Every rookie entering into the NFL is going to have a learning curve of some kind. The speed of the game is different, the terminology is different than what they had in college, the playbook is more complicated and they have to work with players they do not really know. The rookies are going to make mistakes and the coaches understand that, but the important part is how quickly they are able to learn from and correct those mistakes.
Minnesota Vikings seventh-round draft pick Jayron Kearse believes he is off to a good start at correcting the mistakes he has made. The team is holding its rookie minicamp this weekend and he said that coaches have already been complimenting him on this ability to pick things up quickly.
“A lot of (the coaches) were complimenting me on some of the things, on improvement from this morning’s practice,” the safety explained Friday afternoon. “But it’s just about putting my eyes on the right thing. Just doing the right things and carrying myself the right way. When you see something, if you’re going to do it, go at it full speed. I could be the wrong thing but if you’re going to mess up, mess up full speed.”
Kearse knows that in this early stage the key part to impressing the coaches is to listen to what they are saying and try to translate it out onto the field. While he was on the sideline you could see some coaches working with him on some footwork things, but he said the main thing they were working on with him is making sure his eyes are on the right thing.
One reason that he was able to pick up on the coaching so quickly was because he dedicated a lot of time to learning the Day 1 installs of the playbook they gave them. If a player is comfortable and not worrying about where they are supposed to be on the field at any given time, then they are able to focus on fixing the little things they are doing wrong.
Each player only gets one chance to make a first impression with any coaching staff and Kearse feels as though he left a good one following the first day of camp.
“I think I made a pretty good first impression,” he said. “I don’t know what the coaches are thinking, but I think overall I came out and had a pretty good day.”
According to head coach Mike Zimmer, Kearse may have even made a good first impression before he ever took the field. The rookie safety measures in at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and Zimmer loves that about him.
“He’s a big athlete that moves well,” Zimmer said. “I think he had an up-and-down season, honestly, but I’m excited to work with big athletes.”
Kearse is hopeful that he can earn the starting job next to Harrison Smith once the season starts. He is definitely going to be a long shot to make it, but it appears he is off to a good start.