Despite the preseason-opening loss to Buffalo, Pagano likes where his team is at this point of training camp.
“I think we [have] made improvement in all areas. Offensive line, I think that first unit, knock on wood, they stay healthy and continue to play together. The cohesiveness, the communication is getting better daily and so I think we’re as strong as we’ve been in a long time there. And we’re starting to find some guys are emerging as that sixth, seventh and eighth. We’re going to have a heck of a time come cut down time. The receiver position, I mean we know what Reggie [Wayne] can do. T.Y. [Hilton] has been outstanding. We’ve talked about him all the time. Day in and day out he’s consistent as anybody,” Pagano said.
“Our specialists are off the charts. I think those two guys [placekicker Adam Vinatieri and punter Pat McAfee] are as solid as there are in the league,” Pagano continued. “Defensively, it’s just about consistency. But I think front to back once we get everybody healthy and we get everybody back, we got a chance to be really good, especially in the back end. Once [strong safety] LaRon [Landry] gets back, the corner position I think we’ve really upgraded and solidified ourselves there.”
The key is staying healthy, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
“If you stay healthy there, we’ve got a chance. You just talk to our offense, going against our defense. We’ve got a couple guys out there that can get up, play press coverage and make it extremely difficult for the offensive guys and wide receivers to get off the line,” Pagano explained.
“You give your pass rush, you give yourselves a chance from a pass-rush standpoint whether you’re rushing four, five or six, whatever it is. When those guys can’t get open, get loose, it makes it really hard for the quarterback to throw into tight windows.”