Last summer and throughout the 2011 season, cameras followed around the first-round pick from the tiny town in Canada everywhere. Danny Watkins, in many ways an oversized kid despite his 26 years of age at the time, wasn't used to all the attention. So coming off a promising rookie campaign that included 12 starts, Watkins is happy to no longer be the shiny new rookie.
"I've never been one for stepping into the spotlight," Watkins said after Wednesday's Organized Team Activity, "so it's kind of nice."
Now, Watkins is free to focus on improving on the field, where he lines up at right guard alongside three other returning starters on the offensive line. And as far as major differences go, Watkins is now afforded the benefit of a full offseason to hone his craft, unlike last summer when the former firefighter was, well, thrown into the fire.
"This definitely would have been nice to have last year," said Watkins. "(My knowledge of the offense) is kind of night and day. You're looking at the games from the beginning of the season to the end of the season and it's night and day. I'm hoping that this will kind of translate over into the camp and the season as well."
At right guard, Watkins is sandwiched between fellow second-year player Jason Kelce and veteran Todd Herremans, who himself is amid his first offseason as a primary right tackle. The relationship between Watkins and his two bookends, is, he says, quite strong.
"Jason and I have developed a really good chemistry and (Todd and I) had a really good chemistry last year as well," said Watkins. "So I think that's a big part of it and having Demetress (Bell) there, him and Evan (Mathis), you can tell that they've already started developing that as well, so (Bell's) doing good things for us too.
"I think Jason's a heck of a center, I think he's going to do a lot of good things here."
When it comes to the physical aspect of the game, Watkins says there is plenty of room for improvement, but he's hesitant to give away the specifics.
"Everything," he said. "I want to be a perfectionist."
If he's lucky, no one will notice.
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