JagNation Press Pass: Jack Del Rio


"We're pleased to open camp with everybody here, in on time. We've had a real productive start to camp. First, I think it's a credit to Paul Vance and Tim Walsh for working hard in getting the contracts done. It was good that we were able to get everything closed up prior to camp and not have a hold-out situation; that was good. Obviously, Paul and Shack (Harris) and I have been working hard the last five years putting this roster together and we work well together, and we feel like we've been building this roster for five years responsibly, in terms of cap and everything, and we have a healthy roster and a healthy cap. I appreciate what we've been able to do working together putting this team together. Now for us it's all about going to work and a lot of work to be done. Day one, first practice, a lot of excitement. It's great to see the fans out here and obviously there's a lot of excitement here in Jacksonville and we appreciate that.

"I think if you look around the league, there are different stories that develop every year, and we have a great opportunity to make this whatever we determine to make it. We know one thing: There are no shortcuts to success. There is no easy way to get there and to become a well-oiled machine. We just need to work that. We need to work at our trade. We need to improve. We need to as a team and it starts with me. I'll be a better coach. I challenged the guys and let the team know last night. We need to be better. It'll start with me, I'll be better, and we need every man to be a little bit better, and collectively as a team, we want to be a better football team. My focus is on leading this team and preparing them. We're off to a good start, a great way to start camp and open camp. We have a lot of work ahead of us and we're excited to get started."

(will you get something else accomplished before the team goes into pads Monday night?) "Basically, we're here (for) football, terminology, installation and all that begins now. Even now there's been discussion about a lighter camp, it'll be a little lighter in the morning like it just was, but we're still going to work long and hard at night. We have over 1,000 scripted plays in camp in the next two and a half weeks and 1,000 plays, that's a season of work. So there's nothing about camp that isn't hard, tough physically, mentally demanding and this camp will be very demanding."

(will the team do the Oklahoma drill?) "The Oklahoma drill will be Monday night."

(is your main message to the team is to get a little bit better?) "Yeah, that was it. Opportunity – let's prepare to take advantage of our opportunities, and as a team we need everybody to buy into what we're doing, how we're doing it and embrace it and work hard it. We want everybody to bring great energy every day and we want people to work on their trade, work on their craft. We believe that we can put some polish on this team and prepare ourselves to have a real special year."

(how is Reggie Hayward coming along?) "Reggie is doing well. Reggie Hayward was cleared by the doctors to go. Now, he still has some work to do on the conditioning side of it, but he's moved around well. I wasn't sure last week leading into camp that he would be ready to go right away, but he has been cleared and he is able to practice, and we'll be smart in how much we subject him to early in camp but that's a big plus for us to get him back."

(on the status of George Wrighster and Quinn Gray) "We have three guys who are beginning camp on the PUP list. George Wrighster will be probably another week, hopefully less. I know he's chomping at the bit. Quinn Gray, the same thing. He came in with an ankle sprain that he got while conditioning on this own and I know he's chomping at the bit. Both of those guys, we should get them in the next week. Hopefully we will. And then Brian Smith is going to be awhile. We knew that coming in that it was a long shot for him to be ready for day one of camp, but his rehab is continuing and then in due time, we'll get him out there."

(on Reggie Hayward participating in team drills) "He participated in some team drills. Reggie was cleared to go by the doctors. Obviously, he's got some conditioning yet to do but very pleased to start out with Reggie back on the field, moving around. That's a big lift for us, that's for sure."

(on who fills in?) "We don't really have a depth chart right now. Different people go with different groups but we'll worry about that as we get closer to the regular season."

(on Marcus Stroud) "Yeah, Marcus is cleared to go. Marcus practiced; same thing. We have a few guys like Marcus that are coming back from injuries. We're glad to have them out there. They're working. I'm sure he'd be the first to tell you he's got some rust to knock off. He has some work to do but that's what we're here for in training camp."

(have you ever had a rookie safety come in and have pressure on him like Reggie Nelson this year?) "I don't really look at it like that. He's a good football player that is going to come in and put in his work. You look around the league, it's not the first time a guy has been plugged into that situation. Baltimore started a guy last year who was a fifth-round pick and he started and played all year and they had one of the top defenses in the league. So it's not uncommon that you see young guys stepping in and playing well."

(what's your theme this year?) "I know a few themes. The main thing is for us to prepare and take advantage of opportunities. Come in and work your trade. Come in and work with energy every day. Commit to understanding exactly what we're looking for and don't waste any energy thinking about anything but being as good as you can be. Come out and work every day and compete, and we will improve. With that mentality and that approach, we will improve with the good staff that we've assembled working with a good group of players and what we need to do now is get to work."

(would it be nice to know what you have on offense in the passing game? You can assume your defense will be good?) "That's the challenge every year. It may be an assumption on your part. I don't assume anything about defense, any segment of it, offense, any segment of it, special teams, any segment of it. I think it can be foolish to assume. From our standpoint there are certain standards that we've established. There's a certain approach that we're looking for and now for us it's about going out and putting in the work, putting in the time and working towards that."

