(What is your level of concern with the injuries after the first week?)
I'm OK with it. We're a little banged up. Nothing really to my knowledge is the really bad stuff. Things turn up, certainly about this time every year. Once you get though the first couple of weeks it usually sort of tapers off. You never like to see anybody get banged up, but we've got a few tweaks that are going to keep us out of practice for a little bit.
(What did you take away from the scrimmage on Saturday night?)
I thought it was pretty good. I thought some things happened on the offensive side. We made some plays on defense. It seemed like the people that came had a good time. I'm not a huge fan of it, I've got to be honest, just because I never like to see the Packers play the Packers. That's always going to be my take on it. It was OK. It was a nice evening and a good fireworks thing. It was cool.
(Do you have any update on how much time Clay is going to miss?)
I don't know that. I know Mike is going to be talking to you guys after practice. He is usually the guy that kind of filters that. It's like with anything, you never know whether it's two days or two weeks or whatever because every little injury is a little different and every player with those injuries is a little different. Him and a number of other people, we'll just have to kind of work our way through it.
(Do you kind of hold your breath during training camp with the injuries?)
Football is a movement, contact sport, so things are going to happen. You can't hold your breath all of the time because you can't hold your breath all of the time. You do have to kind of let them go and play and hope for the best. I think our guys do a great job of training and showing up for training camp in great shape. I think that certainly helps your chances of making it through, but injuries, all across the league, I'm sure if you looked on different websites would be probably the major notices this time of the year because there haven't been any concrete decisions made on personnel and things like that. I think it is just the topic of conversation now.
(I know the game is vastly different from when you played. But do you like how Mike only has a couple of live periods on Saturday night?)
I do. Mike and I talk all of the time. Again, I would wrap all of them up. This is a blocking and tackling game, and I look at things a little bit differently. I am probably thinking back to when I was a 10-year vet. When you are a 10-year vet there are things in practice that you probably don't need to go through, and maybe that's where I left off of football so I am thinking about that now. Maybe it skewed my thinking.
(Have those skills eroded because of the lack of tackling?)
I don't think so. I think this is still a game of blocking and tackling. I think for the most part, National Football League teams and players that make it in the National Football League are pretty adept at that. I think some people are a little bit more interested in tackling than other people, but it's still a blocking and tackling game. I just don't like to see us doing it against each other. I am fine in a preseason game. I am more comfortable then because there are only 11 of us out there at a time as opposed to 22.
(You said at the shareholders that you are going to fall down and get back up. A lot of guys have embraced the Super Bowl expectations, even Nick Barnett having a T-shirt made. Are you OK with that?)
I think we have kind of addressed it, and quite frankly going forward I think we have been there, done that, said that. Now it is getting ready for the season, it is getting ready for the Philadelphia Eagles, which will be a very tough road game. And I think our team will do that. Certainly we have discussed the fact that there are expectations on both the local and national level, but that doesn't mean a darn thing. What matters is how those young men and coaches and our entire organization performs this year, and that's what we've got to get ready to do. But yeah, I think we have already addressed it. I'm about done with that.
(What did you see from the punters?)
I thought they both punted the ball very well. Of course you guys saw it, but just in case people didn't, we did a backed-up situation. I thought they did a nice job there with pressure. They did things toward the middle of the field and then kicking into the opponent's territory. I thought both of them were effective.
(How long would you like to see that competition go?)
Until we decide. It's hard to say. Sometimes things show themselves pretty fast and sometimes it takes a little bit more time. I think they are both doing a nice job.
(You have spent a lot of time in Texas; what do you know about Aaron Schobel?)
I know where he is from. I can't remember the name of the town, but I have been through there two or three times. I think the family is longtime residents there and established members of the ranching business and that sort of thing. From TCU, right?
(Good football player?)
(Do you expect to keep tabs on him?)
I gave you the history of his family and all of that. That is about the extent of it.
(What did you see from A.J. on Saturday night? Winston has talked about wanting him to take more chances. Did you see that?)
