The enigma that is, receiver Michael Clayton, on the heels of signing a five
year extension worth roughly $26 million is giddy, over the new direction in which the offense is heading under the guidance of offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski.
Clayton spoke with local media after practice, in which he stated the receivers who were an after thought under ex-coach Jon Gruden in the redzone & would be featured more in 09′ down near the endzone.
“It is just a different mentality,” Clayton said. “Not to say anything negative about Coach Gruden because we all know that he’s a genius when it comes to putting together offenses, but the mentality we have is that we are going to score points. I can remember times when all the receivers were taken out of the game in the red zone, for years, and we are throwing to tight ends. This is definitely not the issue. [Jagodzinski] utilizes the receivers. I’m happy for that, and happy to have this opportunity. [I'm a] five-year veteran and going into my six years and the experiences that I’ve learned. The one-on-ones that we take every day killing the cornerbacks (laughing). We actually get to [do] that. It is a great feeling to be go out and know that the coach has the confidence in the receivers and tight ends to get everybody involved.”
“Definitely, throughout the OTAs speaking on the difference, it is a different game plan,” said Clayton. “I remember the days when I would catch one ball every two days. I would be coming in having done all that work to catch one ball and watch an hour of film and I’m not on it. To have everybody involved – it feels good. To be able to sit on the sideline and see the next group of guys come in and make plays it brings a whole lot more camaraderie because everybody wants to watch the film and everybody is getting an opportunity. We have that much more focus, and that much more people having success and allowing the players to learn from it, so that is why I think the young guys will do well here.”
“I think it was pretty even, if you aren’t in the game plan in practice don’t expect to be in the game plan during the game. That is the coaches mentality,” said Clayton. “I think it is like that on every team. I expect no surprises, really. I think the balls that I got were because of Jeff Garcia making plays, me staying with him, and him being able to roll out and him making a play and me making a play. We had a lot of that last year. That is where my success came from. It wasn’t where we are going to designate it ‘This ball to M80.’ It wasn’t like that, and I accepted that because that wasn’t my role last year and I couldn’t do anything about that last year. All I could do is make the best of my opportunity.
“I was blessed last year to have a pretty good season and help the team win some games. Getting back in there and help lead my team to what we would say was very successful first half or three quarters of the season. I’m proud of that, and I’m proud to be back. I’m proud to be a part of the change in this locker room, and proud to be part of what this team will be under the leadership of Coach Morris. Everybody respects him, and loves him, and everybody wants to see him do well, so in terms of as a leader on this team we have to make sure everybody falls in line with that. At the end of the day that is going to be the main ingredient of us winning a championship. I’ve seen it, and talked to the guys. Ryan Clark is a good friend of mine he is a safety on the Steelers, and went to LSU. I talked to him and worked out in Arizona with him and he said that is what it was: it felt like family. It was a family.” Source: PewterReport.com
It’s hard to say just how much more involved Clayton will be know that the doghouse is gone and the chain that was choking off his airway has been removed, but there are no more excuses for the former first round pick in which to use as a crutch for his lack of production, with a clean slate he will have to produce as a receiver and not an extra tight end to fend off what could be a one and done in Tampa.