Vic: What's your evaluation of your draft class?
TC: I think we have a good, solid draft class. We've answered the immediate need, in terms of the defensive tackle and the offensive tackle. We have two defensive tackles and we have one offensive tackle. In the third round, when we were able to secure two linebackers, that helped us considerably. The fourth round was very solid. Saturday, after we had finished up, we had decided to earmark a quarterback and a tight end. We like this young tight end; we saw him as being on the rise. In the fourth round, considerably down, we were able to take the first quarterback in the round, which surprised me. What happened was that because we took the quarterback, either the Drew Bledsoe deal was consummated at that time or New England looked at it and decided that if Bledsoe was going to go and they needed a quarterback, they better get up and get Rohan Davey. That's exactly what happened right there.
Vic: How can this draft pertain to your team this season?
TC: It has to relate right now. Most teams want to have their draft class make the team and be supportive in special teams roles. You can have a starter, but you better surround him with very good and experienced football players who are knowledgeable enough to share wisdom with the young player. On special teams, the run and hit people, without a doubt, are very important. The other pick that was key for us, which was probably understated, was (kicker) Hayden Epstein. Hayden Epstein was arguably either one or two at the scouting combine.
Vic: What message did you attempt to hammer home to your players in mini-camp?
TC: This is a return to the basic philosophy that started this franchise, and that is the outstanding work ethic. What I'm interested in is production. I want football players who have strong character, pride, have an idea what they want, are interested in being told what to do and how to do it, and have the desire to be the very best they can be at their position.
Vic: Do you believe Wali Rainer can be your starting middle linebacker?
TC: I think he can. To be honest with you, the way this situation has come down, it would be good if Wali, in fact, does become our middle linebacker.
Vic: What will you do to replace Kevin Hardy at strongside linebacker?
TC: We currently have Danny Clark, Donny Green and Akin Ayodele; those people are currently working at that position and, for now, they will compete for the job.
Vic: Will you look at John Henderson at defensive end?
TC: Right now John Henderson is going to be a defensive tackle. Down the road, after we look at this entire pool of players, whether or not John plays inside on third down and outside on first down, or vice versa, will remain to be seen.
Vic: What's your greatest concern as you begin the practice season?
TC: We still have some more needs we're working hard to accomplish. I still think we need a cover-corner with speed, who can not only help us on special teams but can help us in those delicate matchups when people try to take us from two to three to four wide receivers. I'm still interested in researching that inside or outside linebacker spot with quality. I'm not going to tell you we wouldn't be interested in a wide receiver if one was out there. I'm interested in looking at some of the guys we have, such as Micah Ross and Larry Shannon and those kinds of guys, but I'd still want to be a little more competitive by the time we get to training camp.
Vic: If Mike Pearson is able to hold down the left tackle job, will you move Brad Meester to center?
TC: That would be one of the considerations and we expected to look at that in this mini-camp. We'll start out one way, but I want to see a couple or three different combinations.
Vic:What can you realistically expect from David Garrard?
TC: I think David Garrard is going to come in here very bright-eyed, very excited about the opportunity, very enthusiastic about learning, and I think David will show his raw talent and ability, which is that he is a very good athlete and has outstanding size and a very strong arm, and then he's going to have to refine that arm and his body style into exactly what we want him to learn. We would like to accelerate that learning as fast as possible.
Vic: What is your energy level for what has to be accomplished this spring and summer?
TC: I'm looking forward to this. This is going to be a very good time for all of us. We've made changes in our staff, we've obviously made changes in our football team, changes in our attitude, so I'm looking forward to getting onto the football field and into the back room with the coaches and analyzing and really getting back to hands-on with the players. The players have done a real good job in the offseason program. I've had our coaches rotate on a regular basis through the strength program. I've gotten real good information back on what's going on down there and who's doing well in the strength and in the running program.