Capers press conference


(Opening statements) "Good afternoon, we are extremely excited about getting our players in here Friday.  All the guys come back in; basically they all left with a plan in terms of what we expect them to do over the last six weeks.  We anticipate them all coming back in the same type of shape or better shape than what they left in.  I believe this, as we enter the fourth camp we have our most talented group.  We have had a plan from the very beginning. We have attempted to stay consistent in following the plan.  We feel we have improved in each and every season in wins and I think this will be the most competitive team from the stand point of heading into training camp.  We will have excellent competition at a number of positions and that's what you hope.  You hope the depth improves, you hope the competition improves, and experience tells me that the way you get better is if you got people competing for a position, you are going to get the best out of people.  And so we are looking forward to that.  I think our schedule is set up to where we will have our first two pre-season games here at home and that will enable us to have five practices against our first two opponents which is always a good evaluation, and it's good to measure your players against other players on the practice field. I know the players look forward to it and the tempo always picks up so we look forward to getting work in. You know, much has been made and obviously we are heading into the fourth year and I always asked about expectations and we expect to have our best football team.  Our focus really is on the process, and has always stayed on the process and has stayed on the big plan.  The thing you cannot do is look too far down the road.  As the players report and we start out, the challenge to us is just to come in here everyday and take it one step at a time, one play at a time, one series at a time, one day at a time, and do the best we can.  And I feel our team will do that, I think we will have a good mixture of veteran leadership on our team. Guys that have been with us the first three years, and we are looking forward to evaluating our new players.  We felt good about what we saw with our new draftees during the spring, as much as you can tell without pads on.  We know that this is a game, a physical game and you cannot measure that during the spring, but you can certainly measure attitudes and work ethics, their habits, all those things.  So know we will get into measuring the physical part of things, as much as you can do.  One of the things you have to limit is the physical nature of things now days because of the way the structure is set up.  We look forward to the very first day.  We will be in shoulder pads and shorts the first practice and full pads in the night practice on Saturday. We are excited, we are looking forward to it and I know our players are going to be excited to get in and just get started on Friday morning."

*On Phillip Buchanon being a part of the punt returning game and if it is too risky: *

"Well in my mind Phillip Buchanon is very much part of the returning game. I just feel like when we get ready to go to Buffalo and we think Phillip Buchanon gives us the best chance of winning as a punt returner then he will be our returner. So I would not rule anybody out. I will say this, our goal going into the offseason we felt like we had to get faster in the return position. I really think that all three players that we have worked back there in the return position have a chance to be our returner. Jerome Mathis made a lot of strides and caught an awful lot of punts and we know his speed and what he can do there. So it's a matter of getting a good look at him through out the preseason and how he can catch the ball. Phillip's a proven punt returner and he is a guy that is confident catching the ball. And if you ask Phillip he would like to return punts. And there is Reggie Swinton, he has returned both punts and kickoffs and done it with a lot of success in the league."

On the left tackle position:

"We will evaluate that everyday through camp. Obviously one of our goals on offense is we got to get our five most efficient linemen on the field. I feel we will have our best offensive line since we have been here. We will go in with Seth Wand, put Victor Riley at left tackle and let him compete with Seth. We know what Chester (Chester Pitts) can do. We worked with Chester Pitts there some in the spring. For me to stand here and tell you who our starting left tackle will be, I could not tell you but it's hard many times to evaluate your line without pads on. We were not able to have one-on-one pass rushing drills and those types of things in the spring. I thought we made a lot of strides in our footwork and I think our line really understands what we are doing in the scheme now, and I thought it has looked the best it looked during the spring. It is a whole different element when you get out, put the pads on, and you are rushing the passer. We cannot give you a specific time when we say this is our starting line up, but we will have a plan working towards that."

On the health of Jabar Gaffney:

"Jabar will be ready to go out and practice with us. I will say he will be listed as limited. We won't want him to have any physical contact early in camp. He has really made a lot of strides, he has worked hard, and I cannot tell you how long it's been since the surgery. Early on we thought that he might end up not being able to go into camp. Right now he will be able to run routes and catch the ball all those types of things. We will just be cautious of taking the physical part of the game away from him in camp until we see how he does."

On the health of Travis Johnson:

"Travis will be ready to go. We will put a brace on Travis' elbow to start camp. It is more of a precautionary measure more than anything else, but he should be ready to go out and take part in everything."

On the impact Travis Johnson can have on games:

"Well we hope, anytime you draft a guy number one you hope he can come in and make an immediate impact. Our feeling is as you look at Travis he can help us initially as a third-down substitution rusher inside. As he is doing that, he'll learn the process of playing on first and second downs. We have three veterans who are starters there and I think Travis gives a little different style lineman. I think when you look at the percentage of playing time with our lineman it wouldn't surprise me if Travis is not right in there with the rest of them."

