King Is Ready To Prove Rookie Year Wasn't A Fluke

When a rookie comes into the league, he isn't expected to play right away. In fact, he is lucky if he gets any playing time unless a team is totally out of the playoff picture. The notion that coaches want to "ease players" into the league and not expect too much resonates throughout the NFL.

Shaun King not only played but excelled in his rookie year. King, who got a chance to play because of injuries, led the Bucs to the NFC Championship game in his rookie year. So you see, not only did King play but he was very successful. Naturally the bar in terms of expectations went through the roof for the following season. And when expectations aren't met, speculation of talent also rises.

"If you know me, I am not the kind of guy to make excuses. But it's tough coming in here every year trying to learn a new offense." King, who has gone through three different offensive co-coordinators in his first three years - each implementing their own system - looks and feels more comfortable early on this year. "This is the first year I am in the same system and I really have a greater understanding of what we are trying to do." 

King, who might be for all intensive purposes a victim of his own early success, is anxiously anticipating his shot in proving his worth in this his second year in the west coast offense. Although he is only signed to a one-year deal and is a backup, he understands he could be playing for teams in search of a starting quarterback next year, making this years performance all the more important.

The Bucs currently have four quarterbacks on their roster, but Shaun has been getting more and more repetitions in camp. Granted some part of that has to do with Jim Miller being sidelined. Nevertheless, Shaun is making the most of his chances. "That's one thing Jon (Gruden) eluded too. I am very happy to get the extra work." When asked about the competition in camp against the Bucs stellar defense, King offered these thoughts, "They have been recognized as one of the elite defenses in the league the last couple of years and we're trying to accomplish that on offense. We're trying to achieve that kind of level of success. We feel like if we are successful against them, then we can do much better against the other defenses in the league." 

So how does he look early on in camp? King looked more than comfortable, making quick decisions with the football while throwing the ball with excellent velocity. His familiarity with not only the system but with the players is truly evident. Brad Johnson is a great quarterback but he is injury prone, especially with an offensive line that has had its share of issues. One should not only expect Shaun to be ready, but expect him to play well.

Defensive newcomer Dwayne Rudd looks like a good fit:

Linebacker Dwayne Rudd looked good after being treated for dehydration issues a few days ago. Returning to get his first workout in pads, Rudd looked impressive flying to the football while trying to grasp linebacker reads pertaining to crossing tight ends and backs coming out of the backfield. You could see a little bit of uncertainly in the veteran's drops. But like everything, getting accustomed to all the linebacker terminology and reads will take time. However I loved his aggressiveness flying into the holes during drills. Rudd, who is expected to see significant playing time, is known as an excellent cover linebacker who is also tough enough to stop the run. In the cover two however, the defensive scheme that has been so successful entails just as much smarts as it does aggression. It also stresses the importance of being aware of the many responsibilities in different offensive sets. That's what really needs to be learned. But make no mistake, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin knows he has a fast and very instinctive veteran added to his already outstanding linebacker core.

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