10 THINGS I THINK I THINK
1. I think I’m at my best as a wild card on defense, being used at multiple spots on the field, as strange as that might sound. That’s what the team has laid out for me, and I think that will be a good thing. I like the idea of being the guy other teams have to look out for.
2. I think I’m still figuring out which pass-rush moves will be most effective in the NFL. I usually use a dip-and-rip off the edge, and it’s pretty effective, but at the same time I have been learning a lot from Tuck and Woodley since I got to Oakland. I have a long arm that I think will be effective as well. We’ll see when we get into pads. But I have to be careful what I say for my opponents who might read this.
3. I think Tuck makes rushing the passer look easy, and he’s helping me get there. He told me I need to work on using my hands off the edge, because if I don’t, I’m making it a lot harder for myself than it needs to be. That’s what I was working on from that day on, and I think it was helping. I’m going to try to meet up with him during the break before training camp to keep working.
4. I think I want to cover tight ends like Woodley does. He was telling me that he had success on tight ends by just bullying them. “Are you strong enough to bully them?” he asked me. I told him, “I’m strong enough to bully them.” He said instead of using finesse coverage, he just beats them up. I can do the same thing.
5. I think I have a couple guys on my sack list: AFC West resident Peyton Manning, fellow Class of 2014 member Blake Bortles, and I’ve got to put Tom Brady on there. Brady is going to pass the ball more than 36 times a game, so that’s a lot of opportunities for me.
6. I think my biggest motivation is something my dad always told me, even back in elementary school and middle school: There is somebody out there working harder than you and trying to take what’s yours. In the NFL, that rings even more true. There are guys working every day to take your place and your role, so when your name is called, you’ve got to make the most of it.
7. I think my first impression of Oakland was, “Wow, the weather out here is nice.” It’s a lot different from where I was in Buffalo.
8. I think one of the games I’m most looking forward to is our trip to London in September to play the Dolphins. That’s going to be pretty unique. It will be my first time in England, and to be going there as an NFL player is a blessing.
9. I think as a rookie it’s important not to keep making the same mistakes. During OTAs and minicamp, I did whatever I could to avoid that. I’d come into the facility during my down time to watch film or work back at the hotel, trying to fix both the big things and the little things.
10. I think I need to memorize a song before training camp, just in case. There was a day when I had to take a physical right off the practice field, so I came into a meeting a little bit late. I started getting booed, and the guys had me walk to the front to sing a song, but I was nervous and I couldn’t think of one. I’m probably going to have to make up for that.