(Brad Jones was back. What did you see out of him?)
It was good to have Brad. Didn't watch him closely. It was just good to have him back and go through a full practice. I had a chance to visit with him before practice, and he's ready to go, and it's important for him to go through this training process like everybody else. So hopefully he's past the back bruise and he can put together a good camp.
(What did you learn about Bigby from his visit to North Carolina?)
Atari Bigby is actually scheduled to return to North Carolina. He will have surgery tomorrow with Dr. Anderson down there, and then at that time we'll have pretty much all the information that we'll need.
(Is this season-ending?)
I have no idea. The surgery will answer those questions.
(Is it more of an exploratory thing to find out what's wrong or do they think they know?)
There's a reason why he needs surgery. The tests have revealed that. Obviously it's the second time that he'll have a surgical procedure on his ankle. We'll know a lot more after Dr. Anderson has a chance to complete the surgery.
(Could this have been addressed sooner?)
I can't really answer those questions because we did not see Atari through his business situation throughout the spring. Atari came in here in relatively good shape from his communication with us prior to that point, and he didn't pass the physical. It's a setback for him, and we feel like we're going to address it tomorrow and get all the answers.
(Do you feel good about where you're at with the rest of the safeties?)
Well, we're a little nicked up at the safety position. Will Blackmon is still coming back off his knee. He's had some good work. I like the body of work the two young guys, Burnett and Levine, have put together so far. Those things have a way of always sorting themselves out. It's a group of depth, so it will answer itself really. This is important to go through this installation and training camp process for all of our positions, and the safety position is no different.
(How much has Jordy Nelson progressed from last year's training camp to now?)
I think Jordy, and I was asked this the other day, and also James, I think they've both really really come into their own. You could see it throughout the spring. Jordy and James have been given more opportunities with different formation locations and some of the concepts that they didn't have the opportunity to run in the past, and they've taken full advantage of it. So I really like the way Jordy's game has elevated throughout the spring and continued here through training camp.
(How high is the bar for Jermichael Finley? He seems to have a lot of untapped potential.)
I think potential, talent, those are nice words. Sometimes they can be negative words. But he's a unique young man. He's going to have an opportunity to be the starter from Day 1, so with that his opportunities will be increased. He has a lot of ability. He gives us more options than we've had at that position in the past. But it's also a tight end group that he is very much complemented by too. It's a group that has a lot of depth. We're all excited about the progress Jermichael has made. Like anything else, he needs to come out here every day, work to get better, which he is doing, and get ready to play games, be productive. It's always different when you have that opportunity to be the guy for a full season. So let's just see what kind of season he has. Like anybody, I'm as excited as anybody about the opportunity he's going to be given and what he'll be able to do with it.
(Do you like the kind of confidence he has?)
Absolutely. He's confident. He's verbally confident, and that's a good thing. But it's like anything in life, you have to watch it that you don't do too much. It's important for him to stay focused. It's a long year. He's got a lot of work in front of him, and it's important for us as coaches to stay on him to take it one day at a time. He's very excited. In a recent conversation we had, we haven't even played a game yet. A lot of good articles, a lot of talking. We need to be working right now. Everybody in the National Football League is going through this type of process right now and there's a reason for it, and that's where he needs to be focused on.
(How would you describe his maturity?)
I think every year he's matured, and this year is no different. He's matured both on and off the field, and that's always very rewarding to see a player go through that. His relationship that he has with his position coach Ben McAdoo is special. It's nice to watch him and we watch our whole team, because we've been young for years. It's been fun to watch a lot of these guys mature and grow up both on and off the field.
(Can you talk about Aaron these first couple of days?)
I think he is putting together a good body of work. You take today's practice, the two-minute drills ended in turnovers. That's a good day for the defense. I thought Aaron did a very good job of operating the mechanics of the no-huddle. It was 12 or 13 plays and then he had the touchdown there at the end. I think Aaron is having a very good camp. It's very important to not get too high or low on any player or any part of your team during this installation phase. The most important thing is to go through the different looks that we are trying to give the defense and overcome the things that they are challenging us with and continue to learn from them and keep building that bank of experience up so that when the real games start we are ready to go.
(Can you talk about the correction phases and what you see with them?)
This schedule the format has been done frankly since May. We had an opportunity to work on it in May and June as a staff. You project out, once again I talked about the installation phase, it is important to go through that process and make sure you are correcting it as you go on. We don't just go right through and put everything in. We try to build in correction days, review days, so it is important to keep going back and correct the little things, particularly the fundamentals, of both the plays and the individual techniques that we are getting ready to use this year.