HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (general comments) [
"Good morning. I just wanted to start out with a few opening remarks. We actually had our first Organized Team Activities, where we were actually out on the field with the entire group today. It's no different than we did it last year, but I'll explain it to you a little bit about how we do it. We have what we call coaching sessions, which are sessions where we incorporate some of the conditioning aspects, but the coaching sessions also take a portion of the morning focusing on a schematic thing with the coaches. We divide up, with the offense and defense working in separate areas, and we usually come back together and finish the drill with some conditioning work. Then we have our team sessions that we do probably every other day for the next two weeks. We'll actually go through team sessions, where we work through the schematics with both the offense and defense working against one another. It's more like a jogging through session to try to familiarize everybody with their responsibilities and then we intermingle those in-between, our strength and training sessions. At a little bit later juncture, we'll have what we call our summer school practice sessions which are probably more what you're accustomed to seeing in terms of a regular practice, and those will begin on the first of June and we'll go three days, off one day, three days of mini-camp, off one day and then three days to finish it up. We think we can get some pretty good vital work during that time.
"I know you're probably wondering about participants. Out of the 88 guys presently on the roster, there were 87 here today. The only one absent is Reggie Wayne, which has not been unusual the last few years. Those guys from the University of Miami love working out with one another. He's been doing that for quite some time but he comes back in great shape and he's been around here long enough that he knows the system. We've had a great response and guys have been performing extremely well.
"The other facet I think we'd have some questions about is the status of Tom (Moore) and Howard (Mudd), which I think has been covered in terms of their retirement. They are retired, obviously, for all of the reasons that have been stated due to their situation with the pension which just developed during the spring. Right now where we are, and that's one of the things that I think is great about our team, we've always wanted to deal with the here and now. We've bumped Clyde (Christensen) up to some of the duties of the offensive coordinator and we've also done the same thing with Pete Metzelaars, who will take over the offensive line duties. We've bolstered our staff a little bit in terms, and we planned to do this anyway but it kind of worked out well. We have two interns in our program that will help. A wide receiver intern, Ron Johnson, will help Clyde Christensen with the receivers. Also, Frank Winters, who certainly had a long extended career in the NFL, most recently I think with the Green Bay Packers as a center, he will help and assist Pete in those areas. The great thing about it is the fact that our team has always been great in terms of transitions. Year-in and year-out, I think a lot of people have taken notice that we may have a guy injured and it is required that someone step in and do the job for him. You can go back for quite some time and see that we typically make those transitions fairly well. Tom and Howard are two of the best coaches that have ever coached in this game at this level but nevertheless I think you'll find that the two guys we have who are assuming those duties have been in this system and know this system extremely well and will function quite well within it. Even more so, talking about transitions, overall I think our team has responded extremely well with my transition into the head coaching position. They have been attentive, they've been vibrant, they've been enthusiastic, the effort has been outstanding, and I think we will continue to get better. That's our goal and aim for this next month, to focus in on where we are here and now and to get better."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on players possibly missing OTA dates and their importance)
"I would assume but certainly we obviously rather have everybody here. We think this is a place where you can get better. It's designed that way. It's an atmosphere that is conducive to success. We haven't done anything any differently than we have in previous years but we certainly encourage response. Our response has always been good over the years. When you look back on it, it has been pretty consistent."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on former head coach Tony Dungy's philosophy that if you do more work in the summer then training camp doesn't have to be as long)
"Our philosophy really hasn't changed in that regard but that is accurate. We feel if you have enough guys here to install the system and put it in place it will allow us to come maybe a little bit later to camp were we don't necessarily have as long a camp as some other teams. So, we still try to fit within that philosophy."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if he thinks the veteran players will struggle with any possible changes from Tom Moore's offense to Clyde Christensen's)
"I do not. I do not see anything except for a very smooth transition, much like anything else, if we can focus on right where we are right now I think you have a better chance of getting better rather than looking down the road into the future. There are always some adjustments to be made but for the most part within our system it has been the same. There hasn't been really any changes to it. We have a number of guys that are veteran guys that do a great job with the understanding of it, the implementation of it and the execution of it. We anticipate that that will continue."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if it is too early to anticipate Tom and Howard may or may not come back in some capacity)
"Yeah, I would say it is. That is one of the things that we are trying to stay away from. We have a job to do but I think it has been mentioned and reported and that certainly is a possibility but we're not sure. We have to move ahead. We have to look at where we are and try and find ways to get better."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on injured players progressing through the offseason)
"We've certainly been pleased with their progress. We had a few guys on that list (injured list) with Mike Hart, Marlin Jackson, Bob Sanders and on down the list. All those guys are progressing nicely. They're doing a good job in terms of rehab and their commitment to rehab. All across the board I think we can probably make a fairly blanket and general statement that they are making progress and in good shape right now.
