Re: Closing in on 30,000 passing yards:
I just found out. I’ve never been about individual goals. It’s all about the team for me. To me, those are things I’ll look back on when I’m done, a little bit after the season, but mostly when I’m done with my career. I’ll look back and think about how great it might have been.
Re: The offense:
There is always going to be room for improvement. I don’t know if we’ll ever be satisfied with where we’re at, but for this time of year and for where we’re at, I think we’re in a good spot.
Re: Being under the radar a little bit:
A little bit? We’re very under the radar. That’s fine with me. I like being the hunter.
Has your approach to an opener changed over the years, or is it pretty much what it’s always been?
Yeah, pretty much. The first game you always get a little bit of jitters and nerves, regardless of what year it is. Playing at home, you want to come out and get a good taste in your mouth and let the fans have something to really get excited about.
You guys have come off Super Bowl years and non-playoff years. Is it ever different because of what happened the year before?
No. For some people maybe, but not for me. The approach has to be the same, regardless of what happened the year before. You have to approach the first game and every game like it’s the biggest. I think the thing about the first game of the year is it sets the tempo. It usually should set the tempo for your season. That being said, me personally and us a team, we want to come out and set an early tempo.
Re: Running back situation:
I think our running backs will be great. I’m excited to see what
Were you surprised about Jonathan Dwyer being cut?
That’s a perfect example of how this is a business. I don’t know what the decision was, what happened, all those little details. But you never like to lose a teammate. That’s a brother but you wish him the best, his family and hope that everything goes good for him.
Did you get a good balance of getting enough work but also getting enough rest so you feel good physically to start the season?
I do feel good physically, so that’s a key one. I feel like I got a good enough amount of work in that I’ll be ready to roll.
Will you see more a pep in the guys’ step this week now that the games matter?
I really don’t care about winning or losing preseason games anyway. I couldn’t tell you what the preseason record is in my career. That’s why it’s the preseason. You want to get some work in and let young guys get a chance to make a team, if you ask me. For us, there is pep in our step because it’s the first game of the year. We’re excited about it and we’re ready to get back to football.
How does not having
Heath is the best tight end in the game. So, not only is he a comfort blanket for me, he opens up the outside receivers because he requires so much attention from linebackers and safeties down the middle of the field, and short passes, underneath stuff. We’ll definitely miss him and hope and wish him a speedy recovery.
Why do you think you guys are under the radar?
Because we were 8-8 and lost some veteran guys. We’re getting too old. We’re too young. There are a lot of reasons. We could spend all day probably [talking about them].
So why should none of that actually come to fruition?
Oh, I’m fine with us being under the radar. They can say whatever they want.
But you were 8-8. You are older in some places and younger in some places. Why aren’t those reasons to worry?
The outsiders can doubt us all they want. That’s fine.
Do you use that as motivation, or is it just that you like being under the radar?
My motivation is trying to win every game and being the best I can be. A lot of guys do use that. There’s no secret that we want to be great so that we can rub it in all of your guys’ faces [smiles].
Is it hard to know what to expect from Tennessee’s defense now that Gregg Williams is on the staff?
Yeah, we’ve watched a lot of film. We watched last year’s game, we’ve watched preseason stuff and we’ve watched Saints’ stuff. We don’t know what to expect, so we’re preparing a little bit for everything. I would have to expect a lot of what we saw when we played the Saints a couple of years ago – a lot of crazy blitzes and different looks and stuff.
Is it better to be playing this game at home?
It definitely has its advantages to playing at home. With the crowd noise, that does help, yes.
Re: The Pirates getting over the hump:
I’m so excited. I think the fans have been waiting for a long time for this and us as fellow athletes in Pittsburgh are excited about it. We wish them the best and just hope that they keep going up.
Re: Now you have a punter named Zoltan:
I know. Crazy, huh? We found out this morning that he speaks four languages so we’re excited to hear some of that.
Re: The Pirates dealing with that losing streak for so long:
It’s got to be tough. I don’t know how many guys have been on – like what’s the longest tenured Pirate guy – but it couldn’t have been fun to be here for that long. So, that’s why I’m excited as an athlete, and I’m sure the fans and you guys all are excited, proud and happy for them.