JM: Day one is usually always the same. You’re so excited to be out here because you’re with the guys and it’s a new season and training camp – you know, you’ve worked a lot of days to get ready for this day. You come out and you make some exciting plays and you make a lot of mistakes that we have to correct, but that’s the fun part. We get to go in now and watch the film with the players and correct some of the things we didn’t do well. Hopefully we have a better day tomorrow but it was good to be out there.
Q: Did you feel back at home?
JM: Yes. This is home for me. It feels great to be back.
Q: Do you feel like you never left?
JM: My body doesn’t feel like I never left. I feel older. But again, there are so many great people here that it’s wonderful to see all of them, you guys included.
Q: How good does it feel to be back on the field working hands-on with the players?
JM: It’s great. This is what I love to do. I think that most coaches are that way. The best part of our day is getting to work with the players out on the field. We do a lot of sitting and watching TV and talking about the film and meeting in the meeting rooms, but when you actually get to come out here for a couple hours and sweat with them and correct things and do some things, that’s what really makes you so proud as a coach. That’s what I love to do this most.
Q: Has your communication level with
JM: I think so. Every year, you re-establish all those connections with the position group that you coach or the offense if you’re the coordinator. You really work hard to try to recreate those relationships and each one of our relationships probably grows and matures a bit each year. I think that’s where Tom and I are, but we’ll always try get better and communicate better as we go forward through camp.
Q: How much different are guys like Tom Brady and
JM: They’re still great players that are really smart and I think the greatest word that I could use for our offensive guys and pretty much [applies] to our whole team is that they’re coachable. Those guys, whether we try to get them to do something a little different or whether we try to get them to do the things they’ve been doing for so long successfully just a hair better, they’re willing to work at it, and willing to do what you want them to do. They’ve grown and gotten better, there’s no question about that, and hopefully we can make them better this year.
Q: Is there any concern with Wes Welker’s contract this year becoming a distraction?
JM: I don’t have any information on that. Wes has a great attitude and has worked extremely hard in the offseason and had a really good day today. I’m going to coach him hard just like I always have.
Q: A lot of people would love to have your job with Tom Brady and all the various toys you have. Is it as fun as it looks?
JM: Yes. This is – I do feel like I have a great job. I’m blessed to work for Mr. Kraft and Coach [Bill] Belichick and we’ve got a great staff of people around us and a team that’s really willing to work hard and listen to you. That’s the only thing you can ask as a coach and I’m really happy to have this position.
Q: What makes this group different from the one you left in 2007?
JM: The tight ends are different. The backs are a little younger. Things have changed. There are few different coaches on our staff, but I think that happens to every team each year in the NFL. But we just adapt and we’re so used to doing it by now that it just kind of comes with the territory. It’s exciting to start to formulate what you’re actually going to be in training camp in terms of, ‘OK, that worked well with these guys.’ And there are always some things that change in training camp, too, so it will be exciting to see how it all unfolds.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you in trying to incorporate so many different playmakers?
JM: I think really the big thing for us is if we can be a good fundamental team and play with good technique and execute our offense, hopefully we have good players at each position. And if you have good players at each position and they do the right things, and then you let the quarterback make smart decisions on the field in the passing game, throw it to where it’s supposed to go and those guys are open, and we pass block for the quarterback so that he has time to do that. And then when we’re running the football, we can do the right things in the running game to definitely stay balanced offensively. It’s not a challenge because to me, it’s what you’re hoping for. You hope you have a lot of great people that can do great things. I think we have the potential to be a fun group to watch, but we’ll see how it all unfolds.
Q: What’s been the biggest surprise about working with these two young tight ends?
JM: I don’t know if anything – based on seeing them before I got here, you knew how well they caught the football. Not being in a meeting room with them until this year, you realize how intelligent they are and how many things they can pick up and how well coached they’ve been and how easy to coach they are, because they really listen well, they take good notes in the meeting room. It’s extremely important to both of them; they both love football. I don’t think you’d necessarily know that unless you were here. Having the opportunity to get to know them this year in the spring and now during training camp, I think that’s what I really appreciate about them.
JM: Every time I’ve been with him, it’s been great.
Q: Is it also going to be fun as teams try to counteract what you do well?
JM: I think that’s NFL football. They’ll try to stop something that we do well and hopefully we do enough things well that we can counter what they do.
Q: Are defenses now more geared to stop the passing game?
JM: I think everybody is trying to stop us from being points on the board. Everybody is trying to disrupt the quarterback. If you can hit the quarterback and take the ball away, I think you’ve got the chance to be a good defense, so that’s what we have to be ready for every week.
Q: Can you do anything about January and February starting here?
JM: I think we have to do something about tomorrow. Our focus is on trying to come out and have a good day tomorrow. There’s nothing we can do about three, four months down the road. We just have to take each day as it comes and try to be a better football team. That’s the task every single day we come to work and I think our guys really understand that and they’ll work hard to do that.
Q: Do you anticipate there will be a lot of mixing and matching on the offensive line during training camp trying to figure out what works?
JM: Our offensive linemen are really well coached. I know that. I have great faith in Dante [Scarnecchia] and the job that he’s always done here, and I appreciate him more and more every day that I work with him. I have no reservations about the way that those guys will prepare in that meeting room and be ready to go when it’s their turn or they’re called on. We have some new faces in a lot of different places and offensive line is no different.
Q: As the guy who drafted Tim Tebow, what are your thoughts on him landing with the Jets and facing him twice a year?
JM: Tim is a good kid and had a good year last year. We don’t play them for a long time and I wish Tim the best personally and he’ll be a friend of mine, but our focus is on trying to get better day-by-day and I’m sure we’ll have to worry about him down the road.
Q: How do you think he’s going to react to New York?
JM: I don’t know. Tim usually handles every situation well. Knowing him the way that I do, he handles most every situation with class and I’m sure he’ll do the right things.
Q: Does your relationship with
JM: It’s all about what everybody does here. Spencer is one of the guys on our team trying to compete for a spot. If he can help us win, I’m sure he’ll force a spot here.