Rookie Diary

'I can't wait to get on the field and make my first play.'

The first couple days up here in Albany have been fast, but very productive. It's been good. I just want to keep making plays and making everybody around here happy. I do still feel like a rookie, but I'm starting to get to the point where I feel a little better and I'm making plays. I think Coach is starting to feel comfortable with me and that's good.

The tempo of practice here is really fast. We're all grown men and we're all moving, so if you make a mistake it could really hurt your team. I think I fit in well with the other defensive linemen. We talk together and communicate well together; we're learning and we're all making plays.

This is so much different than a college training camp because everybody here is good. These are grown men here and everybody is trying to feed their kids and now that I'm on this level I really understand that now.

Ever since I was drafted it's been nothing but football for me. That's been a bit of a change, but obviously nothing that I mind doing. I don't have as much free time or time with my family, but when I get a chance I call them to check in with them. I'll have some of my friends up to camp, but no one really from my family. I have family in New Jersey but they're working so I'm not going to bother them too much.

I was very happy to get to camp on time. I really wasn't worried about that at all because I knew my agent (Bill Johnson) and that's his job – he needed to do what he needed to do. I just knew that everything would get done and that I'd be up here on time. It was really important for me to be here on time. I didn't want to lose anything, so being here on time and being able to pick up everything right from the beginning and not lose a day or two was great.

Once I started playing Pop Warner I wanted to play in high school. Then I played high school (Santa Fe High School in Alachua, FL) so I wanted to play college. Then I played college (East Carolina) and I wanted to play in the NFL. I wanted to see how it's done and how they did it and now I'm so glad that I'm here.

I'd like to think that I'm a player that my teammates and coaches can trust. I'm a player that can stop the run up the middle and a player that can make plays to help get our defense off the field.

It hasn't been too bad being a rookie – so far at least. I had to sing, buy some snacks. But that's a tradition; next year I'll be making other rookies do that and the year after too. I sang R. Kelly's "The World's Greatest" in the cafeteria. It was pretty well-received. It seemed like they liked it. I've been carrying Chris Canty's helmet off the field after practices; that's really it. No pads, just the helmet.

I'm cool with Barry (Cofield), Chris (Canty); I'm cool with all the vets, everybody that knows something. I want to learn. I'm a sponge right now, I want to learn everything and soak it all up. You're fighting for a job, but at the end of the day you want to win games. If you're going to help them win games, they're going to help you.

On Saturday (Aug. 7) I had a couple of plays where I really felt comfortable. I was looking and I felt like I knew what play was coming, or I just saw something that told me what play was coming. I felt like ‘I can do this.' I have to stop thinking so much and just play football.

I feel like I know the playbook pretty well. I can't say that I know everything because we haven't put everything in yet. But I think I know a lot, as much as a lot of people do. I think I'm okay with the plays and helping each other out. I think I'm in a good situation right now.

Camp has probably been tougher for me mentally than it has been physically. Just trying to get the plays, and make plays and trying to do everything right. It's physical, for sure, but it's more so from a mental aspect. It's a double combination of both hitting you at the same time.

I'm pumped up for our first game. I'm so pumped – I just can't wait until the day comes. I can't wait to get on the field and make my first play. I'm ready and determined and I'm just going to continue to prepare myself for the first game. Hopefully I'll do something and we'll do well.

Off the field, I'm a pretty laid-back person. If I'm not doing something with football, I'd still probably be lifting weights. I just like to play games and relax.

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