On minicamp: "I thought it was an excellent mini-camp. We got an awful lot accomplished in these three days. Some concentrated drills in areas that we needed to get done. We hit the tight red area a bunch of times. Third downs. Some of our substituting defenses. Some of those packages and then the coming out areas. All of that was really valuable today. We got a chance to let them play a little bit and making this as close to a game as you can make it in these type of situations. Once you do all of that and you come out of hit healthy, you feel like you have accomplished something and you did a pretty good job."
On giving the team a couple of days off: "I think they worked real hard. The one thing that I have been fortunate with since I got the job is this group has been one that works their tails off whenever there in this building. They have been accountable. The off-season program, they have had 44 workouts now and have done a tremendous job that way. We are looking at having 50-55 guys right now that have been here for every one of those workouts and maybe another eight or nine guys that have only missed one workout, so we don't have any guys missing workouts. We don't have any of those things, everyone in here. When you see all that, you get through your installs like we did, there is no sense in coming out here at that point if you have gotten what you need to get accomplished and just run plays. We've got one thing that we really need to hit next week and we will take care of that and that will be it. These guys deserve a little bit of down time and a little bit of time away from me."
On if any of three injured players are expected to miss the start of training camp: "I don't know that right now. I really don't . I don't have a timetable on it at this time."
On Chad Pennington steering clear of the spotlight: "I think it is unique a little bit. I have been around different quarterbacks and some of them really like that. Chad is one of those guys that likes flying below the radar a little bit that way. At the same time, the guy is such a good professional. Obviously handles those situations real well. In front of the microphone and handles those situations well. I think the guy understands there are specific things he is responsible for from that standpoint with media and some different obligations that he has, but other than that I think the guys concentrates on football. He is a little bit of a football head."
On Pennington turning down other opportunities: "Sure. In turning some of those things down…One of the reasons for Chad doing some of that stuff is that he likes spending time in here in the building doing football with this group of guys. It's certainly spending as much time as he can with his family (as well). This guy burns the candle so hard during the season that the time he has with his family right now is certainly precious."
On if he saw everything he wanted to see from the rookies: "When you look at it and we have every rep that everyone of these guys played. I knew going into today that Vontae Davis had taken 232 reps. I know every team rep that was taken out here right now and how many plays these guys have had. I think we have seen about as much as we can see before the next evaluation takes place. The next evaluation is to see these guys with pads on. When you see them out here and you are putting them in all of these situations…If we didn't see it, it is our own fault. It really is. I think one of the things about controlling the reps and understanding the reps is that I can go through and sit with my staff and say I need to see so and so more today, I need to see so and so more this week. These are the three guys I want you to concentrate on this week. I think that is important so when I am evaluating these reps and throwing these numbers out, there is a method to the madness. If we didn't see it, it is our own fault. Now we need to see the rest of this thing with our young guys particularly. I know what Jason Ferguson is going to do when he puts pads on. I know what Channing Crowder, Joey Porter and Jason Taylor (are going to do). That is not going to change. I really need to know what some of these other guys are going to do with pads on."
On what rookies made the most strides since rookie mini-camp: "I won't really single anyone out like that. What I will say that as a collective group from where they were when they came in the building to where they are right now, I think we made tremendous strides as a coaching staff with this group. They spent an awful lot of time in here between their rookie camp and what we've gotten accomplished right now. They will continue to be here now for several weeks. The veterans are gone, so that will be a little more of me-you time with Evan Marcus and Dave Puloka in the strength room. They will get a good dose of that. Last year at this time, some of these guys made tremendous gains during this 4-5 week period when they were by themselves with these guys. Kendall Langford is a guy that comes to mind that made tremendous gains during this time. I think that if we get some of that, it will help us going forward into the season."
