Buccaneers 2004 Mini-Camp - Day Three

"I was very pleased with our mini-camp and we're looking forward to training camp and getting back to work. But these guys deserve a break and an opportunity to rejuvenate mentally and physically and get themselves ready to go."


(On if, as a coach, he wishes the team had more time to practice) "You always do. Again, we're going to take advantage of a couple weeks off. It's been a long offseason; a lot has happened. We respect that. There's a time and a place for these guys to get themselves relaxed a little bit and focused individually in terms of what we need to get done."
(On if there are any more team activities before training camp) "No, there's no OTAs. You're only allowed to have 14. We've documented carefully those 14 days and turned them into the league, so there's no sense of us bending rules or anything like that. But for our rookies and players who are in town, we've got a lot of coaches – Monte Kiffin, [Rod] Marinelli and myself – who don't go very far. So the rookies will come in if they want to get together and go over some film and stay on top of their conditioning, and we'll certainly do everything we can to help them."
(On his impressions of Michael Clayton) "I was impressed with every aspect of Michael Clayton. He's a big, physical, tough guy with great hands, and he learns quick. What he did since the draft, learning this system and operating against a great defensive team, says a lot. I like the kid tremendously. I think he sincerely wants to be great. He understands his responsibility as a number-one draft choice and he's a heck of a football player. I can attest to that."
(On his impressions of Mark Jones) "He's our sleeper. We're trying to keep him quiet, but everybody that's seen us practice keeps asking about him. Bruce [Allen] traded up to get him in the seventh round; we had to part ways with Darian Barnes, which was tough for us. This guy played both ways at Tennessee, offense and defense. He was a very good return man. And he doesn't say a word. You've got to really prod him during your interviews. I challenge you to get any information from him. He's got blinding speed. He can run fast and he's a tough guy. We really like what we've seen."
(On Jermaine Phillips replacing John Lynch) "It's a great responsibility for [Anthony] McFarland and everybody else to replace Warren Sapp. It was tough replacing Warrick Dunn. It's part of being a professional football player. You've got to be ready for just about anything these days. Jermaine Phillips played very well against Dallas [in 2003]. We shut Dallas out with him as our safety. The second half against New Orleans on the road might have been our best half of football, defensively, last year, and he was our safety. So he's been preparing as a starter for some time now and we're confident he can become a great player here. He's a great guy, also. I'd like to reiterate to everybody that he's also an outstanding person who I think is going to make a real impact here in our community, as well."
(On if there is a chance of the team making roster moves before training camp) "Yeah, I would say so. Yes, there is definitely a chance. We've added some players to our roster in the past in June. [Keenan] McCardell was one of those guys, Thomas Jones last year. The trade, the waiver wire, all of those things will be evaluated carefully between now and Orlando."
(On if, as a coach, he wishes the team had more time to practice) "You always do. Again, we're going to take advantage of a couple weeks off. It's been a long offseason; a lot has happened. We respect that. There's a time and a place for these guys to get themselves relaxed a little bit and focused individually in terms of what we need to get done."
(On if there are any more team activities before training camp) "No, there's no OTAs. You're only allowed to have 14. We've documented carefully those 14 days and turned them into the league, so there's no sense of us bending rules or anything like that. But for our rookies and players who are in town, we've got a lot of coaches – Monte Kiffin, [Rod] Marinelli and myself – who don't go very far. So the rookies will come in if they want to get together and go over some film and stay on top of their conditioning, and we'll certainly do everything we can to help them."
(On his impressions of Michael Clayton) "I was impressed with every aspect of Michael Clayton. He's a big, physical, tough guy with great hands, and he learns quick. What he did since the draft, learning this system and operating against a great defensive team, says a lot. I like the kid tremendously. I think he sincerely wants to be great. He understands his responsibility as a number-one draft choice and he's a heck of a football player. I can attest to that."
(On his impressions of Mark Jones) "He's our sleeper. We're trying to keep him quiet, but everybody that's seen us practice keeps asking about him. Bruce [Allen] traded up to get him in the seventh round; we had to part ways with Darian Barnes, which was tough for us. This guy played both ways at Tennessee, offense and defense. He was a very good return man. And he doesn't say a word. You've got to really prod him during your interviews. I challenge you to get any information from him. He's got blinding speed. He can run fast and he's a tough guy. We really like what we've seen."
(On Jermaine Phillips replacing John Lynch) "It's a great responsibility for [Anthony] McFarland and everybody else to replace Warren Sapp. It was tough replacing Warrick Dunn. It's part of being a professional football player. You've got to be ready for just about anything these days. Jermaine Phillips played very well against Dallas [in 2003]. We shut Dallas out with him as our safety. The second half against New Orleans on the road might have been our best half of football, defensively, last year, and he was our safety. So he's been preparing as a starter for some time now and we're confident he can become a great player here. He's a great guy, also. I'd like to reiterate to everybody that he's also an outstanding person who I think is going to make a real impact here in our community, as well."
(On if there is a chance of the team making roster moves before training camp) "Yeah, I would say so. Yes, there is definitely a chance. We've added some players to our roster in the past in June. [Keenan] McCardell was one of those guys, Thomas Jones last year. The trade, the waiver wire, all of those things will be evaluated carefully between now and Orlando."


S JERMAINE PHILLIPS
(On replacing John Lynch) "Just not try to do too much. Just try to do my responsibilities and that is it. Great plays will come if I just know my responsibilities."
(On what he needs to do to be comfortable) "You never know it all. You always have room to improve and learn. It is when you stop learning is when you should worry. That is why I am always trying to get some experience and get the knowledge that the coaches have."
(On the pressure he is feeling) "I think that I am putting more pressure on myself than anything else. I am not feeling any pressure from anybody else. Everyone has welcomed me with open arms to fill the position."


QB CHRIS SIMMS
(On what he has been concentrating on this off-season) "I would say my overall managing skills of the whole game. I think that is the one thing the coaching staff wanted me to focus on and I did. It's the little things, like being able to run a two-minute offense, handle blitzes, being able to call a time out in the right situation, and not taking sacks. Those are the things that any rookie quarterback, someone coming right out of college has to learn."
(On how much work he has ahead of him) "I have a lot of work ahead. It has been a great offseason for me and I think as a team we got a whole lot better. I am excited for the year."
(On what he will do between now and training camp) "I will go to New Jersey and see my family, spend some time with mom, dad, my brother, and sister, workout, stay in shape, and really just take it easy."
(On the time he put in during the offseason) "I was here pretty early in the offseason and got out there pretty good. The coaches had a great offseason plan set out for me. I learned a lot, especially with the new talent we got in, the rookie receivers, we did a good job in working and trying to teach them as much as possible."
(On the difference between leaving mini-camp last year and this year) "Last year I was so happy on the last day, that I got through it. It's a whole different attitude coming out here now. I look forward to it, throwing the ball and learning more."
(On his performance at mini-camp) "I performed pretty well, solid. There are things that I can improve on, but I think as a team we got better and I know individually I got better as well."
(On the playbook) "The playbook has become a whole lot easier for me. Last year I was really learning on the fly. This year I really got to study things and take a second look. It helped me a lot."

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