I took it all in as I stepped into the "Jones" to play another football game... but this time instead of Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas which has been my home field for four years, it was in the Edward Jones Dome for the preseason home opener. The first time to play in front my family at this level and in front of the home town fans of St Louis. It started with a bold entrance as I ran out through the smoke and flame. Welcome to the big show!
This game started a little slower for me. I was a little less nervous since I had one game under the belt and I knew not to get too revved up until it was closer to when I would go in. The 1's were to get more reps and with the increased safety depth I knew it could push me into the second half, which ended up to be the case. But either way I was prepared, focused, and ready to make my reps count. Special teams is a big emphasis for rookies to make the team and I knew I had to improve from last week. Well that improvement started with a bang as I had a partial block of a field goal that pounded off my left wrist and some how still managed to helicopter through the uprights. I was not happy to say the least that it went through, but it is motivating and encouraging for me to go get the next one. We had been working extra on field goal block all week through film study and techniques. It's a great feeling for both the coach and player when you take a drill from practice and translate it into a game. I also came up with several knock downs, where you put an opposing special teams player on the ground, in both punt return and kickoff return. On defense I managed to stay away from negatives on the grade sheet again and came up with some good tackles, one for a loss. Overall the objective of preseason games is to slowly prove yourself and move up the depth charts to earn a spot on the final roster. Only time will tell if I took a step forward, but for now I will continue the same process as always... study, perform, corrections, repeat. It is now getting down to crunch time as the training camp is breaking this week and cuts start to take place. Until next time!
-Student of the Game