(is it safe to say you've not set the standard that you were looking for on offense yet?) ‘'It's safe to say we haven't achieved it. We're working on it. I've made many statements about my desire to have an explosive football team here in Jacksonville and we'll continue to work towards that."

(is this the best depth you've had at defensive end?) "We feel like we have a group that will compete, that will be able to come out of camp with something that we can go out and win with. We'll have to see. Obviously you have concern over a guy returning from injury. We know that Bobby (McCray) stepped up in his absence with more opportunities and played well. We feel good about Brent Hawkins and where he left off and what we think we're getting when he returns, and obviously Paul Spicer has been a real good player for us and he's healthy. Then there are a group of young players like James Wyche, Kenny Pettway, people like that who are fighting for a roster spot. So, it's a competitive group."

(how close are Kenny Pettway and James Wyche in terms of being able to push harder?) "They both have worked hard in the offseason. They both joined us last year in different ways. They both spent the offseason preparing for this opportunity in camp. So, we'll get to watch that unfold."

(Mike Walker had a good catch this morning. Is there anything that would keep him from being an instant hit?) "I'd to try to put anything like that on anyone person right now. I think Mike has an opportunity to come out here and show us what he's capable of. We saw in our evaluation a guy that could run, that had hands, that caught the ball easy, that had a mature approach to his game and we think he can be a weapon for us but he'll have to show us where he belongs, how he fits. It was a nice catch today and it's a nice beginning for us but it's just that."

(what would your message be to the fans who might be lukearm?) "Join the other fans that recognize where we area as a football team. It's a good football team. We've won 29 games over the last three years. There have been six teams that have won more in the league. So it's a good football team with people returning from injury that should help us, adding some guys throughout the offseason. We have a quarterback going into his fifth year who is healthy and who has had a terrific offseason. Judge for yourself. Come out and take a look."

(on persuading fans) "I'm most interested in preparing our football team for the upcoming season and all the opportunities that come with that. The other part I'll leave up to the marketing people."

(do you have to worry about things like the Vick situation?) "Coaches are notorious worriers. We worry about everything, but I have not had any indication of those types of issues. Certainly it's been the strongest message set forth by the commissioner in terms of conduct and representing the league in the best way, so I'm supportive of that. We have a lot of effort that we put into ensuring that our players understand some of the do's and don'ts, and I'm quite sure that'll be included on the don't list. Be aware of where you're spending your time."

(Is it something you have to warn them about?) "We're pretty proactive in trying to help educate our guys. We really do make a genuine attempt to educate our players on what it looks like to be a good citizen in the community. We have tremendous commitment from our guys. They're out in the community. They're visiting hospitals. They're visiting schools. They're doing fundraising. They're starting foundations, and doing all those kinds of things. There's a lot of good effort that's put forth and I would venture to say that the effort that our team puts out in the community, I would match it up against anybody in the league."

(what can Joe DeCamillis bring to the team?) "A lot of energy. He's got a wealth of experience. He's been in the league a long time now. He's known for having a lot of fire, a lot of passion for the job, and so we're glad to have him on board."

(is there any worry that a game day official might do something that's not right that might affect the outcome of the game?) "No. I know the NFL has always stood for integrity and we want to maintain that and I'm sure every effort is being made to ensure we don't have that type of tampering."

(are you worried about how the fans will react to Byron?) "No, I just don't focus my energies on those types of things. I focus on preparation, going out competing, trying to instruct these young men how to be better at what they do. We work with the staff on design and we seek to motivate and prepare and then go out and compete."

(do you think the energy and frustration of how last year ended will be channeled into something positive this year with the players?) "I think what happened in the past is in the past. I think we go forward with a fresh start just like 31 other teams."

(is that the same if you were the Super Bowl champion?) "Start over at ground zero every year. I'm sure that Tony Dungy is talking to his team today, or whenever they start, about starting at the beginning and climbing that hill again. I think we all recognize the amount of talented coaches and players in the league and the amount of work that goes in to be good. So that's where we're at right now. We're just starting that process."

(do you look at this year as a pivotal year in which if things don't get better, things may change?) "No, I don't look at it that way. I look at it in terms of having a great opportunity, a big challenge in front of us, a good roster and a lot of work that needs to be done. So really my approach has always been to be positive, coach aggressively, look for every possible way to improve that we can and work at it. It's been my belief, my experience over the years that attacking things aggressively, proactively and with a positive mindset and the willingness to work at it, that if you go at it like that then good things normally occur."

(what is your team's personality like right now? Is there a division within your team in terms of direction?) "No division. A very purposeful beginning to camp. Obviously the main focus is to track down Indy. They're the division title winners. They're the Super Bowl winners. The best way to ensure yourself a playoff spot is to win your division. That has to be the first thing that we go after and obviously that's a tall order, a big challenge for us but we're looking forward to the opportunity."

(did you talk to them last night about conduct?) "Not specifically last night. We have and will continue to. We have a host of speakers coming into our camp. We will continue to identify that component of what we do."

(with injured players are you off to a good start?) "We're off to a good start from the standpoint that all but three players are working and those three are working hard on the side trying to join our team. So from that end, it's a good start."

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