Question: The offensive line needs time to get together. It seems like it's a little bit behind because of a lot of reasons. How is it coming together?
Answer: "I think it's coming together pretty well. The one good thing is you've had most the young guys taking all the reps the first week...Four of the five starters from last year were out, so we had a number of young guys who stepped in and got a lot of reps they probably wouldn't have normally gotten. That doesn't do anything but make us a better team. Once guys get in, they make their own mistakes (and) realize what they have to do different. I think it's been a benefit."
Q: Maybe moving forward, kind of get it solidified, who's going to be where?
A: "The next few weeks will really do that for us. You will see how these young guys are progressing. You will see them in game action. As tough as it is out here when the lights come on, that's when you really want to see guys step forward. That's what we'll see over the next few weeks."
Q: How much of a challenge will it be for Anthony Castonzo and/or Ben Ijalana to earn an opening line-up slot on opening day?
A: "You have to go play against another team. That's the one thing you have to see, how they match up against each and every other end, what they look like when you're going through checks and different progressions and when you go into audibles, all those things you haven't gotten into in the first week (of camp.) Things are pretty basic right now. We are beginning to add onto the foundation, but you haven't seen any of those kinds of reactions as of yet."
Q: How much positive fan reaction have you heard from fans appreciative of your work during the lockout?
A: "I've heard it quite a bit. Sometimes I think the media has made me a bigger piece than I really was. I'm very glad that we are all playing football. That was the intention the whole time, but there's a lot of men who put a great deal of time and effort into this thing. We're just glad to be playing."
Q: How much do you need or want to play on Saturday?
A: "As much as they'll let me play. That's always in (Coach Jim) Caldwell's hands. He makes his mind up early, and he doesn't change it. Even last week in practice, he (said), 'This is what the plan is.' He doesn't deviate from his plan. I'm sure he has it in mind. He doesn't tell us though until Thursday or Friday. He never gives us kind of a clue on what he's thinking. He just decides when he is ready."
Q: Do the rookie running backs (Chad Spann and Darren Evans, both from Indianapolis) have an uphill battle making the roster?
A: "I'm excited to see both those guys. I thought they both did well when we had the goal-line and short-yardage (drills in practice )a few days ago. It will be interesting to see. There's nothing better than having two Indianapolis kids playing on your team, all the fans that followed them through their high school and college careers. It's exciting to see how they pan out."
Q: On the possibility of having a short-yardage, goal-line back in rookie running back Delone Carter.
A: "The more the merrier for short-yardage and goal-line (backs). That's a tough job. We've got to get push. We need a back who when he hits the hole can drive through. The way running backs go right now, you take so many shots you need as many as you can get back there who are effective and can produce."
Q: What has it been like in camp working with quarterback Curtis Painter?
A: "Curtis has done a great job. He has really in the past four or five days has really stepped to the forefront and done a really good job. I've been impressed the checks he's made, the reads he's made. He's done a very good job of operating our offense. I'm real proud of Curtis. I think he's had a lot of pressure put on him by the outside, but really he's done a fantastic job. (I'm) excited to see how he does in St. Louis."
Q: On if he has heard from other players and coaches on the hug with Robert Kraft at the end of the lockout negotiations?
A: "A lot of fans (joked), 'How can you hug a Patriot?' I think everybody understood the significance of the moment, being the passing of (Kraft's wife) Myra. What a big impact that had on the negotiations. She asking him to keep coming to the meetings and just how important it was to she and her family just went a long way for me. I think that's what that moment was about. I'm glad people appreciate it, but that's really what it was for."