On his first impression of Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan:
“When I was at home and I heard about the changes and everything that was coming to the team I was excited. Me and [Texans wide receiver] Andre Johnson, we’re good friends. We rolled together in college and he was my roommate on the road for the games, and just to see his success last year, and the ways they used him. The first thing he told me when we was getting his coach was, ‘Man, I remember back in ’05 when he was my receivers coach. We used to talk about you all the time, and some of the things they were doing with you over there. So I look forward to him coming over there and doing the same thing with you.’
On what Andre Johnson told him about the offense:
“We talked a lot about a lot of things, and it wasn’t one or two things that he said. He said they just watch the game very closely and know that the guys of our caliber, when it comes to being one of the best receivers, or being that receiver that’s going to get a lot of attention, they know how to move you around and get you to the point to where you don’t have to always worry about being on that island and being out there.
“I used to be out there sometimes just wanting help. I get a cover-2 shell or something, and there’s no way out of it, I just have to sit out there and play my part. And do what was best for the team, and that was take the guys away and hope somebody else makes a play.
“Just watching [Andre Johnson] play, I used to make calls all the time like, ‘How are you getting this wide open?’ ‘Dre will tell you, I used to scratch my head at night watching highlights, ‘Man you KNOW he’s getting the ball.’ He just told me they’re very creative. They’re creative with some of the things that they did offensively to help him to find a way to get open and get the ball. With that all said, I just thought back on what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard and just look forward to seeing some of those things around here.”
On the importance of wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell having played in the NFL:
“I think it’s a plus for us as receivers to have Keenan be our coach, because when it comes to this game some of the best players are the best coaches. I would watch his film and be able to be coached by just watching his film; you don’t have to say a word to me. Some of us pick [things] up like that. You don’t have to say a word to me, I can just sit back and see some of the things that he did as a player and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this more, I’m going to do that more.’
And now you have that coach, now you have him coming in being able to instruct you in that form, in that way. I think it’s a plus for us especially with the young guys that we have, the guys that need to get on the level we all want them to get on. I think it’s going to be great just because he’s going to be that guy that [will] be able to give it to us raw.
“He played the game, he knows how to be the best in the game, and he played the game for a long time. I was just playing with him a couple years ago here. Knowing that he’s seen some of the things that I can do, and some of the things that these other guys can do … he’s already drilling us now telling us what we need to do better, what he wants to see from us, and that’s great. I like when a coach can tell me to put everything to the side, who you are, what you do, how you’ve done in this league, and say, ‘I’m your coach, I’m going to tell you when you’re right, I’m going to tell you when you’re wrong, and that’s how it is.’ I respect people like that.”
On Clinton Portis:
“I just say, ‘Expect whatever you’re going to expect from Clinton.’ One thing I noticed about Clinton over the years is, you can only push a guy so far, and he’s one of those guys that year after year he proves to you what kind of back he is.
“Every year is not going to be perfect. He had a bumpy year where he didn’t perform to the caliber of what he has, and you can say because of injury, and when you have a year like that you have it in the back of your head that you want to come out and prove everybody wrong, or show everybody what you’re made of.
“He’s one of the best in this game. He’s done so much with less. He hasn’t had the best o-line, we all know that, he hasn’t had this, he hasn’t had the best passing game around, we all know that. And for him to go out and put the numbers he put up every year, you have to give him his credit, which I don’t think is always given because of the kind of person he is and some of the other things he does.
“But, with that all said I think Clinton is going to come out and just be him, and do what he do. I feel like he’s always a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder because there’s always something out there said about him that he reads into, and he doesn’t like. But, they’re going to get him going some kind of way and he’s going to come out and play good football.”
On if Coach Mike Shanahan is trying to create a competition at all positions:
“Well whatever he’s doing, he’s doing a great job. He said that one thing he wants, he wants to win. And one thing he’s going to want are guys around that want to win. He’s going to get the players in here, and that means that by him getting those players in here we should be able to win. Whether you’re creating competition, that’s the way this game is played anyways. You’re not going to sit back and say, ‘Hey I got it all made.’ Bring the guys in. Have a battle. That’s the way you win games anyways. You have the best guys out there on the field. Whatever he’s doing, I think he’s doing a good job.”
