Rookie Diary: Mathias Kiwanuka

Making some plays in Baltimore was real big for me, personally. I'm seen as a pass rusher so I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to prove that's why they brought me in here and also go above and beyond that and prove that I can do everything. It was a good starting point in a sense for the fans and everyone to see that I do have some talent.

I'm happy with the way things went that night for me, but I understand that I need to keep focusing on what I need to. I know that pass rushing is one of my strong points, but I need to become a better player all around.

I got a whole bunch of phone calls after that game. I heard I was on SportsCenter. But it wasn't like the two big phone days – when I got drafted and then when I signed my contract. The phone was really crazy those days.

I'd have to say the biggest eye opener of camp for me just happened today (Aug. 14). I covered Shockey man-to-man today. That was quite an experience. I haven't gone man-to-man on a tight end or a receiver in a really long time – not since high school. I've been on backs a little bit but they just really run little patterns in the flats. And he's not just any tight end. Everyone says he's just speed, but he's pretty strong too. It was definitely a memorable experience. I was lined up on him, he looked up and saw it was me and gave me a little smile. That's an exciting part of the game.

So is being around Michael Strahan. I learn a lot from him, so much. He's great at offering help all the time. He's always very vocal and looking to help.

We're jumping back into the playbook pretty strong now. Going into the first game they took a lot of the plays out. During camp, you're focusing on a whole bunch of plays, but you only focus on specific things for the game. These practices and days in between the games have been all about continuing to study and learn. I'm still trying to get everything down and get all the alignments and assignments right.

Honestly, I think it's going pretty well so far. It is obviously a big step forward. The main goal is to try not to make the same mistakes over and over again. If I make a mistake, they'll correct it once. But if you make the same mistake again, you're really going to hear about it.

These are pretty long days up here. But I'm not going to cry about it – it's tough. It's a lot different from college. We'd probably be a game in already if this were college. I knew the situation was coming and I did all I could to prepare for it. I've tried to keep my body fresh and fortunately I have youth on my side. I feel good, it's just a matter that there are a lot of new things coming at me. I'm ready to play.

I've been lucky because I really haven't had that really bad day yet. I remember during my freshman year of college I definitely had a couple of really awful days, but here it hasn't hit me yet.

We had that really hot stretch at the beginning of camp. I certainly wasn't expecting that. I was joking with one of my friends (Bucs OL Jeremy Trueblood) who was going to Tampa Bay, ‘good luck with the heat' but we got hit pretty hard up here too. I didn't really know exactly what to expect on a daily basis. If they said we had to run 10-mile gassers, I would have thought, ‘OK, guess this is the NFL.'

It hasn't been that hard being the top pick up here. Of course, I've had to sing a couple times, but I expected that. We sang in college. I knew it was going to come back to me because I used to always make all the freshmen sing. Everyone's been pretty good. They'll ride me once in a while about being the top pick but there hasn't been anything negative.

I understand at some point the D-line will be dining on me. At least I have Barry Cofield who was also drafted. That should soften the blow for me some. It's great having him around. Our lockers are right next to each other. Our only experience was back in college so that's kind of become our catch phrase. It's good to have the young guys like Barry around, but it's also good to have the experienced guys as resources. I think where Osi is right now is real helpful because he's not too old to where he's already forgotten what it was like but he's still old enough that he's turned that corner as far as productivity and everything.

I'm living with Guy Whimper. Visanthe Shiancoe is the veteran that has his own room. Gerris Wilkinson and Darcy Johnson are in the other room. I like the setup. It's good. Gerris and I were roommates during the OTAs this offseason and I got to know Guy pretty well during the rookie symposium. Shiancoe's a great vet to have – he helps us all out.

That's really how you have to be. You all have to help one another. We're all a team here. When I was a sophomore at BC, the captain that year was a real social guy that wanted to get to know everyone on the team. So when I became a captain my junior year, I wanted to do the same thing. You don't have to go out and hang out with everybody all the time, but maybe go have lunch with one of the younger guys. That was something I loved to do back in college.

Now I have all my D-linemates here. Something interesting that Strahan said is it's really not about the money. Once you make the money, you realize what you're going to miss – playing on Sundays and being around all the guys. I really enjoy spending time with all these guys. I want to get to know as many people as I possibly can.

One thing guys around here are starting to learn about me is that I'm the king of stupid jokes. That surprises a lot of people because I'm so relaxed and laidback. I came out with a stupid joke one Friday before a game at BC and we won the next day so I had to try every Friday to come out with the dumbest joke I could find. I haven't started that yet here, but slowly but surely it'll come.

The Giants Beat Top Stories