Q: Do you think David Patten can pick up some of the slack at wide receiver?
DB: I think he can. David is a guy that's got good speed, good quickness. You know he is very professional in the way that he approaches his job and he's done some good things for us through camp and through the preseason. I think our receiving corps as a whole, as I have said, is filled with guys that can be very productive for us and we are going to force people to cover the entire field.
Q: Would you say this is more of a football team, and just more of a team, than it was last year?
DB: Well I think across the board we have guys at just about every position that are veteran players, that are guys that have been productive either here or elsewhere in the league. I think through training camp, through the offseason and through the preseason this year, we have come together as a team and I think that we have an understanding in a general sense of where we are headed and what it takes to get us back towards where we want to be as opposed to the little bit of a slide that we have been on the last couple of years.
Q: Have you personally gotten over the loss of Terry Glenn?
DB: I'll put it this way, I've been working with these guys, the guys that are here, the five guys that we have plus Curtis Jackson, I've been working with them all offseason and through mini-camps and through training camp, through the preseason and I feel very, very comfortable with where we stand at the receiver position going into this first game.
Q: Bryan Cox was named a captain and obviously he has had an effect in the locker room. How big has that effect been and how big will it be?
DB: Bryan's a guy that's been a very popular guy every place that he has been because he brings a great enthusiasm to the locker room. He brings…he is a very vocal guy and that comes to him very naturally and you put on top of that that he's just a good football player that brings some toughness and so on. It's really a credit to him that he, in just that short amount of time, that he has developed the kind of respect that would cause people to vote him as a captain.
Q: Do you still get excited about the opener or is this just…?
DB: No man, this is the best time of the year every year. It really is. It's like Christmas. There is optimism. There is some excitement about getting to go compete at the game of football that we have been playing for all these years. You come to training camp and you know you have to get through all that stuff with the anticipation of getting to this first game. That anticipation builds and builds and you get tired of beating up on each other and you get tired of playing preseason games and then finally when that regular season gets here, yeah it's a very exciting day.
Q: Is there a danger of being over-excited?
DB: No, I don't think so. I think that when you come out, I think we know what to expect from ourselves. We are starting to understand Cincinnati, at least as well as we can with all the things that they do and you know you have to approach it with professionalism and you have to be prepared well enough that you can play in a relaxed state, but at the same time it is still a very, very exciting time every year when you get to go out and start playing for real again.
Q: How do you feel about your own captaincy?
DB: It is something that I am proud of and it is an honor to be selected, obviously, as a captain by your peers and it is something that…I'll put it this way, I've always felt that the respect that you are given by guys that you see every day is something to be proud of as opposed to somebody's opinion from the outside who doesn't really know what is going on. If the guys in the locker room respect you, then that's something to take a little bit of pride in.
Q: Speak a little bit about your rookie left tackle [Matt Light], what his job is and how long before you feel comfortable with somebody other than Bruce [Armstrong] at that position?
DB: First of all he is filling some gigantic shoes. You guys all know my great respect for Bruce Armstrong. He's a guy that protected my backside for eight years and [I] had great trust in him the whole time he was here. But Matt understands his responsibility and it's something that he takes seriously and he's also a guy that is accustomed to sitting over there and pass blocking and protecting the backside for quarterback. They threw it about 10,000 times at Purdue while he was there and he understands that responsibility and knows that it is a big one and has approached it with a great deal of professionalism. Obviously it would have been nice for him and for everybody involved to have him there for the whole preseason and all the way through camp, but in the time that he has been back he has come and he's giving good effort and seems to know what is going on.
Q: You have to trust the guys around you, is the offseason enough time to trust the guys surrounding you?
DB: It is. You develop a certain level of trust from watching guys work on a day to day basis and practicing with them and so on. But ultimately where that trust really develops and becomes special is when it is proven under fire in a regular season game. So that's what we will be doing this week, we're going out and we're going to try and win the game and as we progress as an offense that trust grows and becomes stronger and stronger.
Q: Having signed a new contract in the offseason do you expect that expectations will change for you?
DB: Listen, the expectations for me have been great since I have been here and my expectations for myself have always remained the same. I've always expected to play the game at a championship level and if I don't succeed in that then it's disappointing to me first and foremost. And the outside stuff really, first of all I can't control it and second of all it is really inconsequential because the expectations that are important are the ones that I have for myself and ones that my teammates have for me and vice versa, the expectations I have for them. The outside stuff, that's you guys' job. Write about it, do whatever you want with it, but ultimately it really doesn't mean anything.
Q: A lot of guys are gone from this team over the last few years, do you ever feel like the sole survivor?
DB: It's been a dramatic change in the last four or five years where a lot of the guys that I came into the league playing with and also the whole face of the league as a whole. When I came into the league, I'm playing against guys that were my heroes growing up, you know you got [Dan] Marino and [John] Elway and [Joe] Montana, the whole thing has changed dramatically and our team has changed right along with that and that change only accelerates when you are unsuccessful. If we had been winning 10, 11, 12 games each of the last three years that change isn't going to happened. But when you are not winning, you're not successful, then the change becomes much more rapid and much more drastic. Has it changed? Yeah it has changed, but I also, as I've said repeatedly this preason, I really feel comfortable with the kind of guys that we've brought in. I feel like the attitude of the team this year and our work ethic and our professionalism and our approach to the entire game as a team, has really changed for the better.
Q: You are still a young man, you haven't turned 30 yet, but you have been in the league for a long time, have you gotten to the point yet where you feel the clock is ticking on you to have an opportunity to go for a Super Bowl championship?
DB: You know, that clock is ticking from day one and I think that when you come into the league you at times have a perception that your time is almost infinite. You look at it, when you are a rookie, your first couple years, it looks like you can go forever, but at the same time especially the way the league is right now where things can change so dramatically from year to year, you know that every year and every game is a very important opportunity and that it may be your only chance to get it done. I mean you look at the teams that have won the Super Bowl the last couple of years. St. Louis three years ago, who would have picked them? Baltimore last year, I think Phil Mickelson was the only one that picked them last year. So things change dramatically and it can change in a huge way from one year to the next. So yeah, that clock is ticking all the time and you never know when your best opportunity may come.
Q: Are you glad to see that this is the final year in this stadium?
DB: I'd love to pretend that I am going to be nostalgic when we walk out and close the door on this place, and we've had some good memories, you know the run to the Super Bowl, some of those games were pretty magical, but at the same time I am really looking forward to moving into the new place.
Q: Do you take pride that you are one of the few franchise guys that are left around the league?
DB: There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that you've been able to stay in one place as a quarterback, not many guys have the privilege of being able to do that. But at the same time there's also the responsibility that comes with that that every day that you go on the field you've got to justify that trust they put in you. And I know that and that's part of it and that's part of the makeup of this position and part of who I am as a player. I'd feel that regardless, but at the same time there is a great deal of trust that they've put in keeping me here for this long and that belief while it is gratifying, there is also that sense of responsibility that comes with that.
Q: During the preseason you didn't have a lot of drives down the field, how badly do you yearn for that feeling, that thrill?
DB: You know what, I am really looking forward to getting that feeling back and I have confidence that we can get that established. We can go in and be consistent, convert on third downs, put the ball in the end zone when we have our opportunities and like I say, as we do that and as we develop that throughout the season, that will build on itself.