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on OT-Charlie Johnson's injury)
"Charlie had an injury he incurred in the weight room and the exact sort of medical terms I couldn't give to you but he actually tore a bit of his pec muscle that had to be repaired. But we anticipate that he will be back in a short period of time. Fully expect that (back in time for training camp)."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on importance of OTAs for development of first-and-second-year players)
"Extremely important. That's kind of been the lay of the land around here. We anticipate that there will be a number of guys that help us, a number of guys that are called upon to play. I think I mentioned previously that we typically average 12 guys in that rookie class that participate for us, but last year we had 18. This year who knows what is going to happen, but certainly you're probably going to have at least 12 guys that are going to have to play for us in a prominent role. So, this portion of our preparation is extremely important and that is why we try to make certain that these young guys get an opportunity to hear the install, get taught our entire schematics, defensively, offensively and our kicking game. They hear it five times. They heard it once at our rookie mini-camp, they'll hear it starting this week, obviously, they start over again during our mini-camp phase. Then, they'll also hear it in what we call rookie workouts just before we get started at training camp. Then, they hear it a fifth time in training camp. So, they get pretty saturated with that information. That's helped us over the years."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on bringing DT-Ed Johnson back to the team)
"It's one of those situations were we felt Ed's been out of work for about nine months and he's taken a number of steps to get himself back on track. He's remorseful about the mistake he made. We felt that we should give him a second chance and another opportunity. In terms of what he is able to do for our defense, I think it has been proven that even his first year he played a pretty significant role in our front. We anticipate that if everything goes according to plan and he can do the things that he's doing now and continue on this path, he'll be able to help us down the road."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the defensive line's depth)
"We have pretty good, solid depth at this point. We're hoping that's going to continue. You know how difficult it is in this game to get your team to opening day, but right now, today, starting out, our depth is better than we've been."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the transition of new Defensive Coordinator Larry Coyer)
"It appears that things are going very well. He's an enthusiastic guy, 65 years old, I think is his age. But he's one of those guys who says he's 45 going on 65. He's one of those guys with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy. We were out there working today and it was a pretty smooth transition. The guys seemed to be able to fall in line, obviously, with the coaching staff he's been working with for quite some time now. We certainly feel good about the changes we've made, the adjustments we've made here and there, that we think are going to benefit us greatly. He's fit right in and has done a remarkable job of bringing some cohesion to that group because you have a lot of smart men that have been within the system with John (Teerlinck, defensive line coach), Murph (Mike Murphy, linebacker coach), Rod (Perry, special assistant to the defense), Alan (Williams, defensive backs coach) and Bill (Teerlinck, defensive assistant coach). He's done a nice job of brining them all together and they're working well."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on new special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski)
"He's got a lot of energy and enthusiasm. He's one of those guys that doesn't need a microphone out on the field. His voice will carry but he loves what he is doing. He's a great tactician and strategist, but he's also a very good fundamentalist in terms of technique. So, I think they will enjoy his energy and it seems they are already adapting to it, adjusting with him and he's doing a nice job so far."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on comparing QB-Peyton Manning's offseason this year with last year)
"If you know him, whatever phase he's in, he's in it 100%, and it's an intense situation. So, even during his rehab it was an intense rehab. He attacks everything the same way. So, although it may have been a little different for him, the intensity level which he displayed did not change. This year it's the same. Obviously, he's back on his regular schedule and doesn't have to deal with as many problems that he had in the (last) offseason, but he's coming along extremely well at his old pace. He works extremely hard and you know, probably, the thing we'd like to be able to do with him is pull those reins in, but that's just not part of his nature. He just has an unbelievable work ethic and great work habits but he's good for our young guys to see how hard he works, how dedicated he is, how committed he is. And not only Peyton, I think, you can see that with a number of our older guys with Jeff Saturday, you can see it with Ryan Diem, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. You can go right down the line. We're blessed with some veteran leadership that do a tremendous job of setting the pace for our younger guys."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on do you ever take QB-Peyton Manning for granted)
"Never. Never. I don't take anything or anybody for granted to be honest with you. We've been blessed all the way around from top-to-bottom and we're just hoping that continues."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if he thinks OG-Ryan Lilja will be back this year)
"We anticipate it. He's working well and making good progress. He's further along then he's ever been. I was talking to him the day before yesterday and he's been over in the pool doing some explosive exercises and things of that nature. He's running a little bit more, a little bit more weight-bearing issues and things of that nature he's been able to overcome. So, he's coming along. He's really progressing. So, we're hopefully optimistic."