HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
Let me kind of give you an idea of where we are right now where we stand. We have a voluntary report this evening between five and seven and 95% of players already came in and got their condition test out of the way this morning. We have a handful of guys that will test in the morning. We resume meetings in the morning then will be on the field for the first practice tomorrow at 3:30. We're going to practice just about everyday this week, at least at 3:30. I have 11 practice sessions between now and kickoff against the Bills in the HFG. I feel like that's going to be plenty to get us ready to play. I'm especially pleased right now with the condition level of this football team, the commitment. I talked about this last year how important that was. They've pushed themselves even further. Their condition tests were excellent this morning. With that being said, we're looking forward to this. Going to be a little different this year, from this standpoint. We're preparing to play a game. We're going to do two things over the course of this week. We're getting ready to play a game, but we're going to do the things you need to do for training camp. For example: our younger players, our rookies, haven't had pads on. They've been here for six or eight OTA's and so this is going to be an early quick evaluation time for them, if you will. We have to get them up to speed. At the same time, we're going to get ready to play this game. We're going to take this game serious and I couldn't think of a better way to start camp than to get ready for a preseason game. So, with the additional preseason game, there will be a lot more opportunity for the staff to evaluate the players, the younger players, at different positions. But as I speak, I'm pleased. I think the health of the team is good. I think the only person that will not be able to participate early at camp is Kevin Mawae. He's doing great. He participated in condition tests, but isn't at 100 percent with the tricep yet. Everybody else should be ready to go. Jevon was a question mark as we left. He ran today, and he feels good. So we got a healthy team as we enter our camp.
(on the contract status of Kenny Britt)
You know I talked to Mike and Vin they're working and communicating and getting closer. So what that means, from a time-table I can't tell you, but they are getting closer. Some of the guys are starting to get slotted around. When I hear getting closer, things are good.
Of the injury concerns I have going into camp? I mean I'm not concerned about Kevin. Kevin knows his body. He's been there. He's done it forever. Kenny on the other hand, had some difficulties finishing the practice sessions at the OTA's with the hamstring. So he's been gone. We've been told he's been working. But we know how that is. So you know he could come in and be behind. We're prepared to have him step in and go 100 hundred percent, but we're also prepared to back down and bring him along so we don't set him back. It's important that he's in. The more time he misses, the further he's going to fall behind, both physically, and intellectually… and emotionally… it's a big change for him and for rookies to go from a training camp at that level to this level.
(On Britt's presence tomorrow)
They said things we're going good. So I won't rule out that possibility.
(on schedule of training camp and experience)
Yeah it is. I think I mentioned this to you before. I don't take the training camp schedule from last year and cross out 08 and put in 09 and hand it out. You know as a staff we start from scratch based on the needs and adjust, and it's subject to change as well. It can change next week. It could change the following depending on the needs. But this team is ready to go to work. They have high expectations. They've worked well this off-season and ready to come in and compete.
(on starters returning and fighting for open positions)
We get paid to play the best players, and that's what we're going to do. We've got 10 of 11 starters returning on defense. If we have a younger player for example that's making a move, that is out performing a veteran player, then they're going to play. But there is a comfort level that we are returning a lot of starters. There is also a comfort level knowing that we have some younger players that have been here for a year or two that are improving that are getting ready to make a move and push for starting jobs but can provide assistance as backup roles if needed and also assistance on special teams.
(on Leroy Harris' immediate role)
Well Leroy Harris is our starting center right now with Kevin not practicing. So I mean that is how he finished up. He's coming back there. We'll have to see how this thing pans out with Kevin. But he's our starting center at camp.
(on handling reps with Kerry Collins)
We're going to give him the reps that he needs. He's in great shape. We're going to work him with the other starters on offense and get him the reps he needs. As far as the time of the game, I haven't really gotten to that point but he's not going to play an awful a lot. You know two series, three series, those kind of things. You know Vince will get a lot of work, Pat will get some work and try to get Alex involved as well.
(on differences with Kerry and OTA's)
Well he's obviously been here everyday, on the non-OTA days and the off weeks, he's here working with the receivers. Not that he didn't have a great understanding of what we we're doing, but he has a better understanding, he and Mike are on the same page. He's making the throws that he needs to make. I think he has, he's going to expect more out of the guys around him. With the exception of Kenny, and maybe Jared who potentionally could be playing when Kerry is in the ballgame, those other guys who are experienced now need to do the right things and get to the right spot. That's important to him that they do that.
(on Mawae's return date)
I can't give you a date. I can't give you an expected return. It could be Monday, it could be three weeks from Monday, I don't know. But he's doing well.
(on different preseason schedule with five games)
No, I think we will get through this one. We will play a lot of players in this week. This is an honor to be a part of. This game in Canton, a week from Sunday. It is a privilege to play in this game, particularly as it relates to Mr. Adams and what Mr. Adams has done and what Mr. Adams has accomplished and this being the 50th anniversary of his franchise. So, we are going to go up there and approach this in such, a way. We will showcase our good players. We want play them as long as possible. We want to play this game to win this game. I will then in Week 2 which in essence will become Week 1 for us and we will get back on our normal schedule.
(on treating the other four games differently because of the Hall of Fame game)
Now with the exception being the fifth and final preseason game is Thursday as you are well aware of. We play the following Thursday so there may be some exceptions there. There is a significant difference in playing Thursday and then the following Sunday as compared to Thursday to Thursday. Because when we come back that day, we are game-planning. We have to do the final cutdown and we'll get more details when we get closer to that and that is going to be a challenge for us. It may change our approach in that fifth and final preseason game.
