Minicamp Q&A: Kevin Carter

Veteran defensive lineman Kevin Carter addressed the media following the first practice of minicamp and touched on a variety of subjects, including the defensive system and his thoughts on second-year player Manuel Wright. Here's what Carter had to say.

Q: How much do you love going through another minicamp?

Carter: "Offseason minicamps is a necessary evil, just like training camp. We've got to get ready to play and we have to get our timing down, we have to get our synchronization, chemistry, all that stuff together, and that's the only way you can get a chance to do it is now."

Q: Where does the pass rush stand after the late-season surge in 2005 and now the change in defensive coordinators?

Carter: "I think theoretically that it should only get better. Being able to use your pass rush along with blitzes and different looks, different people coming and having the discipline of veteran players to actually execute those blitzes and stuff, I think it should only get better. I think it should confuse a lot of offenses that we play; they won't know what we're doing. Our rush is going to be there regardless of who's coming; it's going to be solid, it's going to be disciplined, it's going to be on time, it's going to be run right."

Q: There's been a lot of talk about the nose tackle position ...

Carter: "Why?"

Q: Because you have an older, established veteran in Keith Traylor.

Carter: "So?"

Q: He's been nicked up over the years ...

Carter: "He's not nicked. He's fine. We need to keep Truck in there. I don't know what they're going to do, but ... what is the question, I'm sorry, I cut you off."

Q: Is there anyone on the roster who can be a backup nose tackle?

Carter: "Someone on the roster? Yes. We have everything we need in our room. I don't know how we'll choose to use it or where we will play certain people in certain positions, but we have everything in our room that we already need for the whole season."

Q: You were critical at times last season of Manuel Wright. Have you seen some progress in him?

Carter: "We will see. That's up to him. Obviously, he has a very good opportunity, they want him to do well, we all want him to do well, he's part of our team. But consistency is not the easiest thing to achieve in the NFL. You've got to come in and do it every practice, every time you come out there on the field, you've got to go out there and do it. And that's a hard thing to do. Mental toughness over time, consistency, those are the kind of things that we'll have to see from him in order for him to be a productive part of our defensive line."

Q: How difficult is it for the defensive line to transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3?

Carter: "We've got to be able to transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 smoothly, without any hitches, without any setbacks. We have to be able to transition and be disciplined and run the blitzes no matter what we're in, keep people on their toes. That's how you effectively out-scheme people is you're able to go back and forth from different look to different look and not miss a beat."

Q: Is Zach Thomas the quarterback of the entire defense or do the defensive linemen have their own quarterback of sorts?

Carter: "As long as the communication is there, it isn't just Zach. There's different people that have to make calls, but the reason we all have to know what's going on and we all have to be disciplined is because there's so many things we do and if you don't know what's going on as a defensive lineman, you don't know what people are rushing, what people are coming into gaps or whatever, then you're not going to be as effective."

Q: What goes through your mind when you see Daunte Culpepper scrambling?

Carter: "Pleasantly surprised and inspired. I'm glad he's feeling a lot better, especially with the severity of the injury that he had. But I'm definitely inspired. I mean, it's only June and he's running around pretty good. So it's a pretty good indication that he'll be ready to go full speed come season time."

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