(On how camp has been so far)- "It's going pretty good. It's a learning experience. Everything is kind of new to me."
(On if he can be an elite player in the NFL)- "I haven't played a down yet. I am still trying to learn. I am trying my best to do what the coaches ask me to do and to do it the right way."
(On his confidence level)- "I am a football player, my confidence level is very high. If I go 110 percent then I'll be the player that I want to."
(On of first impressions of the NFL)- "This is a dream come true. I can't complain. The biggest thing is when coaches come and talk to us they want us to be on point with everything, have the right mindset. It's been a good experience."
(On if he can be the starting guard)- "The biggest thing is, I want to make the team and just help the team in any way possible. Whatever the coaches see fit, I am more than willing to do."
(On if he knows how good he can be in the NFL)- "The biggest thing is, I want to master the playbook, just be on point with everything and really just take in whatever coach is telling me. I am just trying to be like a sponge and soak it in."
(On his personal goals)- "My personal goals, like I said before, are to make the team, help the team become better and try to have an impact. Do whatever is necessary, learning who my new teammates are and from there just kind of taking it in, just taking it one day at a time."
(On how to develop better power)- "Playing with better leverage, in terms of being more on point, just playing with better knee bend, dropping your hips more and just overall having better reaction. As opposed to just running and smashing people, you have to do it in a more controlled manner."
Eric Mangini Press Conference
(Opening statement)- "Good morning everybody. Well, I guess it is the afternoon now. It changed quickly. I talked to the guys a little bit after practice. As we get to this third practice, they're a little bit more tired, more information went in last night. There were some mistake that were made at practice, which is not uncommon. It's not uncommon for this group of guys, it's not uncommon when you get the veteran group of guys or new guys into the mix. It's funny because I asked them all this morning if anybody was sore and nobody raised their hand. They're just concealing, kind of, where they are at and it is hard. It is hard to go from the training process for the combine and all those different activities to practicing again, with all the things they are being asked to do now and all the football-specific drills. I think with the tryout guys and even some of the free agents that we signed, they have one more opportunity, in terms of practice, to come out and make a case for themselves. One of the things that happens is sometimes you sign a guy now that you tried out, sometimes you do it during the offseason at some point and sometimes it happens during camp. It's nice for us to get to know them and for them to show us what they can do. You never know when we may meet again, but they have all done a really nice job putting their best foot forward. I appreciate that and I know it's difficult to have the uncertainty, but it's much appreciated on this end."
(On how he handles the process of keeping or letting the free agents go)- "Usually, we let them know tomorrow morning after we have had a chance to discuss it further. We will do some things tomorrow, in terms of not really practice, but in terms of conditioning and some prep for when they come back. We may keep some guys that we are not even signing right now for those meetings in the anticipation that at some point, we may bring them back. You just try to keep encouraging them because they have all done some good things here. You help them any way you can, if there are any questions that they have or information they are looking for, things like that. You don't know what's going to happen, you don't know what the next opportunity is going to be and they have done a great job for us."
(On if Jason Trusnik was drafted or signed after the draft)- "He was a signed guy."
(On an example of a tryout player making the team)- "Wallace Wright, who was a wide receiver that we brought in. He ended up making the team in New York. I think he just signed with Carolina this offseason. He is a guy that really stood out in the camp, very smart, tremendous work ethic and stayed through OTAs and did a nice job. He ended up making the team initially when we cut down to 53, then we had to make a spot. He went to the practice squad for a little while, came back to the 53 and did a really nice job for us on special teams. I thought he was an outstanding gunner, really good on the coverage teams and the nice thing for him was as he was doing those things, that meant he went to every game. So there were games where he got to play some at wide receiver and I know that's ultimately his goal. He's taking another step by continuing his career, but that was a guy that we had just brought in."
(On if there is any tryout players from this rookie came that he would like to keep)- "I'll go through with the coaches and ask them who they have some feelings for. Tom (Heckert) does the same thing on the personnel side. Tom and I will get together and we will talk it through. Like I said, some of the guys are guys that we may extend an offer to this weekend, some guys we may revisit here in the weeks to come or in training camp. It happens quite a bit."
