Rookie Travis Wilson did almost nothing in his rookie year. He held out, was buried on the bench and finished with two catches for 32 yards. This year, he's in a battle for the third receiver spot with Tim Carter and Joshua Cribbs.
"It could be a significant role," GM Phil Savage said.
The OBR caught up with Wilson on Sunday, after a practice in which he dropped an easy throw from Charlie Frye 25 yards down the field. He's off to a rough start hanging onto the ball.
What are your expectations for this year?
Every day I'm out here battling for the spot. Obviously my No. 1 goal is to be No. 1, but with me competing, to fall short of No. 1, that leaves No. 2 or 3. Shooting for that spot is going to push everyone and bring out the competitiveness in everybody. That's what we're trying to get around here to keep everyone on edge, working and make everyone better.
It looks like the coaches are in your face a lot. Do you feel you get singled out?
Yeah. I feel they expect a lot out of me and that's what comes with where you get drafted at and that's something I like. I know they care about me and what they do expect of me, and they see big things. I know what I expect out of myself and the big things I can do. With them behind me and pushing me and working with me on the little things, it's hard, but tough love and I like that.
When you're competing for a job, does it make it harder when you drop a ball?
It's accountability. When you get a chance to make a play, whether it's a hard one or easy one, to me when the ball's your way you have to catch it. Whether it hits my hand or the defense is going to make a good play, I'm going to get mad at myself. Because I felt I let my teammates down and coaches, so that's why I demand excellence, 100 percent out of me all the time. That's why I'm so critical of myself.
Do you feel like last year was a lost year?
I can't look back at it in no negative way. I can only look at it as motivation for the future. Everything happens for a reason. Obviously it's not how I planned it to go. I learned a lot last year. The learning experience I got was incredible. Going against one of the best defenses out there in the NFL every day, competing, making plays and just learning from older guys. Then on the sideline, just not playing the game, from the outside you learn a lot, too. Overall, I felt like I became more of a complete player last year.
What are your impressions of Eric Wright?
I played against him in college in the Orange Bowl. To see him out here, he's got that niche. A corner's got to have that swagger, the way you move around on the field. He definitely has that, so now it's just a matter of him understanding the pace of the game, getting comfortable and believing in himself 100 percent, and he'll be a great player.