It’s about running the football. It’s not just about the front side, it’s about the backside that can break things so I know as a group we’re focused on getting back to number one.
Q: You’re obviously going to the right side this year. How does that feel?
A: It feels great. I’m sitting here working with a guy, Chris Snee, who’s been around here for the last nine years with me and I know we’re confident going into the season. We’ve already started working throughout OTA’s and minicamp. But I know we’re going to be ready to go come game one. This isn’t something out of the ordinary in moving me to different positions so I’m ready and I know I’m going to get great work over there. It’s going to be fun battling with Justin.
Q: The fact that you guys were 32nd in the run game was devastating for Ahmad. You won a Super Bowl but does that number kind of stick with you anyways?
A: Absolutely. Even though being defending World Champs, you’ve got to look back and evaluate all the important things and that’s been such a strength for our offense. Being in the top 10 and being number one at one point. We just know the weapons that we have out there at wide receiver. If we can get the run game going like we’re capable of, our offense can be deadly.
Q: It could be pretty easy to say that a lot of this was injuries. Can you blame that?
A: No, you never make excuses. I mean there’s no excuses to blame injuries. I think towards the end of the season and in the playoffs, we got the run game going strong. You can say that there are guys moving around, different things like that. But you never make any excuses for anything. Like I said, I know as a group we’re making a collective effort, all of us, to make it a strength. The guys that we have in our huddle, the guys we have outside, the quarterback that we have, we get the running game back to where it’s capable of, our offense is definitely going to be one of the top in the league.
Q: You guys were bringing in a new piece to the offensive line last year in David Bass. But that was a condensed training camp. Is this easier this time around that you guys get to be all up here in Albany with more time?
A: I definitely think so. I wouldn’t say it’s… Number 1, it was great having a veteran guy come in. But also, playing offensive line it’s all about game. It’s all about being in a game atmosphere. It’s all about doing it out there at game speed and being able to work through things. You get that familiarity with the guy next to you. He has a great grasp of our offense, making the calls and doing everything. So I’m excited about having this time. For a lot of people, coming up to Albany, wondering what’s the difference between this and that. Personally for us, we like it better. We spend more time together. There’s less distractions. There’s more team bonding. As a group up front. As the offensive line group. This is what we needed.
Q: With the change in the practice schedule, no longer two a days, as a player, how do you adjust to that? What do you focus more on? Walkthroughs become more important…
A: Obviously it’s different with the new CBA and everything like that. No matter what you do, each rep you get, you’ve got to work. Most importantly, having the second one as a jog through and a run through, that’s the most important time to get the mental work done. To work through your footwork, that’s the time when you can sit there consciously. Focus on the little things and your techniques that are important. It’s definitely a very good time mentally, but, more importantly, I think it’s a great time for the rookies and the young guys to learn your offense. In training camp they’re not getting as many reps as possible so that gives them their time to catch up to learn it and get into the groove of things. I think it’s important for those guys.
Q: Both Eli and Kevin Gilbride have said that David Wilson is the fastest guy and most explosive. What does he bring to the running game?
A: You talk about the combination of him and Ahmad. It’s going to be dangerous having both of those guys back there. Ahmad not only can hit holes hard but he’s physical and tough and so far David Wilson has stepped right in. When you see him hit a hole, he bursts right through it and he’s gone. So to have that combination of those two guys, along with Danny Ware competing for a job out there, it’s only going to make those guys better and it’s only going to make our offense better.
Q: Do you expect to feel pressure when you come out of this camp than you have in years past?
A: I think so. Going into my tenth year, I remember doubles both in full pads and doing all that stuff. So it does make a big difference on your body and the health of your players. As you saw last year, people were wondering how slow things would happen, how the NFL would go. I think the NFL is more exciting or just as exciting with the training camps when you were having those double practices. But for us, having the full practice, having the second one as a jog through, the mental aspect. Being able to walk through and think about your footwork to make the corrections from the practice before. Those things are vital for a team to become a better football team.
Q: With Brandon’s departure, will the running game take a step back?
A: What do you mean? We want to take it in the opposite direction. We were 32. How can you take any more step backs? Everything we’re thinking about is moving forward and making sure that we make that a strength of our team. Like I said earlier, we have so many threats on the offensive side of the ball out there at wide receiver and, most importantly, with our quarterback, if we get our running game going like we know we’re capable of and get it to the top of the league like we’re working to do, our offense is going to be one of the best in the league.
Q: David, you’ve done this switch. You were right before you were left. Is it more physically, "alright I have to adjust this hand versus that hand." Or is it, "I’ve got a whole different list of opponents I’ve got to gear up for?"
A: As an offensive lineman, you’re looking across the board anyways. You’re studying all the guys, breaking down film, watching things, especially Kareem and I last year. We were doing that anyways to see if we can see things that guys would have tendencies to do. And when they’re looking at something, somebody might catch something that you don’t. You’re evaluating those guys anyways, but most importantly, it’s just about getting the reps. Getting back to being comfortable in the right-handed stance. I have no doubt it’s going be great. And like I said, working with Chris, we’ve already started. This isn’t something that had just happened. I’ve already gotten all the OTA’s and minicamp at it. So I’m excited to compete against Justin and get ready to go for the season.
Q: Do you ever go into the huddle…
A: Early on in OTA’s…. In the huddle I was lining up, standing on the left side and then I was like, ‘Aw man, what am I doing?’ I mean you’ve done it for so long. But that was like the first two days. Now it’s just being in this offense knowing all this stuff. It’s not anything that has to do with X’s and O’s. It’s just your technique and getting used to it.
Q: So somebody said, "Excuse me Dave, you’re in…"
A: No, I caught myself. Nobody had to say it to me and I didn’t embarrass myself at least.
Q: Physically, because things are opposite?
A: Things are opposite. It’s at a point now that I’ve already gotten the works and it’s already going. But this is the time, most importantly during training camp, where you really hone in on your techniques. We’re going to get as many reps possible and I’m going to do anything that I need to do to get ready to go. I know that we’re working in the right direction.
Q: Do you do anything well on the other side? Like lefty righty kind of thing?
A: Well I’m a right-handed guy. I shoot basketball right handed. I don’t think it really plays a difference in playing offensive line. This isn’t the first time I’ve played on the right side. Hell, I didn’t play right tackle since ‘04 and I’ve played every snap in the Pro Bowl at right tackle. This isn’t something that I’m not accustomed to. Like I’ve always been, I’m a team guy. I play whatever I need to play. If this helps solidify our offensive line and helps our football team win, it’s all that matters to me.
Q: Do you expect the competition to be ramped up a little bit from the Pro Bowl?
A: Absolutely, 100 percent. Each and every day we’re out here. This is what we’re here for. Here to become a better football team and you’re defending Super Bowl Champs, you’ve got to come out flying and come out of the gates fast because you’ve got a bullseye on your back. Especially when you open up with your division rival.
Q: Is there any chance that you will miss any time because of the off the field problems?
Q: So you’ve met with the Commissioner or at least…
A: I’ve talked to him. But, not that I know of.