On concerns about Travis Johnson getting signed:

"From a coaching standpoint you cannot have any concern yourself because you do not know how it is going. I really cannot give you any idea on how it is going. When he gets in, we will start coaching him. Obviously you always like to have guys there. If they aren't there, they aren't there. You move forward with the guys who are out there working."

On the outside pass rush and whether or not they can be productive without much experience:

"I will be very excited watching those two guys (Antwan Peek and Jason Babin) along with Charlie Anderson because I know how important that position is and how important those guys are for us to move forward in our defense. We drafted Jason (Babin) and we really put him in a really tough situation last year where he was making a position move. We put him as a starter on day one and we have Antwan (Peek) around here with a couple years learning the position. He has been maybe our most impactful special teams player with his speed and explosiveness. We were not able to really work him in on a lot of team things; we were cautious with his shoulder through the spring. I think he took part in all the seven-on-seven and those types of things. He will come into camp bigger and stronger than he's been. Antwan plays so hard that he normally loses weight through the course of the season. Even Charlie Anderson, he made some big plays through the course of the season. Remember him scooping the ball up at Chicago for the touchdown. He is an athletic guy. He falls in the same category. He was a defensive end at Ole Miss. You got two rookie guys out there playing and Antwan really played less than twenty percent of the time for us on defense. We got three young guys and I am really excited about these three guys. They all have athletic ability and explosiveness. I think all three of them will be much better players than they've been at any point in time. We will be young and we have to do a good job on those guys and I expect them, we have to get plays out of that position, and I think we can do it."

On players making big plays vs. consistency:

"Well you'd like to have both, but you have but you have to get some big plays out of those positions. I think Antwan (Peek) has been a guy that has had big plays on special teams and he's had some big plays rushing the passer. Charlie Anderson has had some and Jason will have some. Normally I think young guys when they get out there, one of the things we've been through the first three years, we take a lot of young guys and put them out on the field where they've played from day one where if they were with a more established team, they wouldn't make it on that field that first year. The normal procedure is you train them as special teams players and bring them more along the progression like Antwan than with Jason Babin. Antwan Peek has been in here for two years and we expect this to be the year where and steps up, goes out, and makes the same kind of plays on defense that he makes on special teams."

On the mixture of youth on the team:

"I like the mixture of our team. Look at us on offense up front we got (Steve) McKinney, and (Zach) Wiegert, who are veteran guys, Mark Bruener at the tight end position, Corey Bradford's back with us at the receiver position. Those are all veteran players, and then I think you add our young talents where we've got guys like the first year we brought Chester Pitts in. The only guy on our team that has played every play for three years. David Carr in that same class. You've got Dave and Chester going into their fourth years. Then you take Domanick Davis and Andre Johnson going into their third year. With new guys we brought in it will be interesting to see how Morency and Mathis and Hodgdon will fit into things. We've been a team where we put so many rookies out there on the field, at times it's hard to compete against guys who have been doing it for a long time. I think we will have a much better mixture this year. As I look at our defense Payne (Seth), Walker (Gary), Robaire Smith you are talking about three veteran guys on the defensive front. At outside linebacker our age is like 24, 25, and 26. And then you move out to corner the age is 24, 25, and 26. Key positions on defense. We are still extremely young but we have guys who have experience where in the past we put Dunta Robinson out there. When we opened up against San Diego he had never been on an NFL field, Jason Babin same thing. Now those guys have a year under their belts, both played 90 percent of the time last year. You bring in Phillip Buchanon. He is still young but has played for three years in the league. We got Kailee Wong who's going inside and he's a veteran guy and Morlon Greenwood who has played and started in the league. I look in the middle of our defense and we have three smart guys and Seth Payne, Kailee Wong, Morlon Greenwood. I think we got more speed and athletic ability. The strong safety position will be an interesting position to watch because we will have good competition because we have young guys. We have Glenn Earl, C.C. Brown, and Jammal Lord. I don't not know how its all going to work itself out but it will be very good competition. There are more alternatives and I think that's the way you get better. As I look at our team going into camp there will be some tougher decisions to make this year than we have had to make at this point in time. That is part of the process you go through."

On a playoff appearance this year:

"I expect to have our best team and you never know how things will go. There are so many variables. I think this is the message I will give to our team. Our book has to be on the process of being the very best team we can be each and every day. If we do that I think those things will take care of themselves. Our expectations are to have our best football team. How that works into being in the playoffs I can't tell you. I do know this, last year there you had two 10-6 teams as wild card teams in the AFC. You go over to the NFC…There were three 9-7 teams in the AFC last year who did not make the playoffs and two 8-8 teams in NFC that made the playoffs. So you are talking about stiff competition. So we can't worry and concern ourselves about that. I do know if we come in here and focus in on the process, which our players have done, and we know we have a plan I expect us to have our best football team."

On if he would rather be in the NFC:

"We can't do anything about that either."

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