On veteran report day, Eric Reid spoke very much like a player who will suit up for his third season in the National Football League.
The San Francisco 49ers free safety was not shy about proclaiming his squad as a worthy Super Bowl contender in Jim Tomsula's first season as head coach.
"I kinda like being the underdog," Reid said when asked about the team's critics. "I think we respond well with our backs against the wall."
Reid then took it a step further.
"People will say we were a shock if we make it to the playoffs. They'll say, 'We shocked the world if we go to the Super Bowl.' And if that happens, I think that'll shock everybody but us," said Reid with a look of supreme confidence on his face. "I think we have what it takes on this team to go to the Super Bowl, and I'm not afraid to say that.
"That's our goal and that's what we'll be working towards this year."
Reid spoke in favor of his new coach, echoing comments made by wide receiver Anquan Boldin that Tomsula has made life easier for the veterans by adding more rest time before practices. San Francisco will also continue to employ up-tempo practices that will keep players on the go throughout the two-hour long sessions.
The 49ers will have 10 of 11 camp practices after 4:15 p.m. PT, and eight sessions inside of Levi's® Stadium to get the team better acquainted with its home turf.
"Coach Tomsula is the most genuine head coach I've ever had in my football career," Reid said. "If he says something, rest assured he's going to get it done… I think the guys respect that."
The 49ers safety went on to say that he's got a solid feel for new coordinator Eric Mangini, who many expect will utilize an aggressive brand of football with his 3-4 scheme.
"It is aggressive," Reid said. "It requires us to be confident in the guys next to us. I have a job to do and I gotta be confident that you're going to do what you're supposed to do so I can get my job done.
"I like the defense. I like the defense a lot, and we should be successful."
On the flipside, Reid sees a lot of talent from fifth-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many have observed the signal-caller's minor mechanical changes this offseason, but Reid noted that his passer has improved his touch passes.
"It's exciting to see," Reid, a 2013 Pro Bowler said. "Colin has a lot more weapons. He can spread the ball around. We have more deep threats this year obviously with Torrey Smith coming on the team this year. I think it takes a lot more pressure off of Vernon (Davis) and Anquan (Boldin). You can't double everybody. It'll be good for our offense. They should get the ball downfield."
Reid's teammates in the defensive huddle will feature new and old faces. The safety is confident in the team's upcoming cornerback battle as well as the selection of second-round safety Jaquiski Tartt, who could find his way onto the field as a rookie.
In addition, NaVorro Bowman's return to the field has everyone excited for the upcoming season.
"It's going to be awesome," Reid said of the team's defensive leader. "I had a front row seat my rookie year watching that guy. He's a beast. Some of the plays he and Pat (Willis) would make together were just ridiculous.
"You never want to see a guy get hurt, especially that type of injury, so it'll be great (to have him back), especially for me to see him back out there."
So with an improved camp schedule, talented players on both sides of the ball and a fresh mindset for the coming year, it's no surprise why Reid would make such bold comments before the first pass was even thrown at training camp.
"I think there's a different excitement surrounding the team," Reid said. "There's been some changes going on around here, but I think the guys are excited about it, looking forward to the season and looking forward to getting back on the field."