On how it is different from an organizational stand point with Mike Shanahan as the head coach:
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and just say the last group that was here was just ….. I enjoyed Coach Zorn. I enjoyed his staff. I feel like we learned a lot from them. I just feel like right now some of the things that have been done here now are coming from our coach himself.
“That’s the attitude I get now. Anything that’s being done is being called in from upstairs and ‘I want this done.’ When you have a coach that’s that hands on with a team, then you know he is trying to take this team to the right place.
“When you have someone that’s here but he can’t say this-and-that and do this-and-that, you don’t get what you want. You get what we had. I just feel like Coach Shanahan, he’s one of those guys that if he’s going to be here, he’s going to be here to say that’s what I want for my team, this is how I want it done and that’s what I see right now.”
On if he has seen a difference in owner Daniel Snyder:
“I haven’t seen him but you never see him all the time. I haven’t seen him. I haven’t talked to him. I am pretty sure he is going to be the same guy.”
On how the veterans feel about having to compete for a spot on the team:
“That’s every year, though. I feel like every year you step on the field you don’t sit out there and say ‘I got this made, I got it made in the shade, this is my job.’ You feel like you have to go out there and compete because every year in this league there is someone new coming in. You’re going to have some of those guys that you say, ‘Hey, they’re our guys. They are the guys that have done it and they have done it for this long.’ I feel like it’s still a level of competition every year you step on that field because that guy who played behind you or that guy who plays on the side of you, he wants what you had or he wants to be that guy that they can call on. So, it’s always that way anyway. I don’t sense any difference when it comes to that.”
On if there is a difference between the amount of work and effort that is being put into the conditioning program this year as compared to previous years:
“The one thing I can see about the offseason workouts now, the whole thing seems a lot [more] organized. It’s better organized. You can see the guys coming in on time even from the training room. [Head athletic trainer Larry Hess] is doing a great job with making sure we are on time. If you’re not on time, you got to fill in the next spot. There is no coming in five minutes late, a minute late and saying you’re going to just jump into the treatment or the workout or whatever.
“You have to be on time, and that’s the thing that you see an instant change in right there. I think that can take us a long way too with just everyone being accountable for some of the little things. When it comes down to this game, it’s the little things that’s not seen and not done that really cause you to be in the situation that we were in last year. You can play good football and not win games, and that’s some of things I have seen around here for a lot of years because of some of the little things we let slide away.”
On where he thinks wide receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas are now in their development as compared to the beginning of last season:
“I feel like last year that was their year to really take over what was given to them. With all that they had last year, now they come into a year with just knowing that ‘Hey, I had that year to start, I had that year to get all of them games under my belt.’
“Now it’s up to them to just play football. I hope they just tune you all out and don’t listen to you all and just play football. That is some of the stuff that gets young people, young players, they kind of listen. It’s not wrong because like I tell them, ‘That’s [the media's] job: to talk. Let them talk. Regardless of what it is, right or wrong, they’re going to say it, they have to. Be their friend and maybe it won’t sound so bad. Just say hi to them. Don’t be mad at them all the time.’
“I had some of the worst things said to me when I was in New York. I was mad with them every day. It’s just seemed like it became worse and worse. I was like what do I got to do. What I have learned, to be honest with you, it’s your job. It’s their job to be able to give the world their intake on what’s going on and what’s needed or what we should be doing. It’s your job, as a player to just go out there and do your job, play football.”
On his decision to be at Redskins Park for the offseason:
“It wasn’t a big decision. Same thing I did when Coach Zorn came in. You want to be around the new staff, you want them to get to know you, and you want to see what is going on. When you get to the point in your career to when you get up into those years where you just want to make sure that wherever you’re at, you are doing the best thing for you. It wasn’t really hard. Every other year I swapped. I might stay down one year, I might not. This was a year that I felt like I needed to be around, new staff, and new coaches. You want to learn everything. I don’t want to be away from the learning sessions that we have as far as the receivers, picking up the plays and learning the new formations and stuff like that. I just wanted to be here just so I can get ahead on some of the stuff that I might miss out on if I wasn’t.”
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