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Q and A: WR Anthony Gonzalez

Wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez met with media during the opening week of training camp, discussing a number of topics, including the differences for him in this third season compared to his first.


**Gonzalez Answers Questions At Camp


Question: How did it go on the first day of training camp?

Answer: "The first day wasn't the best day, but luckily we have 16 more, I think. Just getting your feet wet again and getting back at it is always fun, so (we'll) get back at it tomorrow, put the pads on and run around some more."

Q: Do you approach this year a little differently than you have in the past?
A: "From a training standpoint, I don't know that you alter too much. I mean, if you felt like you were in really good shape and you felt like what you did was working from a conditioning standpoint, I think you stay there. So I didn't change anything there, but there was a lot more film in the off-season. I watched all of (Marvin Harrison's) games from 2002, the one he set the record for receptions. That was one thing I didn't do the year before, obviously. It was more mental than it was physical, I think, but there were still some differences physically."

Q: How nice was it having No. 18 (Peyton Manning) out there with you because that did not happen last year?
A: "It makes a big difference. It's amazing. I mean, obviously (Jim) Sorgi did a great job for us last year, but Peyton is our captain, offensive captain and unquestionably our leader. To have him back there this year as opposed to last year, I think it's only going to help us in the long run. If you remember, we started out a little slow, but it's just great to have him back."

Q: Is there a noticeable difference in the way that you do things this year than when you were a rookie?
A: "There are quite a few differences. Rookie year, your main focus, at least mine, was more not to screw up than to do anything other than that. Now it kind of shifts the older you get and you kind of go with now the focus is, 'I'm trying to make plays,' as opposed to, 'I'm trying to not screw up.' I don't know which mindset is more productive but, at the end of the day, it's more comfortable now in my third year around."

Q: Is there a change as far as your hunger to play football? Has it increased as you've gotten more experienced and as you've learned more about what this offense is capable of doing?
A: "I think so. The neat thing about football is I don't think anybody really figures it out. I mean there's a few guys, obviously Peyton has seemed to have figured it out, Reggie seems to have figured it out; but in terms of not learning anything, I bet Peyton (would) say he learns something every day he comes out. The neat thing about football is you can always, no matter how good or bad you are, improve on something. That's kind of one of the things I like about it. Every day is different. You never know."

Q: You've been able to play the slot, the split-out and been used to some different plays and positions. In the long run, has it really been beneficial to your understanding of the passing game?
A: "No question. Playing all the positions is probably the quickest way to learn the offense entirely, I would say. The way our system is, everybody can play every position but the reality is you tend to focus on the one you know you're going to be playing, so having the opportunity my rookie year and then again a little bit last year to play both outside and inside has done nothing but help my understanding, my learning really."

Q: Was it intimidating with everything that you had to know?
A: "Not really. I always think you learn the playbook when you want to learn the playbook. I think if you decide you're going to sit down and learn the thing, it's going to happen for you. It's kind of always the mindset I've had. I remember in college, I got redshirted and I knew half the plays but not all of them. Then as soon as you find out you're playing you go, 'Oh, I better learn this whole thing.' It's kind of that same mindset here I think."

Q: How do you help younger players, say some of the receivers, that might not have the experience you have?
A: "Experience is the best teacher, no question about that. Having a veteran that helps and is willing and able to answer questions always helps as well. I think Austin Collie does a good job of asking questions. He asks a lot of questions, which is kind of how I was when I came in. I think that will only help him in the long run."

Q: Who did you ask primarily when you were a rookie?
A: "I asked Peyton (Manning). I asked anybody who would to listen to me. I wasn't going to discriminate who I asked questions to because I knew my understanding was very little and all the vets understanding was pretty sufficient."

Q: Describe what it is like to play in such a high-powered offense?
A: "I think one of the most fun things about this offense for a receiver is you know you're going to get whatever you deserve. If you're getting open, making plays, (and) making catches, you're going to get more. You're going to get more catches. You're going to get more balls thrown your way, more opportunities. If you're not, then you're not. I remember Cris Carter told me that before the draft. I saw him at dinner one night and he said, 'You're going to love the NFL.' I said, 'Why's that?' and he said, 'Because you get exactly what you deserve.' And he's right; I mean he's absolutely correct. That's how it works in this league."

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