Q: Where are you at health wise? You didn’t get that much time in the preseason; are you okay?
A: Nah, I feel fine. It feels good to get back out here with my teammates, running around a little bit. I had a couple days on the field of getting that full football shape of the plays. I was okay, and I’ll be fine in time for game time on Sunday. [I’ve] just got to get myself mentally ready, physically doing the right things off the field in the training room [with] extra conditioning and cardio. I’ll be ready to go.
Q: Are you fully expecting to get a tremendous workload this year given your quarterbacks are both young and inexperienced? You’re kind of the focal point here.
A: To be honest, that’s always been my thing since about my third year. I’ve always been the focal guy on offense, so I’m used to that. The good thing is, [Coach Brian] Daboll is a smart coach. He finds ways to get guys the ball and in open space. He does a good job sharing the ball. I expect a big year out of Kelvin [Benjamin] this year. Benjamin, he’s playing [good] ball; he’s in good shape physically and mentally, he’s ready to go. [Charles] Clay is always a big piece of our offense. [Then] there’s also our young guys: you look at [Marcus] Murphy, he’s playing a big role for us this year and also [Chris] Ivory. I’m for sure, I think, the main focus for the defense, but we have a lot of small pieces to put together to make plays. I think you sprinkle in a genius at offensive coordinator who comes from a winning program, last year with Alabama and then the Patriots. They might be our rivals, but you’ve got to give those guys credit; they find ways to win and offensively, even [without] the best quarterback in the game with Tom [Brady], they do well offensively. Some of the things that he brings here is that kind of culture, that attitude and then the smarts [and] making guys accountable. It’s another playbook, put us in different formations to make the defense have to account for that. With all those things combined, man, I think it helps out. [We might not have] the big playmakers that people think we need. Even last year, we had ups and downs, but as an offense, we found ways to not turn the ball over, run the ball well, and make plays when we needed to. I won’t kid ourselves, I think the defense is the strong part of our team [in the way] its put together, but collectively all together, it’s a team.
Q: What do you feel is the responsibility of a team captain?
A: Just being accountable, being the person I’ve said I am. If I’ve said I’m a hardworking guy who works hard and does whatever I have to do for my teammates, I will do it every day. Don’t just talk about it, be about it. This is my first time actually being a true captain. Every coach is different; this is actually the first time a coach has really had ‘stamped’ captains, so I look forward to having a ‘C’ on my chest Sunday. I owe it to my teammates. I was who they voted for, they voted for me, so it’s my duty to go out there every week and every day, on the field [and] off the field, going about things the right way to the best of my ability for my teammates.
Q: There have been some serious and very public claims made at you through the lawsuit. You haven’t responded publicly. Why is that and would you like to respond publicly now?
A: I’ll take care of that stuff, but right now, what I’ve got to worry about is the Baltimore Ravens. [I’m] keeping everything the same with that and focus. This is a big week for me, week one. I didn’t have a lot of playing time in the preseason, so I’m really locked in and trying to focus everything on football right now. We’ll take care of that.