Yo, Gridiron... What's goin' on with ya!?
Yesterday I came at you guys with a request to send me some questions, and you pulled through for me in full effect.
The first question I've picked to answer came from my boi, Tommite622. Actually, he asked a couple questions. Here they are...
- "Coming from a smaller college program like Louisiana-Monroe, how hard was it to adjust to the speed of the game when you first got to the NFL?"
- "Since you're a former (backup) punter, have the Bears ever asked to see your skills?" (I'm gonna save this question for a later date. Hope you don't mind, Tommite622.)
Was it tough to adjust to the speed of the NFL after coming from ULM? ...Well, let's just say that it was a pretty interesting experience for me.
When I first entered the NFL, the pace of the game was definitely much faster. Offensive linemen were moving like linebackers, tight ends were moving like wide receivers, etc., and I had to adjust to the quickness of the NFL experience in a hurry. But, you know, that adjustment was expected. Anytime you move from a lower level of play to a higher level of play, things are going to become more demanding. It doesn't matter what profession you're in, that's just how things work when you're moving up the ladder of your career.
Honestly, though, I'd have to say the biggest challenge I faced during my move to the NFL wasn't a physical one, it was more mental. Learning the defense and making sense of the schemes the coaches wanted us to understand was what made the game slow down the most. The more I studied my playbook and watched film, the quicker I was able to forget the slower pace of college ball and become more comfortable with the NFL's speedier style of play.
If I had to give some advice to an NFL rookie on making the transition to the big show, it would be to study your playbook as much as possible and watch all the film your brain can handle of the defensive schemes your team has been running in the past. Also, you gotta ask the people around you a ton of questions! Never feel like your questions are bad ones - just ask them! The best thing you can do as a rookie is absorb as much information as you can from the players and coaches who have been on the team a long time.
So there you have it, Tommite622. I hope that answer was good enough for ya. Come back tomorrow and I'll have some more insight for you guys.
(Oh, and Tommite... Email me a secret phrase and your mailing address to KevinPayneNFL at G Mail dot com, and then type that same phrase in your SBNation profile's "About Me" section. I'll match them up to verify you as an autograph recipient. Thanks, man.)