“Well, you know, being a rookie, that’s one thing you have to have," George, the fifth-round draft choice, said following Sunday's training camp practice at SUNY Cortland. "You have to bring fire and energy every day to practice because that’s what the veterans are looking for. They want to see who is not going to hit that rookie wall. I just want to be one of those guys showing up on tape. I want to be that present reminder: OK, this guy, he’s going to go 100 mph every single day.”
George is sitting pretty deep on the depth chart behind WLBs
“I’m definitely getting direction from our veteran linebackers, whether it’s from Dave [Harris],
“Demario, he showed me more how to practice like a professional. He leads by example. He’s not so much a real rah-rah guy. He’s a guy who puts emphases on the little things because it’s the little things that make the big difference is what he always says.”
Love to see the coaching. In 9-on-7, rookie LB J. George doesn't wrap up. Rex instructs him quick & George comes back & executes perfectly.— Eric Allen (@eallenjets) August 10, 2014
George treats every day of camp as an opportunity to get better, soaking in everything that he possibly can from defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and head coach Rex Ryan.
“It’s crazy, you know. They are gurus at what they do. Every single day I’m like, what more can they teach me today? And then it’s a hundred different things that they teach and emphasize,” George said with a laugh. “And Rex? I love playing for him. I really do. I hope I can be around him for my entire career because not only does he bring the knowledge and the understanding of the game of football, he brings it to where it’s fun.”
And what says fun more than Sunday's opening warmups: a "dizzy bat" contest between the green-jerseyed defensive rookies and the offensive freshmen in white. Especially since George’s green team came away victorious.
When George got burned in the backfield during an 11-on-11 team drill by a quick jolt and a spin move, Rex was there to pull him over between plays.
“It’s nice to have a coach — a defensive coach, at that — that can pay attention to the little things and really help you become a better football player,” George said of the brief powwow with Ryan. “There was one tackle the running back spun out and I wasn’t able to bring my hips all the way through.
“And you know, sometimes it’s just ironic because the very next play I was put in the same position and I just did exactly what he said. I kept my hips in tight when the RB tried to spin, I put my leverage on him so he couldn’t go anywhere.”
George’s 180 on the play drew an enthusiastic shoutout from linebacker coach Bobby April: “That’s how you practice!”
But when gametime rolls around, there isn’t always a chance for a redo.
In his first game in the NFL, the former Cyclone had a tackle, but he also missed a few. As Jets senior reporter Eric Allen tweeted best, it was “baptism by fire” for the rookie, who got burned for a 12-yard TD reception by Dan “Boom” Herron at the preseason opener against the Colts.
As George continues to improve upon any hiccups he encounters in his first year as a professional football player, he is sure to keep up the positive mentality.
“I never try to get down on myself,” he said. “I mean, if you think about it, why be negative? Life is so beautiful. I think people get caught up in a lot of different things. But I’ve always tried to be an inspiration to others, an inspiration to my teammates, even an inspiration to myself. Because we all have those days when we’re tired, but you know, you just look in the mirror like, All right, what do I want to accomplish?
"It’s the game of football. It’s the greatest game you could ever play and this is the greatest job you could ever have. And I’m just so excited. I’m doing everything I can to make this team and actually make this team better. Whatever it takes.”
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