Veteran safety Antoine Bethea characterized things as looser — which I take as a telling word. Manning and Bill Polian weren’t especially big on looseness. It was a disciplined, serious atmosphere, and that was typically effective for the franchise. Last year as things crumbled with Manning sidelined, the tension level was too high and it was a factor in Jim Irsay’s decision to part ways with Polian.
Things are working somewhat differently now.
“It’s very lively around here, eveybody’s joking,” Bethea said. “We’ve got a job to get done, and (Pagano’s) making sure we know that. But at the same time we can have fun with it. …We’re just having a real good time learning the concepts.