(On how important it is for the rookies to grasp the system)- "That is a big part of it. Another part of it, and everybody does it differently, I've always brought just rookies in because I want them to have a chance to get comfortable in the building, to get comfortable with the coaching staff, with the support staff and with the information. To be able to spend a lot of time with them and then when we do bring the veterans back in, it's not just throwing them to the lions. They have a chance to really hit the ground running so that's why I've always taken this approach. It's a combination of introduction to the system, trying to give them as much information as possible, but also introduction to the bigger system of how we practice, how we operate, what our expectations are in meetings, all of those components. There's a ton of them too, a ton of things to get used to."
(On Eric Barton)- "He's doing well. He's been a part of the offseason program and is doing everything he can in addition to his rehab. There haven't been any setbacks or anything like that, so I'd say he is progressing well."
(On if he expects Barton back for minicamps)- "I'm not sure how it's going to go with the OTAs right now. Probably won't be participating much in those camps from a team setting and that type of thing. He will be here, but I'm not sure how those reps are going to work out. Some of that I have to revisit with Joe (Sheehan)."
(On if the CBA will affect signing this year's rookies)- "I think it's like anything else, it's new. It's new to me. So we'll just take it as it comes and adjust to whatever the landscape is. Matt Thomas has signed a lot of players over a long period of time, so I'm confident in his ability to do that, regardless of what the landscape is."
(On Shaun Lauvao)- "I think he's done a nice job and I'd say that he will work in the two interior spots, the two guard spots. He's done some snapping in college, it's not something that he has done a lot of, but he has done that so we will continue to work with him there. The important thing for a guy like that is to have flexibility, playing the left side, playing the ride side and being able to go in and do some work at center if need be."
(On getting players from Hawaii)- "I wish I had made those scouting trips to Hawaii each year or an offseason visit or something. I haven't got that done. It's more coincidence than anything else."
(On Brett Ratliff)- "I'm not opposed to carrying four quarterbacks and Mike's (Holmgren) not opposed to that, Tom is not opposed to that so I think he's got a great opportunity. He really did a good job in my time in New York with him. I think there are definitely some things he could've done better last year that he and I have talked about. It's important for him to come out and show that he's still improving, but that's my anticipation is that he will. We will just see how it falls after that."
(On keeping four quarterbacks)- "Everybody has a different approach to that, but you don't know what's going to happen. I remember '05, maybe, in New York, they lost two quarterbacks in the first game of the season, maybe it was the second game, the Kansas City game and then it's the third quarterback pretty quickly. I think with those guys with time, with more consistency, they can continue to improve. If you can keep developing those guys, it's a great situation to be in."
(On what he can evaluate after this rookie camp)- "Not a ton. I think where you can evaluate is how quickly they pick up the information, how well they adjust to what they are being asked to do and areas that you are going to have to spend more time with them on. Maybe it's more alerts than anything else, not necessarily red flags or green flags, but just more of an alert that you may have to spend some more time in one area or another with a guy. It is so different for anything they have been doing for a long time and it's so easy for us to forget that. I know I've told this story, but when I first transitioned into defense in New York from being on the offensive side, it's hard. It's learning a new language. It's getting used to watching film a totally different way. It's all of those things. You have to work at it. It's cloudy and at some point the clouds break and the sun comes out and it's like, ‘Okay, I get it. I get it.' Then you start playing faster, you start reacting instead of thinking. It takes time, everybody is a little bit different and you just try to accelerate the process as much as you can from a coaching perspective."
(On if one running back will get the bulk of the carries)- "I would imagine that we'd use all of the backs on the roster. If they go to a game, they'll play and they'll probably either carry the ball or have a role on third down. Sometimes that's catching the ball more than carrying the ball. Somebody could be a short yardage guy or a goal line guy. I think most teams now use multiple backs. You want any one of those backs to be able to carry a significant load. If it ends up going that way or injuries or whatever it is, but you'd like to be able to use them all and to use them all to the best of their abilities, things that they do well."
(On Jake Delhomme guiding the young receiving corps)- "I think that his experience is a real asset and any time you have an experienced guy with a younger group of guys, I think there is a real benefit to that. It takes a village to raise a child, so I think we are all going to have to pitch in and help them keep growing. I expect that from the veteran guys, I expect that from the locker room, not specialization in terms of who you help get better, but everybody helping each other get better."
