Player Diary

‘There's nothing better than run blocking and putting your guy on his back' Going into the bye week, I don't think we could have painted a better picture for ourselves. We're all excited about that. Those first four games are just the tip of the iceberg. You want to start off well. If you start off 1-3, you feel like you're trying to climb out of a hole the rest of the season, just fighting to get back to .500. We got a good start.

But we saw what happened last year. We were 4-1 last year and things came tumbling down quick. We have to really play hard these next four weeks to keep this momentum going.

I think knowing where we were last year and knowing where we ended up; I think a lot of the players remember that. We all know that this middle stretch of the season is very important; it's extremely crucial. The number one thing we have to do is stay healthy.

This offensive line is head and shoulders above where we were last year. Last season it was all new to us, it was a foreign system. Sure we had minicamp and training camp, but we didn't have game time. You can't replace practice time with game time. For us, just having that year under our belt has made us better. Dave Diehl has done a great job of moving again, and he's doing a great job at left guard. Kareem McKenzie's been a great addition. I really feel like we're starting to establish our identity as an offense.

I think with Eli and the receivers we've established that we're a threat down the field in the passing game. We started last year with Tiki in the running game. We're continuing to feed off what we did last year. We've added Brandon Jacobs to our short-yardage package, so that's a big help and added confidence and strength in our running game.

We hear some of the negative stuff said and written about our offensive line. We use it for whatever motivation we need, but then you let it go. It's like water off a duck's back. The same people that are patting you on the back when you're 3-1, if you lose two in a row, they're going to be the same ones that are stabbing you. You just take it for what it is. You're never quite as good as people say you are, but you're never as bad as they think you are.

I really like our offensive linemen. I'll start with Kareem. We have all kinds of names for him. We call him Big Kareem, Uncle Phil; they used to call him Mount McKenzie. Kareem speaks for himself. He's a mountain of a man. He's big, strong and when he gets his hands locked on a guy, he can really move him.

Chris Snee is one of our best linemen. He's the total package. We tease him a lot about his height. I think he and I are about the same height. But he really has great leverage. As an offensive lineman, that's key. The low man always wins. He does a great job. He's athletic. He's probably one of our best pullers too. He's feisty as well. He's pretty aggressive and gets pretty fired up.

Dave Diehl on the other side has done a great job. This is his third year starting, and he's had to switch positions every year. He's done a great job of making the transition. He really likes to run block. He likes mauling guys. He's a big hustler. You always see Dave running downfield and picking the ball carrier up.

Luke has the toughest position on the line. At left tackle, you're going against the best pass rusher on the other team. The way these ends improve every year, it's amazing. They weigh 275 pounds and run like they're 220. He has the toughest job by far. But I don't know that I've ever seen an offensive lineman as athletic at Luke's size. He has the fastest feet I've ever seen. He's country strong. We tease him that he has a farm out in Pennsylvania and he loves baling hay and chopping wood. When Luke gets his hands on you, it's pretty much over at that point.

He's a lot better than people give him credit for. You never know a left tackle's name unless he has a holding penalty or is offsides or is named Orlando Pace or Jonathan Ogden. Everyone wants that 6-7, 350-pound lockdown left tackle. Well, you know what? There's only about three of them in the league. I'd take Luke Petitgout any day.

As for the guy in the middle, I'd say that besides being the best looking guy of the group, I'd like to think I'm doing well. I'm not 320 pounds, I'm not going to maul anybody, but I think that I'm really quick. I try to use my quickness to my advantage. I've played long enough to where I think I'm a pretty cerebral player, I'm pretty smart. I try to use that to my advantage. I really try to understand the concepts of the defense. I read the coverage and read the safeties. I watch film with Eli two or three times a week so I know what he's seeing and he and I are on the same page. I love center because the other guys are counting on me to make the calls and know what's going on. I love the fact they're looking at me, and that I have a part in every one of their blocks too. But I love mixing it up. There's nothing better than run blocking, getting five yards and putting your guy on his back.

I like being in a role of leadership. I've always felt comfortable in that role. One thing that's great about being a leader is that you have a chance to help others when they need it. But the most important part of being a leader is not leading when you're winning and you're 3-1, but when you're 1-3. Being the guy to step up and say ‘hey, we've got to get this going and do this right.' Sometimes being a leader is also admitting that you've screwed up. Sometimes that's a tough job. I think our whole line is full of leaders. If anyone were to say I was the leader, it would probably be just because I'm more vocal with some of the line calls, more than anything. I do enjoy that a lot.

Mine has been a fun and interesting process from where I started to where I'm at now. The biggest thing is that I understand why I am where I am. I certainly wasn't a God-given talent that just stumbled on this and happened to be playing in the NFL. I'm here because I put in more work than the other guy. I was willing to give up everything that other guys weren't to be here and be doing what I'm doing right now. I love it. When you have that mentality of that's why you're here, you never take anything for granted.

Off the field, I love to cut it up. I love busting on people. I'm a huge movie guy. To me, a relaxing day is playing some video games and watching a couple movies. I'm a big homebody when I get out of here. If I had a favorite comedy to choose, I'd say "The Big Lebowski." As for an all-time great, I really like "The Last Samurai."

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