Q: How much can last year help you this year?
A: It helps a lot. The guys I've been around, I have a feel for them. And just being around the atmosphere and seeing how the game is played, that will help a lot.
Q: What are you thinking for this year?
A: Right now, I'm trying to do the best I can. Whatever takes place takes place. The only thing I can do is work hard and continue to prepare myself and when the opportunity presents itself, I want to be ready.
Q: How much has Todd helped you?
A: He's helped out a lot. He's been through this and he's been in this offense for five years. Having him on the field and telling us, Mark and myself, what to look for on certain reads, it's been helpful.
Q: Is the offense that different?
A: It's pretty different. Look at that playbook [it's about 4 inches thick] and it's really different. The only thing that's the same is our run game. We do pretty good with our run game. The line did a great job getting CP some rushing yards. Now we look forward to putting it all together.
Q: Have you had to put in more time because of this?
A: You definitely have to put in more time because it is so different. We were adding stuff every day. Once camp comes around we'll have been through it one time and the next time we run it we'll be able to go faster. For me it's all about getting comfortable with the offense.
Q: What's the main difference?
A: The routes the receivers run. The tempo and speed of the quarterback to get back and get the ball out of your hands. That's changed dramatically and that's a good thing because we have fast receivers. This lets them get in and out of their cuts. We look forward to it.
Q: Has it been easy for you to stay patient while waiting
A: You're a competitor so it's not easy. Deep down inside you like to compete and
I have when people question why you're not playing. But I have no control over those situations. Mark is the guy who took us to the playoffs and he comes back and starts this season, rightfully so. In my position, you have to be patient and wait your turn. Quarterback is different than other positions because you have to know every single aspect of the offense inside and out so we'll be comfortable once we start playing. Once I get to that comfort level, I'll do real good.
Q: Is it hard to stay patient when you see other guys,
like Ben Roethlisberger, play so early and do well?
A: Ben got the chance because of injury and at the same time his offense is run-oriented. Run, run, run and then throw when you have to. It's the group of guys around him. We have the same group around us here, but the offense is totally different than the one in Pittsburgh.
Q: Do you feel ready for a chance?
A: You never figure out until you get out there. I'd say the preseason will tell a lot for me. Coach said I'll get a lot of work this preseason. How well, and how comfortable I feel, will dictate what happens in the future.
Q: Are you excited about that chance?
A: Yeah. It's been a long time and it feels like a long time since I played in a game. It's tough to watch, but it can also be helpful.
Q: Coach Gibbs jokes that he's told you it's time to
start earning your money. Do you feel that way?
A: Yeah, I think that's the main thing. But people, just because you're a first-rounder, they always think the guys there before you should be moved to the side. That's not the case. Mark has been to the Pro Bowl three times and has had a great career. To follow up a guy like him coming off a strong season that he had last year will pay tremendous dividends.
Q: What is Al Saunders like?
A: In meeting rooms, he's really detail-oriented about everything he wants done in the offense. That's how we want it to be. He wants everyone on the same page. It's not like he's behind you fussing at you all the time. He's just really detail-oriented.
Q: What else have you been working on?
A: Dropbacks, getting back quick and getting used to getting the ball out of my hands and throwing to certain spots and areas. That's a dramatic change from last season.
Q: Does that last preseason game you played in feel like
10 years ago?
A: Yeah, coming off a strong preseason game against Baltimore, you feel like you're just getting a feel for the NFL and the style of play. Then you have to watch for the whole year, which is good. A lot aren't ready their first year. Some think they are and they are not. Coach Gibbs has been through this. I can't question what he does. I'm a firm believer in what he does. They're trying to put me in the right situation at the right time.