Q&A with Kevin Burnett

IRVING, Tex. - Third-year linebacker Kevin Burnett recently sat down with TheRanchReport.com to discuss the offseason, new coach Wade Phillips, and his expectations for the coming season.

The Ranch Report: How was the first mini-camp under Coach Phillips?
Burnett: It's been fun. I think it has been as much fun as any of us have had on the football field in a long time. We are having a good time out there and at the same time, are also getting work done.

The Ranch Report: Can you talk about how much looser the atmosphere is around this year's team compared to what it has been in the past.
Burnett: It has changed. Football is fun again. It's not all business all the time. Coach Phillips is that way. He feels that you don't have to be all business all the time as long as you get your work done. Once you do that, then you can have fun. He told us plain and simple to just take it one step at a time and that's what we're going to do. Bill (Parcells) is gone so I can't answer any more questions about him.

The Ranch Report: Talk a little bit about th expectations for this defense this year. On paper, this looks like a great defense.
Burnett: Right now, you hesitate to say too much because you don't want to say that we're going to have a great defense because it's so early. But I would say that we're growing. We're learning the scheme and are growing. You can see a big difference between where we were at during the first practice to where we are at now. We're starting to get more hands on balls and make more plays. We're coming along.

The Ranch Report: It's been yet another busy offseason with a new head coach and new players brought in like Leonard Davis and Ken Hamlin. How much higher are the expectations for this year's team compared to where they were in the past?
Burnett: You look at what Mr. (Jerry) Jones does. He wants to win and will put the players and the pieces around you to do that. With the acquisitions that we have made and bringing in a new staff with a new scheme, he wants us to win. It looks like we're going to have a good chance to do that.

The Ranch Report: Did you do anything special during the offseason to get prepared for 2007?
Burnett: I just tried to take my offseason training to another level. If you always do the same thing, then you will always be what you have always been. I took everything I have done in the offseason to another level. That was just me doing that. I want to be a better football player in each and every play, every day and every season. If you're that kind of player and person, that's what they want around here. They don't want the kind of guys who are complacent or who are happy with where they are. They want guys to elevate their game. You look at what they do every year around here-there is always something going on. They have new coaches, a new stadium or things like that. They always give you something to look forward to. That just lets you know that they expect you to do the same-give them something to look forward to.

The Ranch Report: Team chemistry seems to have been lacking a bit in the last few years under the previous regime. How much do you think that has improved thus far under Phillips?
Burnett: We have to be closer as a team this year. With the way we lost (in the playoffs) and got put out last year, we are hungry. We have been there before, know how it is and know that we can get there. Look at what we did as a defense. We lost some games and then came back and had a good stretch run. We didn't finish like we wanted to. But that just shows what we're capable of.

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