SANTA CLARA – Carlos Rogers spoke to Bay Area reporters Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he said.
Q: What do you enter camp feeling like you have to accomplish or work on?
ROGERS: Everything. Me and my coach were talking about that, thing that he can see I need to get better at. When you’ve done it so many times and you’re OK at a lot of positions, we try to find little nit-picky things I can get better on. And there are a few things we talked about yesterday – combinations of routes and things like that. I went to Coach Vic earlier this offseason and asked him for an overview of all of our coverages and some of the things we didn’t do well. Our secondary was ranked No.4 in the league last year. We were pretty good, but being ranked No.4 you aren’t ranked No.1. So, there are still some things we can get better at as a team.
Q: What happened to the secondary in the playoffs?
ROGERS: You’ve got to click on all cylinders. Last year in those playoff games, especially facing Atlanta, they’ve got some explosive guys at each position. You’ve got to be clicking. You’ve got to be ready each and every quarter. We didn’t start out as good, picked up better, but it wasn’t enough and that’s on both sides of the ball.
Q: A lot of times when a team gets to a Super Bowl, the next year the team looks a lot different. This is pretty much the same team. In light of that, how do you look at this opportunity?
ROGERS: To build. We’ve added some players. A few guys are not here, so we’re going to have to step up, especially at the back end of our secondary. It’s hard to get where we got. Last year, back-to-back NFC Championship games, we made it to the Super Bowl last year but it’s hard. Teams are gunning after us and we’re going to be gunning after teams. You look at our division, each and every team got better – new coaches, new players. We’re not even thinking about the Super Bowl. We’ve got to win our division because that’s going to be way tougher than it was last year.
Q: How is your role going to change this training camp?
ROGERS: Not at all. I’m still on that left side and I go inside on third down to play the Nickel. I just try to get better. They brought in other guys. We’re missing Dashon and it’s hard to replace him, but we’ve got guys we think, the coaches think can step up. We’ve all got to take up the slack. Nnamdi’s a veteran guy who’s been in the league for a while. Everybody has to compete. I never worry about the guys they bring in. My play on the field speaks for itself and I think that’s the approach from every DB. When the decision is made, it’s made and you can’t control that. All you can control is what you do on the field. That’s my whole mindset.
Q: What kind of message did Coach Harbaugh have for you in the meeting room this morning?
ROGERS: Be ready. Every passed the conditioning test. It’s the first day. Everybody’s anxious and ready to go, but we’re not going to come into it sprinting. That’s how you cause injury. That’s why you see a lot of guys tear their Achilles and hamstring the first day. We’re going to build our way up and when it’s time to go, this team will be ready. That was our approach last year. That’s our approach this year. We’re going to be ready to compete every day. It won’t be easy, but he’s not going to try to kill us.
Q: You’ve got some new receivers in the division – Percy Harvin, Tavon Austin. You’re probably going to be matched up against them quite a bit. Have you thought about that? The slot receiver seems to be getting more and more important each year.
ROGERS: It is getting more and more important. That’s not an easy job. You can sit out there on the outside and coaches roll coverages to you and you have safeties over you. In the slot, you’re in the middle of the field and guys have so many directions to go. I take each and every opponent and try to get better and see what I can gain an advantage on, whether it’s help from our linebackers or backing off guys, letting them make their move and then get on them. Every week it presents something different. I try to show up and challenge every guy. You’ve got short and quick guys. You’ve got guys like Anquan who are strong. You can’t jam him because he’s going to push off and get you off him. I’ve got good coaches that back me up. We work hand-in-hand. I’ve been pretty successful, but each and every year there are new challenges. Percy is a man himself. The young is young but he’s quick and fast.
Q: There’s been speculation you may not play out your contract here. Have you heard that? Does that bother you?
ROGERS: It doesn’t bother me. I heard that but I can’t control that. They’re going to make their decision. I signed the contract. It was a contract they presented to me and I accepted it. After that, I continue to play. It’s something I can’t control. All I have to do is play well. My goal is to play here and play for this team. Other than that, I can’t control it. I’m not trying to control it. I’m not letting it worry me. Just go out and play.