I thought A.J. had a very good scrimmage, and I am an A.J. fan. I have always thought he was a pretty good player. If you think he is not, then you are not an expert in the game. Not that I am an expert in the game. That came out wrong.
(Do you think there is something to him being pushed by Bishop or last year some of Winston's words?)
I think he is very much a competitor, and I hope all of our guys are like that. I think sometimes if you feel that competitiveness coming on, then you do what athletes do. You dial it up a notch and do something. I just think the criticism of A.J. has been a little misguided.
(What would you like to take out of Saturday other than staying healthy?)
I would like to have a nice game, see some people play to their strengths and play the way they are capable of. Sometimes you get your opportunity and sometimes you don't. There is no design there; it just happens. Hopefully, especially with some of our young guys that we've got to make decisions on, get their opportunity and they take advantage of those opportunities. Sometimes it is a matter of seeing if the game is too big for them or not.
(How important is August and these preseason games for a guy like Matt Flynn that doesn't get to play much during the season?)
I think it is very important obviously for a guy that during the course of the season might not play a lot. That is your chance to play and move the team and be the leader on the field. I think any time you get snaps at any position, but most especially at that position, I think it is critical in the preseason. I know a lot of people have said these aren't important. These are important games in that respect in terms of developing your players and developing quarterbacks. At that position, you have to be in amongst the lions to learn how to play that spot.
(How accurate of a scouting report can you get on a guy like Matt when you are scaling down the playbook and he is playing with some guys that might not be on the final roster?)
I think you just go by what you see, and he is able to do what he can do. It doesn't matter if he is going against a second-team defense or not. That person's opportunity at quarterback is what it is, and you do what you can. I think you look at people that sort of grab the bull by the horns and take on that challenge and show them how to play the position.
(You mentioned some guys might not get many opportunities, so how much tougher would it be if there were only two preseason games?)
It is two less chances. If that is the way it is then that is the way it will be. It would be the same for everybody else. Certainly you would have to, my guess is you would have to make more of those decisions earlier on beause there is a time where you want to get into a substitution pattern and things like that to sort of get set with the way things work so there is a comfort level among the players. It would be different, but the NFL is the NFL. Everybody has got to do it.
(What are your impressions of Shields so far and his performance on Saturday night?)
He seems to be going at it pretty well. In a lot of respects he is a typical 'U' guy in that the game is not too big for him and he looks comfortable in his own skin out there. I think that is sort of the first hurdle you have to get over as a rookie. He came into our rookie stuff, mini-camps and things like that, and certainly God gifted him with a lot of ability and speed and things like that. But he seems to have a knack for the game and made an excellent break on the ball the other night for that pick. The perfect example of where I would have wished they would have blown the whistle right after he caught it rather than have 28 of our guys chasing him and risking pulled hamstrings and things like that, but that's not the way it works. But I think he is doing OK. We've got a long way to go.
(What did you hear from Bigby's surgery?)
That it went OK. Outside of that…
(Has he lost that job?)
Oh, we're way too early to talk about things like that. I thought you had asked me if I lost my job.
(Are you disappointed that it wasn't taken care of before camp?)
You never like to see people come into camp and have something happen or not be there. That's the breaks of the game. You are always disappointed in an injury, whether it happens in a Super Bowl game or the first day of training camp.
(But it is your belief that it happened during the conditioning test?)
I wouldn't care to get into that. That will get worked out.
(Last year you made a deal with Tony Moll for Derrick Martin. Are those trades rare or could you do something like that again if you feel you have a surplus at a certain position?)
Sure. Those kinds of conversations really haven't gotten going yet. There are the great fishing expeditions where they just call and say, 'Do you got anybody that you are looking to move?" Nobody says anything, so we've got to get into that. I think we have got to see some preseason games and then you've got to kind of value where you think you are stronger and where another team might be another stronger. It's got to work for everybody. It's not difficult, but the stars have to align a little bit.
(Do you feel like you have positions where you may have a surplus and you could do that?)
Right this second probably not because all of our guys are hurt in some respect. No, I'm being facetious. I don't know. You won't know that. You can think you are going to and then you have a tweak here and a tweak there and you don't. We play to the end and then see what happens.