The team kicked off the first day of 11 days of passing camp on Tuesday, and Matt Prater and Josh Barrett spoke with the media afterward. Here are the highlights of their press sessions.
The second-year safety said this stretch of camps is a little different than the first two mini-camps. The main difference is it feels like they’re starting to be able to play football a little more smoothly instead of learning something new at every turn.
“It’s definitely a more comfortable stage to be in,” he said. “You’re picking up things a lot quicker, there’s not as much lag time between when you learn something and then when you’re able to apply it on the field. So having that, it’s helpful.”
But Barrett said there’s certainly still learning going on. For him and the other defensive backs in particular, some of that learning has come from Brian Dawkins.
“I just try to take in little things,” Barrett said. “You don’t even have to ask questions, but through his actions, through his demeanor you can pretty much pick up on a lot of stuff.”
One of the things the secondary is learning about is bringing a game-time work ethic to practice. Barrett said the defensive secondary talks every day about how unacceptable the number of takeaways was last year. Now they’re taking steps to make sure they force more turnovers and make more game-changing plays in 2009.
“We’ve got drills that are just for stripping the ball, just for working on what we call low-impact angles, where you’re not going to be the guy maybe to make the first hit, but you might be the first guy to be able to get a shot at the ball to get the ball loose,” he explained. “So certain things like that, aggressiveness like that is what we really need to work on.”
Prater’s talking points are after the jump.