Del Rio: Passing Grades For Passing Camp


"It's good to be out on the grass coaching. This is day one. We have 19 practices over the next five weeks and this is the first of them. We have a lot of work to do. This is the time of year where as a staff we really focus in on fundamentals and teaching and installation of our system because once we start game planning it's hard to go back and really be in that teaching mode. So this is the time I think you get a lot of value out of that part of it, establishing that foundation."

(on changes in the offensive system)
"Some cleaning up of some things. Obviously, we took a good thorough look at our system. Dirk (Koetter) brought in some ideas and we incorporated those ideas as a staff. It's something you do every year, it's just more talked about this year with Dirk being new. But even defensively, we'll go back and refine our system every year and make sure that we're tailoring what we do on the field with what our guys are going to be good at. So I think we've ha d a very productive offseason from a staff standpoint in terms of cleaning up the system and making sure we're doing things that can best utilize our talent, and now we get to go out and begin implementing that."

(what philosophy do you expect Dirk Koetter to bring?)
"I'd rather have Dirk explain it to you. For me, we just want to win as a football team, do what we can to utilize our talent. Dirk is noted for being a guy that throws the ball down the field on play-action and utilizes the tight end quite a bit in the offense, and those are two things that certainly I embrace."

(what were your overall impressions of Byron Leftwich and how he looked?)
"I don't get too caught up in all of that. There's been a lot of drama, a lot of talk, a lot of hype about him and about that position. We feel like we have a good football team that we're returning. We're out here for our first of 19 practices and glad to have our guys out here, he being one of them, and working. I think in terms of conditioning, you're not going to see a whole lot in an hour and a half practice. We obviously will have certain things that we've got to see prior to training camp for all of our players. Whether they're here or not, they have to meet certain requirements. But this is a time when we're working on the conditioning, working on our system and really doing a lot of fundamental teaching, and from that standpoint it's a good start."

(is there any concern Chris Naeole is not around?)
"No. I'm aware of Chris' situation. He's communicated with our coaches. I know that he did not plan on attending. Again, I think it's most important that we focus on the guys that are here and make sure we're spending the energy, spending the time with the things that we have control over."

(when do you think you will see Naeole?)
"I don't have a guess on that."

(will the tight end position be used more as a weapon this season?)
"I hope so. We think we have some talented guys. We think we have a system that will have the tight end role a little more prominent, and we hope so. I think the idea is to incorporate the tight end more and open up the rest of the field for the rest of the offense. I think when you have a dynamic tight end making plays in the middle of the field, it's difficult for a defense to spend all the time they'd like on the wide-outs. We also think with our running game that with that, you're going to create opportunities in the passing game. So yeah, we're going to be more productive this year. We're working hard towards that and that's where we spend the time now, developing that kind of confidence in that position and the rest of the positions. We want to be a well-rounded team, we want to be an explosive offense. And this is the time when you work on things like timing and execution of plays so that we can be polished when it counts."

(on Dennis Norman's versatility.)
"Dennis can play just about anywhere. He played tackle for us last year in a pinch. He has played either guard. He's played center. The only place we haven't lined him up is really right tackle, and I'm sure he can handle that one too. He's a great guy to have on your team, he's very versatile, very strong and very intelligent. So yeah, we plugged him in and we'll keep rolling."

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