C MITCH MORSE
Q:You had an eventful offseason.
Q:Is it different coming into the workouts and a new year as a married man?
MORSE:"We're halfway there. We just got engaged, so we've got a whole year to plan a wedding, which she wants to get all done in two weeks, so I just go along with it. She's awesome. She's the best. It's great. My head is on straight, and I had a great offseason. I'm ready to get this season going."
Q:Do you notice a difference this year with the continuity the team has and how well things have been going?
MORSE:"Absolutely. We had real strong offensive line play last year, especially throughout the last half of the season. We had great continuity, guys stayed strong, they took care of their bodies and they took the extra time outside of the facility to 'keep being on the field.' That's such a huge part of being an offensive lineman -- the continuity. The only way we can do that is if we play together. We did a great job of keeping guys on the field, even with hitches here and there. The guys stayed on the field and they battled through minor injuries. That's part of being an offensive lineman. We're just looking to build on that and we're looking forward to compete for the championship this year."
Q:Continuity is taken care of. What's the next step for the offensive line?
MORSE:"You never can get it 'perfect.' You can never perfect continuity, so we're always focusing on being perfect. Maybe we have the grand scheme of how to work with one another, now we're working on tiny nuances of how to complement each other's play. Now we're focusing on how our techniques can better protect the quarterback and help get the run game going and get touchdowns."
Q:What can you do in this phase of the offseason to better your game when you're limited to only so many reps?
MORSE:"The great thing about this level is that guys are professionals, they know how to practice at a speed that we can still get better while keeping each other healthy and taking care of ourselves. Coach [Andy] Reid puts a competitive environment on the field and he gets the personnel to go out there and they know how to practice and how to compete. We can still get a lot done. It's great to have these four weeks of practicing. It's not live contact, but you can still get after it. We look forward to it every day and we need it. Practice is a necessary evil. It gets us to the next step where we're not thinking on game day and we're firing on all cylinders."
Q:Have you had a chance to work with Patrick Mahomes on taking snaps yet?
MORSE:"So far I've been working with Alex [Smith]. There's still a lot we can get done. Patrick [Mahomes] is a great guy. I've talked with him a little bit. But there's going to be some growing pains as a rookie -- especially at that position. I definitely believe that he is capable of picking up the speed of the game. He's always very enthusiastic when he's in there. But for me, Alex is our quarterback. He's going to be our quarterback no matter what. For me as a center, I still have a lot of things I can work on with Alex. But to answer your question, I think Patrick is going to be a great player. He strides to negate the deficits and he's always focusing on improving the things he doesn't do well as opposed to thinking 'Hey look what I can do.'"
DB RON PARKER
Q:What difference does it make to you if Eric Berry isn't here for the OTAs?
PARKER:"It doesn't make a difference to me if Eric Berry isn't here for OTAs. I did it last year without him and it's kind of the same schedule that we've been working on. I believe whatever he's doing, he's doing it to get himself ready for the start of the season."
Q:What can the group of safeties grow on continuity-wise?
PARKER:"There's a lot of things we can grow on. We do a good job of putting the time in when we're all together both on the clock and off the clock. So when the time shows up, we have everything right on the field and toward the back end of the secondary. We'll do our job and get it done."
Q:Does Bob Sutton give you all any flexibility in there now that you've each been around for multiple seasons?
PARKER:"There's definitely a lot of flexibility in there with the safety play that we have between me Daniel [Sorensen] and EB [Eric Berry]. It gives Bob [Sutton] a lot of flexibility. I think he enjoys coming up with a game plan each week deciding what he wants to do with us."
Q:What are you focusing on within your own game this offseason?
PARKER:"I'm just trying to get better at whatever level I can get better at. Whether it's tackling, catching the ball, better feet, better in coverage or whatever it is, I try to come in and work on something every day I come in the building and try to get better."
Q:What's the number one thing you take away from Eric Berry when he is in the building?
PARKER:"The number one thing I take away from Eric Berry is that he's a hard worker and pushes everybody. He makes everybody kind of go overboard. When he's here, he gives you that extra lift to work overboard. That's what we take away when Eric Berry is here. He's a hard worker."
T MITCHELL SCHWARTZ
Q:How much different is it this year coming into the same offense as opposed to last season when this was all new?
SCHWARTZ:"It's nice. This is the first year where I've had the same system in back-to-back years. I've had a lot of offensive coordinators and even head coach turnover. It's been nice to get familiar with it and not have to learn the basics. You can begin to focus on the intricate details which is what makes this offense so great. They've had five years in it now and each year you learn a little more, what works, what doesn't and what adjustments to make. It's been fun to have that aspect of it when you're watching film from last season and you're actually on the film and you don't have to watch other people as much. That part has been great and then the familiarity with living here and getting to know the guys. It's been a much smoother process."
Q:Do you feel like the offensive line is ahead of where they were at this time last year because everybody is back?
SCHWARTZ:"I think so. It was strange coming in and being the oldest guy who's playing. That was kind of weird to me. We had some older guys in Cleveland and then coming in here where I'm five years in and I'm the oldest one here starting. The biggest thing when you're younger is getting game experience, but for the guys going into their third, fourth, and fifth years, they're getting a little bit of everything. It takes time to get into the flow of game action. It's cliché but things do actually slow down for you. You don't see as much. You see the things that matter. You're not really freaking out about anything. The biggest thing, especially for young guys is confidence in what you're doing, understanding the play, understanding the concept, the technique you're supposed to use. Once that's all second nature and muscle memory, you can focus on the defense and see what they're doing: is the guy leaning, is the safety rotating down and things like that. That's the biggest progression for the younger guys. I can see it after playing two years in a row next to Larry [Laurent Duvernay-Tardif] and being able to do things without communicating as much, knowing where we'll each be on certain plays, double-teams and things like that. There's definitely a progression that's happened over the past year."
Q:What does Kareem Hunt bring to this backfield and what has it been like blocking for him?
SCHWARTZ:"I haven't really seen him too much. I know he broke all sorts of records at Toledo and I've got some inside sources that tell me he's a great guy and he was well-liked up there so it will be exciting to see what he does. With running backs, you can really see the speed and the quickness but the ability to run between tackles and all that stuff will come at training camp. We'll be able to see that. It'll be great. Around here, it looks like he's about to fall down but he's got great balance and he stays up. I'm excited to see what happens when pads go on and things get a little more real."
Q:In what ways are OTAs preparing you for training camp?
SCHWARTZ:"It's great for the younger guys to get used to the speed of things. From an offensive lineman's perspective, the best guy you face in college might be an average NFL starter and he may not be a starter at all. If you went to a Big Ten school, you face two to three guys that are elite level players and that's once or twice in your whole career. Once you go to the NFL, everyone's really good. Getting used to the speed of that and the quality of your opponent, you get used to the timing. Like I said with the young guys, the biggest thing that slows them down or gives them a hesitance is a lack of confidence. Being able to line up and see the defense, you see the play and you don't have to go through the mental gymnastics. It comes more natural to you. That's really the biggest thing for them. The timing of things and getting acclimated to the speed plays a role too. We can't have contact so it's going to be the things that have a little more to do with the mental side of it."