I am a lot more comfortable here in my second NFL camp in terms of the feeling of proving that you can play in the league. That's probably the biggest thing coming in as a rookie and you end up messing up because of it. The thing about it is once you get that out of the way; you really can focus on more important things.
Coming into this camp, I didn't feel like I had to prove my toughness, being a smaller back. I have to focus on the little things, just making sure I've got the offense down and reading defenses a lot better. I am a lot more comfortable and, to be honest, just as much credit has to go to my coaches and teammates. I mean, they have done an excellent job at making feel welcome and making me feel like I am already part of the team and we haven't even played a preseason game yet.
Eagles training camp is tougher than the one I had with the Dolphins. I mean that because we're here going full pads everyday and tackling to the ground. That's something that we rarely did in Miami and I think a lot of teams rarely do that around the league. I'm not saying that Miami's camp was easy because it definitely wasn't. My running back coach was Bobby Jackson at the time, so anybody who knows who that guy is knows it's going to be hard for anything to be easy. But the camp as a whole wasn't as physically demanding on your body. But I think there are positives and negatives to both, it's just a matter of how you look at it.
Coming into a preseason game, it's not really going to be an adjustment when you finally do get tackled. I mean I understand that people are going to hit me. The NFL is tough. It's hard enough trying to finish the regular season without having an injury. But again, you're just a little more poised coming into a preseason game; it's not as shocking. I think I'll be a little more prepared than I was last year.
I have been waiting to be used in an offense like this for half a decade. Now I'm in this situation, so I am fired up. I just have to stay away from Mike P (Patterson) and I'll be alright. I've been waiting to be used like this for a long time and I am more excited when I come to practice now, knowing that I'll be able to do all the things that I've been wanting to do. Everybody wants to be in an offense that's going to exploit their best attributes.
This is the perfect situation for me, so I just try to come out and make sure that when I am watching tape I am doing everything that I can do to make that happen.
To take the next step, I have to improve everything. And as I say that, I am not trying to be politically correct. That's how I look at my game. There is nothing that I can't do better. Obviously there are some things that I do better than others, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve just as much attention. Whatever I am doing I just try to go out there and work hard, and focus on the small things because in this league everybody is a professional and the small things are what win and lose football games.
Coming into camp, I wanted to limit my mental mistakes. Everybody in this league can play. They wouldn't be here if they couldn't. The difference, I think, between the NFL and college is just the mental aspect of the game. Being able to recognize defenses and coverages, which is new for me because this is the most I have ever been spread out wide. So now I have to focus on coverages a lot more too, but just limit the mental mistakes. Warrick Dunn told me while I was at Florida State to slow my mind down. He constantly told me that. Your body will move at the same speed but you have to slow the game down in your head and your play will be a lot more effective.