Jaguars Press Pass: Jack Del Rio

COACH JACK DEL RIO NEWS CONFERENCE - MINI-CAMP - SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2007

"A stellar start. I liked the energy. I liked the attention to detail. A lot of work that needs to be done, but it was a good start."

(with the receiver situation now, would you say it's a full-on battle now?)
"I feel like we have a young talented group. I think we have competition across the board with our roster. We're at a stage in our development as a football team where we're just looking for the guys that can help us win and there's enough depth, there's enough solid competition that the cream will rise to the top and we'll go with those guys."

(what did you think of Mike Walker?)
"Strong hands to the ball. We saw that on tape and we saw that today right away. He runs well. Right now he's still learning in terms of where he belongs in the route the first day out. He got flooded with information last night and digested it pretty well. But you can see right away he has strong hands to the ball and in traffic he's a real threat. So a good beginning, good start for him."

(on Matt Jones)
"He has a little strain in his quad. He'll be able to work through it. He's not going to go every rep but he'll be able to get some work in like he did this morning and we'll bring him along."

(what did you see out John Broussard?)
"Speed. The guy is legitimately fast. He's probably the fastest guy out on the field this morning. Again, those young guys got thrown a lot. We worked all last week with our veterans in our passing camp and so they came in and we're going back over that same stuff and they're behind so it's going to be awhile. But the speed was evident."

(who have you had in camp before that was as fast or faster than Broussard?)
"He's probably like Rashean (Mathis). I don't know if I'd put them on line and let them race, but he's fast. He's got speed."

(usually when a player is that fast, they stay on the roster )
"We'll see. I don't think we want to get too carried away with the first day in shorts, but clearly he can run. We knew that when we selected him. There's a lot of work to be done, but any time you can run like that certainly that catches your eye. He's going to get a good look."

(Fred Taylor looks to be in as good as shape as he was a year ago)
"Yeah, Fred looks good. Fred is now two years removed from any type of injury, other than little strains here and there, so that means he's not rehabbing, he's conditioning and getting ready for the year. We expect Fred to be able to come in, healthy, fresh and then ready to have a big year for us."

(are you glad to see Chris Naeole in camp?)
"Yeah, glad to see Chris report. We've been in communication and he let us know he was going to be here for the mandatory mini-camp. So it was good to see him here."

(can John Broussard earn a roster spot?)
"The only way I can put it is that every year we've had undrafted rookie free agents make our team. I talked to the whole group last night, the draft class and the undrafteds, and I told them, 'listen guys, there is legitimate competition for roles and roster spots here.' And I said, 'all you have to do is look at the track record. We've had undrafted college free agents make our team every year that I've been here.' It's not that I've set out to do it, it's just we make it legitimate competition for roster spots and for playing time, and so you have a great opportunity to make the most of it. I encourage those guys not to cut themselves. Let me work through it, let the coaching staff work through it, and just come out here and compete every day."

(what do you mean by 'not cut yourself?')
"Sometimes you can look at counting the line. Last year was a great example. Montell Owens was number nine on the depth chart out of nine guys. We were going to keep five, and he was number nine. So you let your spirits go down and you can (say) 'what's the use,' 'woe is me,' and go through camp like that, and then you have no chance and you will get cut because you're cutting yourself by your effort. Or you can approach it like he did and just come out every day to try and impress the coach. Just work your tail off, compete, utilize what God's blessed you with to the maximize and see if it's good enough. As a coach and as a former player, I respect that. Montell made our team because he had the sheer desire to do so and it showed on special teams, and he was able to create a role for himself. So, I encourage the guys to work hard and not put restrictions on themselves."

(thoughts on the first day of mini-camp)
"It was solid. The team's coming out with a lot of energy, excited to be out on the field working. Coaches have been spending the offseason looking at tape and tweaking our systems and really anxious to get out here to get started on 2007. So, a lot of energy out there today, some rookies being welcomed into our system, and a good start. I think overall it's a real solid start for us."

(are you happy with what you're seeing from Byron Leftwich? He looked slimmer.)
"I don't know how much slimmer he is. Obviously, he's been working. I think he's ready to have a big year. He has some weapons. I know he has coaches in Dirk Koetter and Mike Shula and those two guys are really excited about working with him and taking the passing game to another level, so I think that excites him. I know it excites me."

(in bringing in new coaches and new players like Tony Pashos, how much of that was geared towards getting Leftwich to a situation where he is most comfortable?)
"It's not so much just one player, it's just what can we do to be as good as we can. We just want to be good and we're looking to be explosive. Clearly, any good offense is going to center around the quarterback position and that position playing well. So that's obviously integral to us in our success."

(did you get a chance to watch Reggie Nelson?)
"No, not a whole lot. I'll get a look on the tape. He's going to be a good player. He's going to fit right in to our style defense. He's explosive, athletic, has a lot of passion, a lot of energy. Reggie is going to be a great fit for us."

(with the young players, do you try to throw as much as you can at them to see how they handle it?)
"Yeah, we threw the whole book at them. We had three OTAs last week with the veterans. We got to come out here on the field and go full speed with our playbook and we've gone back and started over now, so the rookies are behind but that's by design. They'll catch up. Today, you saw some good things. Mike Walker showed good hands to the ball, good strong hands to the ball. You saw speed from (John) Broussard. Saw some encouraging things here."

(Mike Walker stood out this morning. Did you find yourself watching him?)
"Not trying to but if you catch the ball, eyes are going to be following the ball. Certainly he looks like a guy, as we saw on tape, he's a poised, competitive athlete and he is strong going after the ball. He runs well. He's a good route runner. Right now, he's trying to figure out where he belongs so he will improve, but it was a good solid start for him."

(is the goal this weekend to lay a good solid foundation?)
"Yeah, that's what it's really all about. It's all about this time of year (where) we can slow down and teach, stop a drill, talk. When we get to the regular season, we're then in game-plan mode and you don't have time to go back and do that. So this is a really crucial time for us to develop our fundamentals, to be able to teach our system and have the guys really understand it. That lays the foundation for our football season."

(how did Fred Taylor look?)
"Fred looked good. He's two years now removed from any injuries and he's able to condition. He's not rehabbing, he's conditioning and glad to see 28 back out here."


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