Photo by Tony Gonzales
Opening Statement: "I’m excited about the season. I’m excited about the prospects of this team. I think our guys worked extremely hard in the offseason. I thought we had a very productive offseason and I think we had a plan on how we wanted to try and attack the offseason, what we wanted to do what we wanted to accomplish through free agency and the draft. I think we’ve built this team with a good combination of veteran leadership and also some young guys that we think can be cornerstones for our team as we move forward. It’s an exciting time for us as an organization and for us as a football team, getting ready for this 2014 season."
On injuries: “I know you guys all want to know about the injury situation, so I’ll go ahead and hit that off the bat. We have some guys that aren’t going to be ready. I’ll talk first about DJ [Hayden]. DJ rolled his ankle, I guess it was the end of the first week of OTAs [organized team activities]. We did an MRI that didn’t really reveal anything of any kind of significance. He really wasn’t getting better like we thought that he would. We did another MRI at the end of mini-camp which revealed a stress fracture in his foot that he had to go and have fixed. He’s not going to be ready. I haven’t seen him today. He was out of the boot yesterday. Whether he’s in the boot or out of the boot today, I don’t know. I wish I had a time frame for when he was going to be back; I don’t know what that time frame is going to be. It’s disappointing, both for him and for me, because he’s a guy who we’re counting on being able to step up and help us this year, and he’s a young player and he needs reps. The good news is, the kid’s been working extremely hard to try to get himself back and get himself out there and ready to go, but he will not be ready for the start of camp.”
On if Hayden will start on PUP: "He’ll be PUP."
On injuries: "Nick Kasa had a hip flexor, which he recovered from, and then in his training away from the facility he reinjured that. He’ll start on PUP. I don’t expect it to be a long time, but you never really know with those soft tissue injuries, but he’ll start on PUP. C.J. Wilson hurt his hamstring training away from the building, so he’ll start training camp on the non-football injury list. I’m hopeful that he’ll be back fairly soon, but again these soft tissue injuries, you never really know. The thing you don’t want to do is get him back out there too fast, and he reinjures himself and it becomes, rather than a four or five day thing, it becomes a two week or three-week process. He’ll start on the non-football injury list. Stacy McGee, he broke his thumb in the offseason, again away from the building. He’s going to probably be out a week and then he should be able to get back out there and practice. He’ll start on non-football injury.”
On Lucas Nix: “Nix will start on PUP. He had a procedure in the offseason. I think he’s going to miss some time. I don’t know when he’s going to be available. He’ll miss some time in training camp. He’ll be PUP."
On injuries during conditioning test: “Two guys injured themselves in the conditioning test that we just did. Usama Young has a quad. It just happens. In my brief conversations with [Head Trainer] Rod [Martin], he’ll probably start on PUP. Since that just happened we haven’t made that determination. Keith McGill rolled his ankle out there, so he’ll probably start on PUP. That’s my thought what we’ll do with those guys, but we haven’t confirmed that determination yet. You’d love to be able to start with everybody healthy, and everybody on the field, but obviously injuries are a part of this game and it’s something that we have to be able to deal with and something that we’ll have to overcome. We’ll take it day by day and try to attack the rehab as fast as possible, and see when we can get those guys back out there.”
On Antonio Smith: “Antonio Smith is good to go. Again, we just got through with the conditioning test, that’s part of the physical aspect, so without really having an opportunity to sit down for any length of time and discuss that with Rod, that’s all I’m aware of from an injury standpoint.”
On Kevin Burnett: We’re going to release Kevin Burnett. He was not cleared for participation and I think with where we’re at, at the linebacker position, with some young talented players, Miles Burris and Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava, I think we feel good with that position, and we’re going to move on from Kevin Burnett.”
On if Carlos Rogers will move outside with Hayden injury: “Well, Rogers will start outside. It’ll be him and Tarell Brown running with the ones to begin with. We’re still going to work him inside in the nickel. We have a couple of guys, TJ Carrie, who we thought had an outstanding offseason, who we’re expecting to be able to come in and contribute for us. He’ll play some in the nickel as well as working with Chimdi Chekwa with the ones some when we get into nickel situations.”
On Hayden missing more time: “Well, yeah. He’s still a young player, and these young guys, they need the reps; they need the work. Is it a setback? Yeah, it’s a setback. Is it something that’s going to keep him from being able to contribute this year? I certainly hope not, but that will be determined by how fast he’s able to recover, how fast he’s able to get out on the field, and then when he’s out on the field, what’s he able to do, how he’s able to perform.”
On Hayden's mindset: “I think he’s frustrated, but I don’t think he’s in any state of despair or anything like that. I think he understands he has another challenge he has to try to overcome, and he understands the road that he has ahead of him. He’s been working hard to try to get back. The kid wants to be out there. He wants to play. It’s just been unfortunate that he’s had some injuries that have kept him from being able to do that.”
On if Sebastian Janikowski has reseolved kicking issues from last season: “I think we’ll have a better feel for that as we go through training camp, but Seabass, he’s been as committed as I’ve seen him to coming back and really being the kicker that he’s capable of being. Marquette [King] has worked extremely hard on his holding. I think they’re both more comfortable with each other. I think the real test will be once we get into some game-like situations and having those guys being able to work together, and have both of them have the confidence in each other that they can go out and perform the job that they’re asked to do. We’re going to work some other guys in as holders. We’ve been working Derek Carr. We’ve been working Matt McGloin. Both those guys will work as holders, and really what it’s going to come down to, is it’s going to come down to a comfort level with Sebastian, because really from a kicking standpoint, he has to be able to trust that the ball’s going to be put down and held in the right manner and in the right position to where he can just go out there and kick and he’s not thinking about what it looks like.”
On Matt Schaub's confidence: “I don’t have any problems with Matt Schaub’s confidence. I think he’s in a good frame of mind. I think he’s very hungry. I think he’s excited about the new opportunity. I think anytime you go into something new there’s a little bit of, maybe it’s an increased focus, an increased intensity level, because it is new. You kind of force yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit. I think he’s done that. I think he’s been very focused and very driven this offseason and I don’t think there’s any question that he’s got something that he wants to go out and prove. I think we have a lot of guys that are that way.”
On Maurice Jones-Drew: “He looks great. He looks great; he flew through the conditioning test today with no issues. He seems to be in outstanding shape and he’s another guy that is very motivated and very excited and going out and proving he’s still the same caliber of player that he’s been in the past.”
On challenge splitting carries between Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden: “I don’t really look at that as a challenge. We feel like we’ve got two good backs there that can go out and really carry us in the run game. I think it’s a good issue to have. I think we’ll let the competition play itself out. If everybody stays healthy, I think both those guys can go out and perform well for us. There’s very few bell-cow type of runners that you’re going to hand the ball to 20-30 times a game. That’s just not the way the National Football League works anymore. There’s a lot of 'running back by committee.' It’s our job to find ways to utilize these guys and let them to be productive for us.”
On weakside linebacker position: “It’s an open competition. I think as much competition as we can create in training camp, not only at that position but at all the positions…I think Miles Burris had a really good offseason. He’s fully healthy. He looks great. I think if both those guys can stay healthy, I think that’s going to be a great competition to watch.”
On excitement about personnel: “I feel as good as I’ve felt coming into a season. I think we’ve got more depth on our football team than we’ve had at any point up to this point. I think injuries are part of the game, so at some point you’re going to have to rely on, count on, your backup players to come in and be starters for you. So the more you can build your team up from the back end, the stronger of a football team you’re going to be because in a 16-game season. The best football teams usually are the deepest football teams.”