Let’s get something straight right off the top — I don’t like to lose if I’m playing my grandmother in chess.
I’m a sore loser, so last year was hard for me. We don’t want to lose, that’s not us. We don’t go out there on the field to lose. At the same time, it was a great learning experience for the team and me. You can’t dwell on the loss or a bad play. Short-term memory is key and I fully understand that now. You have to take the hits, push forward and correct your mistakes.
It’s crazy to think that this will be my second season, but just looking back on my first training camp, there isn’t one memory that stands out. We’re all just out there grinding, working and jelling with the guys while trying to get ready for the season.
This year, I can already tell you one big difference for me — I didn’t pack a lot of clothes. Last year, I had two duffle bags filled to the brim with clothes and it just clustered up my room. I’d like to consider myself a fashionable guy, but this is not the time or the place for that. This year I just have about five t-shirts and a LOT of underwear.
Jokes aside, last year I was just so focused on trying to learn the playbook. I wanted to be perfect in everything to make a good impression on my teammates. I was anxious, but it was exciting. And I definitely didn’t realize how fast it would come and go.
When I first joined the team after being drafted, obviously there was pressure. Shoot, there still is pressure just based on what happened last season. But it’s truly an honor to be a part of this organization and I embrace my role in helping the team win games and being a leader in the locker room.
I know what to expect this year, so I’m a lot calmer entering camp. Don’t think for a second that I’m not going to be mentally locked in. You already know I’m going to bring that same energy and swagger that you’re used to. To be honest, I think the sky is the limit for me, but I also feel that way about this team.
I’ve been vocal in telling people to not sleep on the New York Jets for a while now, but everybody isn’t going to respect you in the outside world. They’re going to judge you on a bad play, a missed tackle, a dropped pick. They’re going to judge you on everything. Like last year, we just worry about what’s going on in this locker room and block out the outside noise.
But this is where it starts for us. If we do the little things right, we’ll be successful. We have to play as One Team One Goal and we’ve been building that since the start of the offseason program. Take it one day at a time and tackle your goal each day.
I’m excited for this second year, for this team. As long as we stick together, not worry about the outside noise and do the little things the right way, we’ll be fine.
After these 28 days of camp, I can guarantee you we’ll be a team that’s ready to go. A team that’s ready to make some music in Motown from the start of Week 1. We open up in Detroit and it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a hell of a matchup and we’re already itching at our palms to get out there.