I’m feeling really good about where we stand as a football team right now. So far, so good. We’ve gone through two games and we’re getting ready for our third one in Dallas.
We just broke camp on Wednesday. Although we still have two preseason games left, this means that guys who have houses here in St. Louis can go home rather than staying at the hotel.
I do think that staying in the hotel for a few weeks during the camp is beneficial. It allows for you to get to know new teammates and rekindle relationships with old teammates. It builds camaraderie. We start to form that trust that you need going into the season as a football team because the strength of the team is built upon your relationships with each other.
Some guys are still staying at the hotel, but I get to go home and sleep in my own bed at night, which is nice. Outside of the living situation, my routine stays the same. It will probably remain the same the rest of the season. I try to get to facilities early anyway so I can do whatever I need to, like watch extra film or work more with the trainers to just stay on top of my body.
There’s no such thing as two-a-days anymore, those are a thing of the pas. But we still have very long days.
We typically get to the facility around eight in the morning, and I won’t leave the facility until about 8:30 at night. So it’s a 12-hour day. I start with a lift in the morning three days a week, but a lot of it is meetings.
Coach Fisher has assembled a really good coaching staff. Pretty much everyone has a lot of coaching experience either in the NFL or the collegiate ranks. They were all highly sought by other organizations and programs, so for coach Fisher to bring them all here and assemble this staff is great for us. It allows for guys to grow.
We spend a lot of time in individual practice working on the fundamentals of football. When you’re able to apply that type of technique to things and have coaches coach you up that are very versed in certain areas of the game, it helps the team get better overall.
In the film room, we’re continually going over assignments and breaking down film on every guy. That’s kind of what makes it lengthy because coaches are evaluating each and every player.
At this point, we have six running backs and four fullbacks, so there are 10 people plus coach Ben Sirmans in the running backs room. I have my film looked at first, but we all sit there and watch each others’ corrections, and doing that helps.
Coach Sirmans asks for my input during each session. I always try to talk to those guys from the perspective of how I see things on the football field, what I’ve known to happen or what a particular team might do. I’m going into my ninth season, so I’m pretty well versed in all the teams and all the coordinators, what type of sets they like to run or in the case of a particular defensive player, what’s his favorite move when he’s blitzing the quarterback. It’s those things that coach Sirmans may not have because this is his first year in the NFL.
I’m pretty sure it’s been a huge adjustment for him. In college football you have to deal with recruiting, making sure to count your hens, that everyone is accountable and gets where they’re supposed to be, doing what they’re supposed to do on the field and academically. In professional football, the basics are pretty much known, and we spend more time on schemes.
A coach has to make sure he keeps guys involved. You can’t allow it to get boring or to the point where guys feel like they know everything there is to know. That can lead to mistakes on the football field.
Out of all the running back coaches I’ve had, Coach Sirmans has the most drills for us to run, and a lot of them are things that can actually translate over to the football field.
We’re going through drills where we’re making guys move in the open field or making certain cuts in the hole. They’re not the typical running back drills. He has a couple of things that he allows me to work on and I’ve seen it translate on the practice field and hopefully it continues into the game.
I also help out by relating information to the younger players so they can better understand it. Coach Sirmans may be talking about a certain concept and I can help drive it home. It’s all about communication.
Not only am I there to help the young guys who we’re trying to groom, but I watch the coaching points that Coach Sirmans might have for a young player. It helps me to be mindful of the same things. He and I have really worked well together so far. We talk about being very consistent in my abilities, and going from there. I think we’ve done a good job so far.