Sometimes, standing on the practice field and watching another 7-on-7 drill, it feels like there isn’t a lot going on around an NFL team in June. Then you get to the end of a five-day, six-practice week, and you realize there simply wasn’t enough time to talk about everything.
I’ll be adding some blog posts early this coming week, looking back on what just happened. In the meantime, here are some random locker-room quotes that seem worth echoing, even if they don’t fit into a larger story.
Reggie Smith, on settling in at safety after switching from cornerback last year:
“The communication is the biggest aspect. I’m a pretty good athlete. I think I can do a lot of things – play corner, safety or nickel if needed. But if I can get the calls out, then sky’s the limit. … In this defense, corners need to know what they’re doing. But more or less, they’re doing a lot of listening. Listening to what the safeties are doing, what coverage they’re putting them in. So me going from listening to actually calling the calls out and having to move and shift and all that stuff was kind of tough for me last year. But it’s coming along a lot better this year.”
Wide receiver Ted Ginn, on whether he does specific offseason work to increase his speed:
“Last year I did. This year I didn’t really. The offseason’s been a difference. You know, getting traded, coming to a new city, meeting new coaches, new everything. Once I get settled, then I’ll go back to what I’m used to doing.”
Defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga on his dual role of end/tackle:
“The last four or five years I’ve been here, I was that guy. I was known as the backup for both, for end and also backup for nose tackle. So I’m more comfortable in all those separate areas. And I’m just enjoying it while I’m at it, cause that’s my job. And we’ve gotta win. I love it.”
Linebacker Takeo Spikes, on how his offseason workout has evolved over the course of his career:
“It changes over the years. At first, you’re more so strength. You want to focus on strength and making sure that you take advantage of every opportunity to get stronger. As I’ve gotten up in years, my lifting is not about strength anymore, but it’s about functional movement. Making sure I can simulate some of the same things we do out on the field in the weight room, putting me in the best position where I’m more flexible when I’m on the field, to kind of reduce injury. The big thing for me now is more mental. Instead of looking at the game from a player’s perspective, now I look at it from a coaching perspective. It ain’t so much ‘do this and do that.’ I know what I have to do. It’s more ‘why do I have to do this?’ “
Safety Michael Lewis, on whether he has paid attention to all the talk about the 49ers making a run at Oshiomogho Atogwe:
“Over my years, I’ve heard so much things, so much things have happened to me in my career. I don’t worry about things. I’m the type of guy, I’m gonna compete regardless of what’s being done. [Former NFL safety] Blaine Bishop told me a long time ago, you gotta prepare as if it’s gonna be your last opportunity. And that’s the way I approach the game. I’m gonna work, no matter what the situation may be.”
Tight end Delanie Walker, on his development in the offense:
“I think I’ve progressed way more than what I did in the past. I think this year’s gonna be a big year for me and Vernon, just because what they seen Vernon do last year, just him catching the ball over the middle, I think that’s gonna give me a lot of opportunities to catch deep balls this year. So I’m just looking forward to getting the season started and seeing what Jimmy Raye got inside his pockets.”
Just a wild guess: 70 cents in change, a pocket thesaurus and a token from the 1964 World’s Fair. Talk to you in a couple days.