On Brandon London: "One of the challenges for any of the receivers, Brandon included is that it is a position right now where some hard decisions are going to have to be made. I think that reps and opportunities are really the biggest challenge, meaning the opportunities that you have to make plays, you need to really make these plays. Not every ball goes to you every time you are out there. That's just the way it works. Especially at that position. The number of opportunities that he gets when his number is called…He needs to make those plays. Brandon knows that and any of these receivers know that. I am not telling you anything they don't know. One of the things I think he needs to understand…Somebody asked me about Patrick Cobbs the other day and I will say the same thing about Brandon London. You kind of have to know what you are a little bit. What I mean by that is that this guy is a major contributor on our special teams as well. He needs to continue to excel in that role too. Now when it comes time at the end in making some of these critical decisions, that can help separate you."
On Joe Berger: "One of the things with Joe that is a little bit difficult is that I have history with Joe. I know Joe as a player, I know Joe as a guard, I know Joe as a center. I know exactly what he will do. It's important for our coaches to see a little bit of that. We also know that he has a hard job in that being the center, getting him ready to be the second team center is really a critical job. I didn't really want to put too much on his plate right now during these practices as far as taking a look at that position. We have other guys we needed to look at, but we did want to sprinkle him in today and get him on film a little bit for our own sake and take a peek that way. Other than that, we will concentrate real hard on him as a center and we will see what these other guys will do down the road."
On rotating lineman last season and if he wants to do so again this year: "It's not my desire (to rotate offensive lineman) at all. My desire would be to play five guys until their tongues fall out of there mouth. I mean that. I don't really love that. I don't like the musical chairs thing, but sometimes circumstances dictate that. You know last year, even while we were playing games, we were looking for the right combination of people. Not so much people, but at the guard spot. Then it became two guard spots when (Justin) Smiley got hurt. We were kind of looking for the right combination of people there, so that's what dictated that. My personal opinion, coaching that position as long as I coached that position, I would rather put five guys out there and let them play as long as they can play."
On if he has a 22 man unit that he wants to play exclusively: "No, I think you are still looking for some people right now. A lot of things in my mind that are up in the air. There will be some hard decisions to be made and I am glad that we have hard decisions. I really am. I am kind of looking forward to that. Looking forward to seeing how this whole thing shakes out when we get down here in training camp and some of these preseason games."
On how involved he was the offensive line last year and if he expects his involvement to change this year: "My involvement and I try to stay out of the position, but it is hard for me. It's the way I came into this league. What I came into this league for at the time. I don't really get actively involved that way, but I make a lot of suggestions at the end of the day. I am sure if you asked (Offensive Line coach) David (DeGuglielmo) he would tell you probably a little different. I am that way every place. I am that way defensively and that way in the secondary. (Defensive Back/Asst HC) Todd (Bowles) will talk about some of those things so Bono (Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego) and I the other day with special teams talking about kickoff return and maybe what we need to do here or there. That is just the way I am, but in the area of course when I am watching film, my eye catches a few things so I will bring it up."
On if anything frustrated him during OTAs: "I think probably one of the things, I wouldn't say frustrated me, but I didn't finish these OTAs with feeling really tremendous about….This is one of the things that we will go back and get next week in our one deal is the red area. The red area is an area that no one in this league can take for granted. You never feel comfortable down there and you never feel like you got enough. It is hard to practice, especially when you are practicing in helmets and T-shirts because they are not moving fast enough down there so it kind of gets muddied when the field gets small and I think for the quarterbacks, particularly, but both sides of the ball, things happen a lot faster in that area of the field. So you are looking for the speed and you don't quite get it. That can frustrate you sometime. As many at bats that we can get down in that area will help us so that is one of the deals still out there that we feel we need to clean up."
On Phillip Merling: "As far as his role goes. That is an area where we like to rotate people and keep fresh bodies in the game. I think that Phillip will be one of those people. Whether or not him being a starter is not up to me, it is up to Phillip so as we look at this thing and what he does during training camp…There is some good competition at that position. We already talked about some of the contenders there and Phil knows that. What I think he needs to do…Those guys stout against the run, but more importantly to get a little pressure on the passer. He is a slinky guy meaning he is hard to block and hard to keep blocked. He gets off of blocks pretty well. Last year, Phil's byline would be something like 22-23 plays in a game and he would have three tackles and three assists, maybe get his hand on the football one way or the other. He was productive for the number of plays he was in there. As his role increases, you hope his production increases, because he was one of the guys that doesn't stay blocked."