BB: Well, we're in I'd say the dog days of training camp here. Just grinding through it day by day. This is really what our team needs to build its consistency and mental and physical toughness. Just a lot of practice repetitions and starting to put things together situationally, but I think we're at that stage where we spent a lot of time on a lot of the basic things, the majority of our schemes are in, and now it's really about developing the consistency that we need. That can only be done through a lot of practice repetitions and just seeing different things and executing plays at a high speed or close to high-speed tempo so we can carry that over into the game ultimately. So, we're just going to have to string a lot of these days together here in the next week-and-a-half, just one day at a time. That's where we're at, and we'll get a good chance going forward here to evaluate where everybody's at and how they're doing relative to the competition at their position or the competition on the other side of the ball and the players that they're competing against. So, as always, it will be interesting to see how all that turns out and what type of roles players will establish for themselves based on their performance.
Q: How have you seen the outside linerbackers develop over the early portion of camp? In particular, how impressed have you been by Derek Rivers and his ability to get back on the field this year after several injuries?
BB: Yeah, well it's great to have Riv out there. He's had a very good camp and really is playing with a lot of confidence. He's gained a lot of strength and explosiveness, as well as rehabbing the injury, as you mentioned. His overall body composition, strength, power is good. It's a very competitive position. We've got a number of players there that all, I think, bring a lot to the table – [inaudible] and Riv, Shilique [Calhoun]. Brandon Copeland has been a good addition for us. We don't know him, or we're getting to know him, but he certainly has a good skillset and plays in the kicking game. Of course, Chase [Winovich] and John [Simon], those guys have played for us last year, John for a couple years. John's really a good football player. He's a very dependable and consistent player, has really emerged as one of the leaders on our defense. So, we've seen a lot of good competition at that position and it will be interesting to see how all that plays out, but Derek has done a good job, and he's well ahead of where he's been in the past. Each day, it seems like he gets a little more consistent, a little more confident, and I think he should be able to help us.
Q: What are your thoughts on Cam Newton's progression and development, especially over the last eight or so days of camp?
BB: Yeah, well, I think we're kind of getting to the point now with all the quarterbacks where there's not a lot of new installation going in. It's really a repetition of the things that they've been doing, and now is really the time to evaluate how well they perform. They know what to do, they've seen different looks, they've worked with the different receivers, tight ends, running backs, even the offensive line relative to cadences and things like that. So, I think everybody has a lot better feel than they did, obviously, a week ago, a week-and-a-half ago. So, I think we're all getting to that point now where at all the positions, the players know what to do, they know how to do it, they know who they're working with, they know their teammates and we'll see how the competition unfolds at every position. But, specifically for Cam, he's worked very hard, picked things up well. Of course, Stid [Jarrett Stidham] and Brian [Hoyer] have a little more experience in the system. Cam obviously has more playing experience. So, we'll see how all that plays out, but I think we're ready to, I would say, move forward from an execution standpoint. As I said, schematically, we're far enough along here where we have plenty of football in to play a game and to play in everything but maybe a couple of the last play of the game type of situations. But other than that, we have a lot to play with. We'll just have to see how well we can perform and perform against the competitive situation on the other side of the ball with our defense and vice versa.
Q: One word we keep hearing about Cam Newton is 'energy,' and we all see that watching practice. How valuable is that energy coming from a veteran player, especially in the dog days of training camp, as you said?
BB: Well, I think that's Cam's personality. I think you see that in the morning going into the squad meeting or you see it on the practice field or in the dining room or whatever it happens to be. That's kind of the way he is. Look, all the players on the team, we're all different. We all have different personalities and that's what makes up a team, that diversity of people. We have some guys with a lot of experience, some with no experience and plenty in between. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together. Each team forms its own chemistry. Certainly, Cam is an important part of that, but so are all the other guys, the other 79 players on the team and the coaches, as well. So, we'll see how all that manifests itself here over the next few weeks and ultimately months.
Q: You've spoken in the past about Jedd Fisch introducing some new ideas to the staff. Last week, Josh McDaniels talked about the benefit of that when dealing with a mobile quarterback. When Jedd came on staff in January or when any coach comes in and starts to introduce new ideas, what is the process of taking those concepts and installing them on the field and applying the necessary techniques for them to come to fruition in a fully-formed play or package?
