Welcome. We are excited to get started and get going. The first order of business is to let you know who will be on the Physically Unable to Perform list as we start practice today. Alphabetically, it will be: Blue Adams, Willie Anderson, Greg Brooks, Jeremi Johnson, Levi Jones, Johnathan Joseph, Nate Livings, Chris Perry and David Pollack. That list will be turned in this afternoon, so you are the first to hear that. On that last, we have some players that will be ready in a short period of time, and obviously, some guys will be here a little longer and stretching it through the season. Most of them, hopefully, will be cleared up within the next two or three weeks; for some it is a week.
Johnathan Joseph is on schedule and right where he should be; with Levi we have also had good reports. Some of the of the guys didn't participate with us fully in our work this spring, and we want to have them a few days with the spring staff before we announce them ready to go. Blue Adams herniated a disc in his neck at the end of our off season program. I think that's the only one you didn't have before.
Further opening comments:ML:
We are here now to get started on football, and this is the best part of the year. We really get started by kicking off with training camp, and we anticipate a very hard working camp as usual; aggressive and physical. We've got work to do and got a lot of jobs, as I said the other day at our luncheon. We got some jobs at stake, and it's good. I'm excited that our guys are reported in great shape. We do a conditioning test as we leave the offseason program. We had some guys who were not able to participate in that, and we finished that up this morning. We had good work this morning, so we are excited about where we are as a football team. We came back in good shape, good weights, everything that way and it's been a good off-season. Now it is time to get ready for the regular season.
Q: What are the reports on Leon Hall and Marvin White?ML:
I think both guys will be here in short order. I think both players want to be here, and there is really not much maneuvering that can be done. People realize that. So I think it will be done in very short order.
Q: With injuries on the offensive line, will this be a great time to test your depth and give guys some experience?ML:
Yeah, it's not much different then how we stared last training camp and the training camp before that. It is what it is; it's a group that has had some wear on them. They come ready to play, and at this point in the year we always take it really slow on them. We know they are some big men and we don't want to wear out their joints. We want them to have their strength and everything as we go into the season, where they feel good about their bodies.
That's one thing we have learned about training camp, to make sure we come in with a lot of linemen so we can get good quality work, and we can rest our guys that have been in the previous years doing the majority of the playing. It gives experience to these younger players, where they get a good opportunity to play some good football. I think that is important and it has helped to develop our depth in the past years.
Q: Entering into your fifth year, have your expectations ever been any higher?ML:
I think my expectations have been the same each and every year. I don't think mine have been any higher. I am not stressed that we have two guys that are not here right now, or seven guys that are going under PUP for a little bit. That doesn't stress me out maybe like it would have the first couple of years. I know things will fall into place in time. We have 45 days now until Sept. 10th and it's a long period of time.
Q: You have veteran free agent signees like Kenderick Allen and Michael Myers and Ed Hartwell listed right now as second stringers. Are you sending a message that you want production?ML:
Yeah, you earn being a starter. These are veteran players who have started in the NFL, and when they signed on here, they knew they were going to have to compete for a job -- see if first of all if they make the football team, and secondly do they start or play within a rotation.
Q: Adam Kieft was a promising player early in '05 training camp, but he's been out for a long time with a knee injury. Now he's back Are you interested to see where he is?ML:
He only practiced for a week (in '05 camp), so let's not get too far. But he has worked really hard to get back on the NFL practice field. I am excited to see that for Adam. He has been very diligent in his rehab and recovery. We knew the day he was injured that is was a very severe injury. It will be fun to watch him compete for a job.
Q: The team is starting off this year with fewer distractions than last year. Carson's knee is not an issue, and the player behavior problems seem to have subsided:ML:
You guys have no questions (laughs), so it's good. I keep telling you guys not to worry about stuff that you can't worry about, and last year I kept telling you that Carson was going to be fine. The other guy (suspended LB Odell Thurman), don't worry about him because he was not going to be here and now you know. We are here to play football. You don't worry about things that are out of your grasp and can't lay your hands on. I know you have a job to do and want to get the news, but sometimes you create more news then there really is. It is about competing and playing. That is where we are right now.
Q: Deltha (O'Neal) was not around much during the offseason. Where do you think he is now? ML:
It is his prerogative, as far as the offseason work. It's voluntary. He has that opportunity, and that is the choice that he made. But I have said many times, I am excited about Deltha's opportunity in 2007. I believe that he will make the very best of it.
Q: How confident do you feel about Eric Ghiaciuc taking over Richie Braham's spot (at center)?ML:
I feel good, I think he is in a great battle there. Eric has tried to put his best foot forward. Obviously, he was the guy in the building (when Braham was injured last year), and he had the opportunity right away to take the lead. I feel good about what he has done, and in the off-season we probably did center a lot of our work around him to get him more comfortable and get the guys around him comfortable with him.
Q: Tab Perry looks sleek and racy after the offseason. What do you hope for with him? Can he claim the third WR spot?ML:
We'll go into this year like we did the last year at that spot. It's a great thing for Tab and Antonio (Chatman), it will be a great battle. There's also Reggie (McNeal), Glenn (Holt) and Benny (Brazell). We will get some guys that frankly have as much ability as the guys that we have been playing. I can count on them all the time and that is important. Hopefully they will stay healthy and it will be a good race.
Q: It's the fifth year with Carson Palmer. What are you looking for? ML:
We have seen Carson mature and evolve into not only the talented player he is, but a leader who wants to know how everybody else is doing and is touching base with other guys. He has taken responsibility when he is home in California, getting together with some of the guys. We have seen him grow a lot. Carson is so down to earth that we used to almost think it was an act, and he has never changed. He is what he is. That is part of his makeup and probably always has been. He is so unflappable. He can focus in and see right through the eye of the storm, and that is the greatest quality that he has.
I think everybody around him feels the confidence that oozes out of him, and it makes them feel good about things. So not only is he talented and extremely smart, he is a hard worker. He is a very very hard worker, a great example and a good leader for the football team.
Q: You have Carson as your leader on offense. How do you feel about the defensive side?ML:
There is no question we have guys who can lead. John Thornton and Bryan Robinson come to mind right away. Dexter Jackson is a tested veteran we got last year, and now we have new veterans like Michael Myers and Eddie (Hartwell). Also, Madieu (Williams) has had a year back of playing football to help him be the guy that he was before he was injured (in 2005). And you have to mention Justin (Smith). So I think if you look around, we have the same kind of guys there that are doing the same things.
Q: Update on Chris Perry:ML:
His status is the same as it was in the spring. He will go on the PUP, and we will make a decision as it gets closer to the season and as he finishes his rehab.