On re-signing with the Saints….
It's a tremendous blessing not only to be able to continue my football career, but to be a part of a great organization like the Saints. It's a blessing.
How would you describe your NFL journey?
In a nutshell, it's unpredictable. As a lot of people second, it's an unpredictable league. You never know what can happen, when it could happen or why it could happen. There are many reasons behind things that happen in the league, whether it's a transaction, another opportunity or whatever it may be. You have to be able to adjust on the fly and take advantage of whatever opportunity you may be given.
I feel like the guys who are capable of doing that are able to play in this league for a long time.
Did you ever have a chip on your shoulder?
No doubt about it, I think about that every day, especially having been out of football for a whole season the year after I came out of college. I was still trying to find a niche and ended up signing with the Packers, which was a blessing. Even there, the journey doesn't stop, the grind doesn't stop. You have to constantly remind guys why you belong and continue to compete every single day. That chip is always going to be there and it's a constant reminder.
Have you found that niche, that thing you can contribute to teams?
To be honest, I don't think I can pinpoint it on anything. I'm just a big competitor. When I'm on the field, whatever I'm asked to do, I want to do it at the highest level possible. I want to compete play in and play out, whenever it's special teams or defensively, and make the most of my abilities.
What part of your game has improved during your four years in the league?
I feel like I'm a guy who's constantly developing, special teams and defensively. I feel like I've taken a huge step special teams-wise, being able to grasp schemes and compete play in and play out. I look forward to being able to add some ability defensively, stepping up in whatever I'm asked to do. I'm the kind of guy who is always willing to compete and make the most of my abilities.
What do you want to improve on?
I'm constantly working on all aspects of my game. Whether that be feet, power, explosiveness, whatever that may be. I do want to put more of that into a defensive role if I can. Like I said, I put the team first in every aspect of being a teammate, so whatever I'm asked to do, I want to do it to the highest ability. If I'm asked to run the ball, I'm going to do the best of my ability. I definitely want to contribute to anything I can, special teams or defensively, I just want to do it at a high level.
What do you like most about playing special teams?
The thing about special teams, that a lot of people forget, it's not like playing offense or defense. While you do your best into every play on the field, offensively or defensively there are times where you don't have your best plays, but thank God there's a second and third down, potentially. The thing about special teams is it's a four to six second play and you need your best every time. If you're not at your best every time, something really, really big could happen that could swing the game, whether it's a turnover or something that is good for your team. You get a chance to compete at a very high level. It's a very high intensity play.
How much preparation goes into special teams?
There's a lot. It's definitely underrated in terms of how much goes into it. In terms of trying each scheme week to week and trying to grasp each team's style of play, it's definitely a lot to get adjusted to trying to capitalize on the opportunities that may arise after watching film. There's a lot that goes into it. Being able to run full speed for a long period of time and you have to adjust on the fly.
How has the moved up kickoff spot affect that part of the game?
I wouldn't necessarily say it hurt the game, but at the same time, I think it has taken some of the excitement out of it. You see guys over the years who have been able to make game-changing plays in the return game. Guys like Devin Hester, Cordarelle Patterson. Being able to change the game in just one play like that, a play where guys aren't expecting much to happen. And it's not just those guys, it's the other 10 guys. A lot of those guys make their living on something like that. For guys like me, it's something that you're not excited to see because it's an opportunity taken off the table. At the same time, you have to make yourself valuable to the team and grow as a player.
Have you been able to meet your new special teams coach Bradford Banta?
Not yet, but I do look forward to it. And I'm excited about that.
What are your plans for the remainder of the offseason?
I'm definitely just trying to get ready for the season, trying to get my body in the best shape possible. I've been blessed to become a new dad recently, so I've been spending a lot of time with my little man here. I'm just looking forward to the season.
Have you had the chance to explore New Orleans?
Not much. That's something I do look forward to later on, but my primary focus is just adding to the team as much as possible and try to be a part of something special.