(on adding the derrick logo to the uniform)
I've seen the shirts and I've seen the uniforms. It's going to bedifferent but it's going to be exciting and I think the players are excited about it.
(on the excitement level for camp)
This is year, one for me. Yeah, already, I'm ready to go and excited about it and the players are too. Every year, every team's different, every year is different, but this is going to be a fun camp. They're excited about it, they're excited about some of the changes. I think on the schedule, you have gotten we were going to go to L.P. on Tuesday night. We've changed that and we are going to stay here on Tuesday night and open it to the public. We've got a little minor change there so we've got an opportunity to include the fans for the first couple weeks so it will be a very exciting time for us.
(on LenDale White's conditioning)
He was not part of the test today so he will run tomorrow. And he was not the only one there. There was a handful, maybe a dozen or two dozen players that didn't participate.
(on fewer two-a-day practices)
It's a by-product of their commitment to the offseason program. We don't need to bang everyday, twice a day. What we need to do is get ready, work on the specific things, the game related things, the situation things that we need to work on.
(on the first full pad practice)
We are going to put shoulder pads on Sunday and we'll have shoulder pads on through the better part of the week.
(on other players starting on the PUP list this season besides Kevin Mawae)
Just Kevin. We haven't really discussed how we are going to classify the injury and how we are going to start with him. We will discuss that tonight.
(on other options besides putting him on PUP)
We'll PUP him or not PUP him. Either case, it counts against the 80.
(on Vince Young's attitude)
I want him to have fun again and make plays. To do that, you have to know what to do and how to do it. It's really pretty simple. I want him to have fun again and I'm confident he will do that.
(on Steve McNair's death lingering)
I don't believe so. I didn't have any intention of discussing it with them. They were all touched. I've seen about every one of them since the tragedy. But I believe so. We will honor Steve. We're still discussing the manner we will go about that this season, but we will. I don't believe so, no. I think in a couple cases we know how close Vince [Young] was to Steve and how Vince was effected by that. Vince is mature enough to know that he can take something as difficult as that experience was and turn that into a positive. Personally, I hope that will be the case for him.
(on talking with Vince at any length)
I met with Vince down in Hattiesburg, at the service in Hattiesburg.
(on pitfalls for rookies)
It will relate to the interior guys specifically because they have not, the rookie offensive linemen and defensive linemen have not had the pads on. So that's different. That is going to be a transition period for them and that is the reason for the pads this week. But beyond that, no, we are going to, I believe this class got caught up and that becomes in retrospect, it becomes the most important part of the offseason program because as the rookies come in like we talked about, they are nowhere near where the veterans are the day they get there and they use that six weeks worth of time to get caught up and I believe they got caught up. Most of the rookies will condition test tomorrow. I don't think we are going to have any issues. As long as you get them caught up from a condition stand-point, they will be able to compete.
(on Steve McNair expressing a desire to possibly get into coaching prior to his death)
I don't how much, had things worked out. I had that discussion with Steve at the softball game, so that was clearly open to him. It wasn't a commitment to come in and be a 24 hour coach, it was to stay around the game again and see if he wanted to get into coaching. We'll never know how much time he was going to plan to spend with Vince, but they were close and I know Vince has had numerous conversations with Steve over his short career.
(on Michael Vick playing in the NFL again)
We'll have to wait and see. I'm reading reports that you're reading that he says he's close, so we'll have to wait and see.
(on having interest of Michael Vick playing here)
No, I'm pleased with our quarterback situation here.
(on being opposed to Michael Vick playing here if a player gets hurt)
I guess we'd have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
(on Michael Vick playing another position besides quarterback)
Michael Vick's a quarterback and he proved that early in his career.
(on his USO tour of the Middle East last month)
The whole experience dates back to shortly after the season was over when I was contacted by the commissioner's office, along with the other coaches about going. It didn't take any of us much time to think it over, we all basically agreed within days. We felt the opportunity would be one of the ultimate privileges of a lifetime to go over and represent the NFL and have the ability and honor to go and be able to meet with the service men and women. The experience was a broad variety of experience to be able to travel with General Odierno, to spend time with the Vice President, to meet the service men and women on bases in different parts of the country. It was just a tremendous experience. As I mentioned, we got a year's worth of education in about five or six days. It was really incredible. The thing that all of us want to take back with us was very, very simple, we're not hearing what's going on over there. The morale is extraordinary. There are soldiers, service men and women out there because they want to be there. They want to go back and they take a great deal of pride in what's going on over there. They feel like the job is almost finished there.
(on reactions that standout)
Just the irony of signing an autograph for a soldier from Tennessee for his parents who lived in Brentwood, but the hard part about it was signing it in Baghdad. That was special. There were plenty of terrible towels in the Persian Gulf, they must be manufactured somewhere, some manufacturing plant because there were plenty of them.
(on if he danced on the terrible towel)
No, I didn't nor did Bill.
(on Steelers fans with the towel)
They were just confident. The Steelers fans over there, they were just very confident about the opener. I apologize in advance if it didn't turn out the way they would have liked it to.
(on what bases they visited)
We went to Mosul, Kirkuk and we were trying to get into Crete, but we were pretty much grounded after that because of the sand storm so we stayed there in the green zone of the base in Baghdad.
(on feeling safe in Baghdad)
The entire time. I think when you're spending time with the Vice President and you're traveling with the general, you've got reason to believe you're going to be safe.