Player Diary: Mathias Kiwanuka

These first two starts haven't been perfect for me. I think Tampa Bay might have been a little better game than against Houston, but I'm not making the same mistakes. That's the biggest thing for me. Once something's corrected, get it corrected and move on and don't make the same mistake.

I feel comfortable with where my grades are, but obviously there's improvement to be made. The coaches haven't been jumping on my back but at the same time they're not exactly beating the drum either.

I would say that I'm pretty much where I expected to be. I feel good about where I'm playing, but I just don't want to stop making progress. I did well enough in my first two starts to be okay with it.

I've been doing fine against the run and I'm not surprised. I knew that people were saying all along that I couldn't play the run. I knew that I could so it wasn't the least bit surprising when I came out and played well. I was really looking forward to the Bears game because they are definitely a power team and that's a good way to test how you play against the run.

This is the opportunity that everybody wants. You want to be able to come in and learn everything about the game and then get your opportunity. This is what I asked for and it's what I got. I feel very comfortable and I'm ready to play.

I'm definitely still feeling the butterflies before games, but what has really stood out so far is that once that first snap goes, it's just back to playing football. Once you understand everything going into the game, once you line up and get that first hit, it's football again.

There is so much more preparation that goes on here. You want to be exactly on top of every single little thing that goes into the game. You replay the game over and over in your head so many times that by the time the game comes, you can actually foresee what's going to happen.

Once you adjust to the speed of the game there's a lot of studying that goes into it. There are a lot of tendencies in this game. They have a lot more time to prepare for you and you have a lot more time to prepare for them. So it's not always going to be that this formation means this and that formation means that. There's so much more knowledge that goes into the game because you have a lot more time. Easily the biggest difference between the college and pro game is that you can get away with a lot more in college. Up here, if you're even one inch out of place, it could cost you big-time.

I can't even begin to explain what a help Michael Strahan has been to me. From what to expect out of different formations to what to expect from reading the lineman's stance and hand placement, he's been a big help. It's an ongoing process, but fortunately he has some input for me in every phase of the game.

I understand that my opportunity isn't always going to be there and that eventually Osi (Umenyiora) is going to be back. But there's no looking over my shoulder. I just go out and play. It's his spot. When he comes back, they'll have a decision to make. But I'm just going to go full out and play my heart out until he comes back.

We'll see what happens when he comes back. I would hope that I've earned some additional snaps. That time's not here yet. The first two games that I started, I did decently, but if he's out for a couple more games the coaches are going to look at my entire body of work and not just what I did against Tampa Bay or Houston.

I made a lot of progress between my first and second starts. The more comfortable you get, the more snaps you get out there, things start to settle down and slow down for you. That's been the biggest key and help for me.

I've felt good so far and the fans have been great toward me. I know some people maybe didn't think we needed another defensive end. But now that we're in this situation and I've stepped up and had a couple good games, I think people are starting to warm up to me.

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