The Inside Slant

Running back Kenny Watson impressed the coaches as an undrafted free agent a year ago. They liked his instincts and vision, two requisites for a running back. But Watson still spent most of the year on the practice squad.

Then he had to impress a new staff--beating out one of the coach's former players. Now Watson is ahead of a second-round pick, too. But after rushing for 67 yards on 15 carries against the Colts, Watson is ready for more.

''It was a lot of fun on that last drive. It was like the whole offense and the game was on your back. We came together as an offense and decided we had to pound the ball and run the clock out.

''You could say it's a test to be in that situation. But we did it together. Our line did a great job blocking. I just had to be patient and find the holes and hit it.

''I'm more of a slasher, I use vision and cutting ability and quickness to my advantage. I was most impressed with how I ran physical against the Colts. On some runs I had to put my head down and get what I could.

''It felt good and it felt like you're in a zone. Everything seems to slow down and they start to come easy.

''But I didn't surprise myself. I'm confident in my ability. When your number is called you have to step up and play. That's what I'm here for.

''I like the way things are going. I have to continue to work hard and not get complacent. I know I can always get better and do better.

''I was only a running back here and there at Penn State. But this wasn't really an adjustment for me. That's what I feel my natural position is. We had a lot of guys at running back in college and we were thin at receiver so they came to me with that idea. But I was hoping someone would give me the chance to play running back in the NFL.

''I can look at this like I have something to prove. But I look at it as an opportunity to achieve a dream and do what I love to do. Being a running back is what I love to do. I think I can be a featured back. I just need a lot of work and experience to get in the position Stephen Davis is in.

''Stephen just picks you up all day. I've learned a lot from him, like the way he goes about the game, how he comes to practice and approaches everything.

''Right now I'm more patient. I'm trying to study more and learn what the defenses are trying to do. That helps out a runner a lot.

''I'm very excited [about possibly starting]. That's an opportunity I've been waiting for since I was growing up. I'm definitely looking forward to it.''


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