Coming off of the high of my first NFL game, we headed back to Rams Park for another long week of training camp. I was confident from my play but was hit with a depth chart change the first practice back. Another safety was back now from injury and I was bumped down to the 3's on defense and special teams for the second time this training camp. This was like a gut check and as much as I tried not to be, I was frustrated and it showed negatively in my practice. I knew I had not gotten bumped down because of my play, so I just had to keep working and focus on myself because in football there will inevitably be some highs and lows... good days and bad days. Rookies especially don't know where they stand in the coaches eyes so we are especially hard on ourselves. I have to stay off this rookie roller coaster and produce consistently to earn a roster spot. I came in the next few days with a renewed mind set and really focused on making the most of my reps, practicing at a high level, and finishing. As FAITH would have it, I began to rotate in with the 2's and improved greatly as the week went on. This is yet another reminder to not worry about stuff you can't control and things will work out like they are supposed to. Overall the week of practice was good and the weather couldn't have been better. We actually had a rainy practice and while it was pouring we practiced on low tackling where we dove at a dummy and landed/slid on a mat... which turned into a football slip n slide! Training camp always comes with some pleasant surprises.
Along with the football meetings, we also have informative meetings covering various aspects of being in the NFL and guides to help you be successful. Wednesday we had the unique opportunity to get tips about handling the media by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. He gave us an entertaining yet informative presentation about handling the media and answering the tough questions. Ari was faced with some of the toughest questions by the nastiest reporters on a daily basis in the White House. After his presentation he was open to questions and was asked by one of the coaches about his 9/11 experience when he was serving as press secretary. Everyone in the room including myself was captivated by hearing first hand what happened behind the scenes that day. Ari was by President Bush's side when it happened and from the moment his beeper went off notifying him of the attack to being in the underground bunker in the White House he described in detail of his experiences that day. Nobody forgets where they were that day and I can still remember watching it in Stephenville Elementary on the news. I was happy to hear his story and gain some helpful tips on handling the media, even though I will never have to face something as difficult as Ari had to.
Another week of work is in the books and preseason game 2 is tomorrow. Green Bay is coming to town for the home opener and my first time to play in front of our fans. I will be facing former teammate and Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, so hopefully I can go back to my red shirt days on scout team and get another interception from him! Lol... Whoever I am facing and however many reps I get, I will play my hardest and look to improve off my first game. From Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, TX to Edward Jones Dome in St Louis, MO. It's my first game in the new Jones!
-Student of the Game