(On Delhomme having a comeback year)- "I don't necessarily look at it as I comeback, I think I look at it as last year being more of the exception to what has been a very good and consistent career. We have those blips, all of us."
(On responding to draft analysts' criticism)- "I don't really respond to analysts. I respect everybody's opinion and the drafts are usually evaluated two or three years down the road. Inevitably, sometime late in the season, they will have ‘If the draft is held today, who would have gone where?' Then they'll circle back and a guy who went here should've gone there. You don't know, you don't know. Why does Tom Brady go in the sixth round? You try to take the guess work out of it, but it's people. You do the best you can to get the right choices and develop them and cultivate them, but there's a lot of uncertainty. Why does Josh Cribbs become Josh Cribbs? Why did everybody miss on him? Why does Rick Lyle play for 11 years? You just don't know."
(On if any diamonds in the rough that have caught his eye)- "I think it's too early in the mining process. I am sort of still in the cave with that little light on. A buddy of mine called me the other day, a friend of mine, Luca. He grew up in Romania and he works in Los Alamos. He's trying to convince me to buy a mining town in New Mexico. I'm like, ‘Luca, what am I going to do with a mining town?' Bland, New Mexico. I thought, ‘Okay, I see what you're saying. I'd fit right in there.'"
(On having four quarterbacks to ensure Colt McCoy does not play this year)- "It's not about Colt, it's just philosophical. If you want to keep two, you can keep two, if you keep three that tends to be more traditional and I have kept four in the past. We kept four in New England at one point. We kept four in New York at one point. I am not opposed to keeping four here. I think if you get guys that have a chance you try to hold on to them and keep developing them."
(On seeing a situation where McCoy might have to play this year)- "Ted Marchibroda's big phrase was ‘never say never and never say always,' so I don't know. We'll see. I think what Mike (Holmgren) says is what we are anticipating happening but you don't know."
(On any restricted players signing their tenders)- "Nobody has signed."
(On the restricted players being able to participate/workout with the team)- "Yeah they can come in. I think they have to sign some other kind of paperwork in order to workout. D'Qwell's (Jackson) been in a little bit, but nobody has signed the actual tender itself."
(On the date that the restricted free agents have to sign tenders by)- "I know there is something in June where it can change a little bit, but I am not sure exactly what the date is."
(On if he expects the players to sign by OTA's or minicamp)- "Again this is new ground for me so I am going to react to however it unfolds. You want everybody here. I would love for all those guys to be here. If they're not then it gives an opportunity to some other guys to learn the system and get reps and do all of those things so however it works out, it works out."
(On his message to the rookies about leadership)- "I didn't talk extensively about leadership right now. That's something that I talk about with the team and I do believe in what Bill Belichick used to say where everybody has the capacity to lead and to lead in your own way. You don't have to necessarily be the flag carrier or out in front making speeches. If you can find a way to bring others to a higher level in whatever area that is, it's a plus. That's what I would ask for from all of our guys. Just find your way to lead. Find your way to help others, and when we do that collectively we are all better off."
(On hearing anything from the NFL about Shaun Rogers)- "I think what Mike (Holmgren) said about that is really where we are at. It is still a legal matter so as I have more information I will definitely share it with you guys. We will just see how it unfolds."
(On how Rogers' situation affects his coaching plans)- "What I try to do, and this is philosophically what I believe in, is to build versatility. I know we talked about that a lot last year with the offensive line and different positions so that's what we will continue to do, not just in that situation but in all the situations. To play guys at end and nose on the right ride and on the left side, same thing with the safeties and corners because you don't know what's going to happen and in any given situation. I had guys go down really early in the season, so you try to always say, ‘okay here is what we have, how can we build some depth just within the players we have.' What I mean by that is guys that can play in a different couple spots."
(On Rogers getting more time at defensive end)- "We talked about that a little bit and have to take a look at it I think, have to see how its looks and look at him at the right side and the left side. I think (Ahtyba) Rubin did a nice job last year. I'm excited about seeing his continued growth. I think he played well and I think he made a really strong case to continue to play and that's a good thing. The more of those guys that can do that, the better. I think Brian Schaefering did a nice job with the opportunities that he had. Guys on the outside, like Marcus Benard, who did some good things so we will see how they all come through now going into their second year."