In the prelude to training camp, quarterbacks, rookies and the recovering wounded, get a small taste of what it’s like when the entire roster hits the practice field on Saturday afternoon. In the interim, rookie Tight End, James O’Shaughnessy, he brings big game credentials to a franchise that loves to run multiple tight end sets.
How the young man adapts to the pressure of his first camp remains a question mark. The only certainty on his plate today is the fact O’Shaughnessy is going to have to find his lane in dealing with the rigors of his first NFL training camp.
“Two weeks that is a long time at camp, but I think everybody is just counting down the days until we can actually get on the field in front of people and show KC what we actually have been doing,” the rookie tight end stated on Thursday.
The good news for O’Shaughnessy is that he comes to the Chiefs knowing he’s playing behind one of the games best. Sure he’d like to be able to push Kelce for a starters role, but that’s not likely. To his credit, he certainly isn’t conceding any playing time.
“I have a lot of goals. Some that I probably don’t wish to share with you guys, but I would definitely say I wish to play as much as I possibly can on offense, special teams and whatever they may need me on. I’m just trying to make the fifty-three man roster and steal as much playing time as I can,” O’Shaughnessy stated.
The last comment might have been the most revealing about his chances to make a contribution in 2015. Stealing playing time is exactly the goal for every rookie to make in gaining favorable impressions with the coaching staff. Ultimately, it’s your ability to be trusted on the field that separate good draft picks from bad ones.
At Illinois State, O’Shaughnessy was the teams most productive offensive weapon. In the NFL, and in particular with the Chiefs, he’s another rookie with upside, but ultimately void of experience. That doesn’t mean the kid can’t give the Chiefs offense another wrinkle, and as he stated today, he knows how to catch the ball.
In order to show that he can do something with the ball after he catches it, means he’ll have to face some mighty NFL defensive foes on the other side of the line the next few weeks, that will test his abilities.
“When the real guys come here and you go against them, you at least have some type of familiarity,” O’Shaughnessy said.
That means going against the likes of All Pro Linebacker, Derrick Johnson and fellow Pro Bowl player Safety, Eric Berry. Though he’s already seen a taste of playing against Berry, it’s nothing like going against the full compliment of Chiefs defenders.
O’Shaughnessy, like all the rookies, will have to wait until Monday when Head Coach, Andy Reid, puts the players in full gear. That’s when we’ll see, if the Division I primetime player, can hang with the big boys of the NFL.
“I think that’s when you are really going to see the speed of the game, the tempo of the game and the physicality of the game change. That’s when we really get to play NFL football,” he said.
If words count, it doesn’t look like O’Shaughnessy is going to back down from anything that he faces in training camp.