BB: Yeah, well, I think any time you bring a new person in, the first thing in our situation that they need to do is understand what we do and understand what our foundation is, and it would depend on what the position is. But, in Jedd's case, understand how the offense works, what everything means, why things are the way they are. And then once a person gets an understanding of that, then that's a good time if they have a suggestion or have a way that they think we can modify things to make it more efficient or how we would call or coach or structure something maybe that we're not doing or make it a little different than what we have currently, then that's the time to do it. For somebody to come in and not know anything about our system, our terminology and the structure of what we're doing, to start drawing stuff up on the board, we'd have to waste a lot of time doing all the things I just talked about for it really to be a meaningful conversation. In the initial stages, there may be some philosophical-type discussions and all that, but once everything is set to go, then it really is up to all of us to be on the same page, to teach new coaches what we do and how we do it, for them to understand it, and then for us to work together if there's a new idea or a new way that we want to modify something, and we have a lot of those ideas ourselves. I mean, at the end of every year, the coaches always have some things that we feel like going into next year we want to work on or emphasize or change or whatever it happens to be. Sometimes, that's the start of those conversations and sometimes the ideas come from somebody from a different background that have maybe something that we haven't considered or aren't as familiar with and they can add some insight to it. It's no real set formula. It would all depend on all those factors that I just talked about, and certainly what the subject matter was, as well. So, it could be anything from a technique to a practice structure or a meeting structure. We evaluate all those every year and try to refine them and make them efficient. So, there's a time and a place to discuss all those things and that's basically the way we try to put it together.
Q: When you drafted Byron Cowart, you talked a lot about how he was used a lot in the pass rush, but we've seen him used a decent amount in run defense. What are your impressions of how he has developed as a run defender in training camp?
BB: Wait a minute, when we drafted him, I said he was used a lot in the pass rush at Maryland? I mean, they play a lot of base defense at Maryland. I wouldn't say that they had a ton of passing situations there. I think he's been primarily a run player throughout his career, when he at Auburn and also when he was at Maryland. I'm not saying he can't rush the passer, but I'd say the pass rush is an area that he's worked hard to develop and improve on because he hasn't had as much experience or exposure with it, but he's a very strong and physical player. I think he's one of the most explosive players that we've had or do have. But, really for him, it's a lot about experience and technique and made a ton of growth in the last 12 months here from where he was last year in training camp, and I think that's going to hopefully continue to ascend. I think his pass rush techniques have gotten much better. DeMarcus [Covington] has really worked hard with him and Joe Kim have both worked very hard with him on developing things that will work for him, not necessarily what another player does or doesn't do, but really trying to utilize his strengths and skillset. So, I don't know, I'd say either I mis-answered the question, didn't understand the question or maybe you misinterpreted the answer, but I think this is a player that has more of a run background than a pass rushing background. I'd say his development in both areas has been significant, but he's probably made more growth in the pass rush area, just because he didn't do it as much. He played a lot of four technique at Maryland, which isn't the most advantageous position to rush from, but he played it well – I'm not saying that. I'd say we have a little more variety and balance here than what he had in college, or even going back to Auburn.
Q: What went into the decision to sign Nick Folk, and how do you view the state of the kicking position right now?
BB: Yeah, well, I think both players are good kickers. We'll see how it goes. That will be up to them to decide. But, we've talked to Nick throughout the course of the spring and even training camp. Things worked out here last week, and so it's great to have him. He certainly came in and did a good job for us last year, but things just didn't work out until recently with Nick, and so I'm glad they did, I'm glad he's here and we'll see how it turns out. I don't know. Those two guys will both get as much opportunity as we can give them, and we'll evaluate them and go from there. But, we've been talking to Nick since back in March, so I mean, this isn't something that just came up a couple days ago. It's been an ongoing conversation for several months, actually.
Q: We miss being in the room there with you. Are you missing us at all?
BB: Yeah, you know, it was really quite a change with the team from doing Webex call after Webex call after Webex call, and then to actually see everybody together and have the interpersonal relationship was good. I think it kind of makes you appreciate them when you haven't had them for a while. Yeah, looking forward to seeing you guys in a little closer range here sometime in the future.