We haven't played a game yet on a Sunday with our new quarterback, with this new team. We've got to continue to go out and show everybody and be able to make plays.
Q – When you have a camp like this, it's got to give you a very good feeling going into the season.
A – The main thing you look at at the end is you haven't played any games yet. You still have to go out and prove. At the same time, you want to have a great camp because you're building for the season. You're building to have a great season. You get that momentum going and do well now, then you're preparing your body to have a good season, preparing your team to have a good season.