For many rookies, the mini-camps that precede their first training camp is when they have to get used to new teammates, coaches and terminology, and often entirely new offensive or defensive schemes.
Rookie Dallas DE Marcus Spears had a slight advantage over many of the
other first-year players at Valley Ranch at last month's rookie
mini-camp and this weekend's full-team mini-camp. After all, two of his college
teammates already were on the Dallas roster, and shared their knowledge
with Spears before his arrival.
LB Bradie James and OL Stephen Peterman played with Spears at LSU, and
Spears said he talked with each before heading to Valley Ranch.
"They shot straight with me," Spears said. "Bradie and Peterman -- they
were already here. They told me about the coaches and what is going to
be expected. I'm very appreciative of what they told me."
Spears said he actually had another advantage : having played his
college ball under former LSU (and current Miami Dolphins) head coach
"There's really not a big difference," Spears said when asked to
compare Saban to his new head coach, Bill Parcells. "They both want the
best from you and the best from the team. They both know and understand
what you can do. To get that out of each player, they're going to tell
you the truth, they're going to treat you fair."
Despite having had the advantage of talking with James and Peterman,
and having played for a college coach with NFL experience, Spears is
does not feel comfortable yet in terms of his readiness for the season,
or even for training camp this summer in Oxnard, Calif.
"I'm a lot more comfortable than I was last month (at the team's April
mini-camp)," Spears said. "But I've got a long way to go. I'll keep
talking to (Peterman and James), but I've just got to keep working
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