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Calais Campbell - Friday, July 27, 2018

(On the heat at practice) "You can run all the sprints you want to, but the only way to get in football shape is to play football, and when you play football in this kind of heat it takes time to adjust. It's tough, but that's something we want to use as an advantage. It's going to be hot in September when we have home games, so hopefully we'll be very used to it by then and it will give us that little bit of advantage we need on the home field."

(On the progression of the team between his first and second year with the team) "I think we got better. Guys have come in focused and ready and mentally sharp. There wasn't a lot of mistakes at all, which was nice to have, especially on the first day. I mean, there were still mistakes, obviously, a lot to clean up, but as far as compared to last year when there was a whole lot more mistakes. Everybody is a lot more comfortable, the system is a whole lot better, especially myself. I'm a whole lot more comfortable then I was last year at this time. It's a good feeling to have. 

(On where he wants to see progress in the defense with a second year together) "I think the biggest thing is just being situationally smart and finishing games. There were a couple of times last year where we had the game on the line and we let them get a first down. Our defense, as talented as we are and as tough as we are, that can't happen. We got some work to do, and we've been talking about it. Coach [Todd] Wash does a really good job preparing us, so it's got to come down to execution." 

(On if he embraces his teammates' talk about the Super Bowl) "We have a chance to be really, really good. We know that. Everybody in the locker room knows that. I'm glad we have high confidence. At the same time, we have a lot of work to do. A team as talented as we are and as hard as we work, we should be very good. I'm pretty confident when I say we're probably the hardest working team in the league. That's a big statement because a lot of teams are working hard right now and doing things, but they ask a lot of us, but the guys sit there and respond. We got out there, we push ourselves and with that talent and that mentality and the work ethic, we should be pretty good."  

(On his leadership approach this year) "I tell the guys all the time, it's going to be hard. We've got our work cut out for us, especially because, this year, teams are going to look to us and try to measure themselves against us. In my 10 years, you see a team that everybody is talking about being pretty good, when you play against them you want to bring you're A-game and see if you can match up and be a contender. When you have a little bit of success, that's what comes with it, that game where everybody is going to bring their A-game against us. With our mentality and who we are, we like to talk a lot of trash and back it up and make teams fear us. Our ultimate goal is to strike intimidation and people know that we know how good we are. That's a good feeling to have to know that teams are thinking about 'These guys talk a lot, but they back it up.'" 

(On the defensive line's reaction to Dante Fowler Jr.'s suspension) "It happens in football. Every year there are going to be suspensions. It's something that was a long time ago. He knew that something might happen, and when it did, you tell him [to] make sure he comes ready when that second game comes around. Definitely, he's a guy that when he's on the field, we're a better team. We want to get him back out there, but that first game, the coaching staff, the front office did a good job preparing a lot of guys. We have a lot of depth, so that depth should really pay off, but Dante is a guy who has so much potential. He's been working really hard, and so I tell him every day just to understand and grow and visualize himself, what he wants to do. You see him, everyday he's getting a little bit better, a little bit better. Right now, being on PUP, having a little more time to visualize things and walk through things and do things a little bit. Hopefully he really takes advantage of the opportunity and it makes him a better player." 

(On the NFL and NFLPA tabling the anthem policy for the time being) "I'm in an NFLPA rep and at the end of the day, I understand they are trying to figure out a way to make everything simpler and about football, where football is the job. At the same time, guys do have strong beliefs and want to do a lot in their communities and there are real issues. I think to begin, it all started with trying to bring awareness to the issues and social oppression and police brutality and all the stuff, but I feel like the message got kind of washed away and it just became a big thing. I feel like, at the same time, the NFL is trying to make sure that the game is strong and it's about the game. The NFL players are trying to protect the rights of players that want to have a cause. Hopefully we can get together and figure out the best way to create change and still keep the game about football." 

(On what he thinks the reaction will be when the games start) "I have no idea. No idea. It's something that guys are talking about and trying to figure out, the best way for guys to do whatever want to do, but at the end of the day I'm focused on trying to get ready for our first game and get through camp polished and ready to go." 

(On how open Taven Bryan is to Campbell's advice on the field) "He's very open to it. Most of it just technique stuff and trying to get him to understand things a little quicker because he's a guy that has a lot of talent and we could really depend on. I'm just trying to help. I know Coach says a lot of things to him and sometimes hearing things from a player perspective makes things a little easier to understand. I just try to give him a little bit here and there and always stay on him about the little things. Usually there's an adjustment, but being a rookie there's so many things coming at you, so many different adjustments you have to make so you kind of just have to do a little bit at a time and stay with it." 

(On the aspects of his technique he focuses on the first few days of camp) "For a defensive lineman, the most important things is hands, hands and feet, and getting those together. Obviously when you are out running sprints and doing things for conditioning, you can do a little football stuff, but until you go full speed and against a person running at you and have to put your hands in the right place and get your feet going, it's a little rusty until a couple of practices. Yesterday was very sloppy for everybody including myself. Today was a little bit better. Hopefully every day we get a little bit better and by the time we play our first preseason game, we'll be together." 

(On if the coaches have discussed taking any strain off him at camp) "Last year I had an injury so I missed so many days of camp, which is kind of crazy, but it allowed me to rest and get my body together. I have no idea how we're going to do it this year. They do take care of me already through OTAs and camp with just getting a little less reps than some of the other guys. At the same time, I need to work and get my technique together so it's a balance." 

(On if he was aware of the four games that Telvin Smith mentioned that the defense didn't finish) "I always study tape at the end of the year, go over everything, and I kind of remembered it from just being the situation, but definitely when I study the tape and those situations I realize that as good as we are, we have so much room for growth. I try to talk to some of the other leaders on defense and let them know where I'm at and then together we can just get the whole team really to finish those games and hopefully that allows us to be a lot better team. The goal is to win the division and hopefully be playing home playoff games in January."