Austin Seferian-Jenkins thinks a breakout is around the corner. The 6'5", 262-pound tight end, who was acquired off waivers from the Buccaneers in September, is staying in a positive frame of mind as December football commences.
"We've been doing a lot at practice. It takes time. I think people think it happens overnight and it's not overnight," he told me this week. "It's been worked on for months and months and years and years sometimes, and then all of a sudden it's an overnight thing. It takes time and I'm sure before the end of the season we're going to have a big game and it's going to be fun."
Seferian-Jenkins, who battled an ankle injury earlier this season and has been limited to five games, hauled in a pass against the Patriots after having a pair of catches in Week 5 against the Steelers. He has a good line of communication with starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that they continue to shape each day at practice.
"We're doing a great job communicating with each other and we definitely know what's going on," Seferian-Jenkins said. "He's a great quarterback. He understands and he'll learn. He won't just tell you to run routes. He'll listen to you and say okay how do you like it if you do this. What are you going to do if you do that? It's not just his way or the highway. He's definitely wanting to help to get you open in any way, making you feel comfortable and vice versa it makes him feel comfortable. So it's really good."
Even if Seferian-Jenkins isn't part of the game plan, he uses practice to give the defense a good look while hopefully turning some heads in the process.
"I just try to take whatever I can in the game plan for the week and do everything I can with it whether that be on the offense or we have a scout team where the team uses the tight ends a lot. I can show the coaches what I can do," Seferian-Jenkins said. "It's going to pay off, it just takes time. Before the end of the season, we'll have a good one together."
Donning a sharp Huskies sweatsuit, ASJ declared that the University of Washington should be a participant in the College Football Playoffs if his alma mater takes down Colorado Friday night in the Pac 12 Championship.
"It's been really cool to see those guys grow up, being there and seeing them as freshmen and seeing them mature and earn those first-team honors, All Pac-12 honors," he said. "It's just really phenomenal to see where a coach can take players and how they develop not just as players but as men."
Mauldin More Than SacksFor the second consecutive season, OLB Lorenzo Maudlin is taking strides in the second half. Maudlin recorded half sacks against the Dolphins and Rams in Weeks 9 and 10 and he sees himself as improving both as a run defender and in coverage.
"Of course I'm not getting the sack production that I was last year," said Mauldin, who racked up four sacks as a rookie. "My reps were low last year. And in the beginning of the season, my reps were low as well. And now that I'm more involved in the defensive scheme, I'm dropping into coverage more so I don't get that many opportunities to rush the passer. I feel like I'm doing well in dropping into coverage as well… so I'm coming along as a complete player and I feel good about myself."
The 6'4", 259-pound Mauldin, who calls the NFL a down league because everyone is giving it all every play, currently ranks second on the team with 18 QB hurries.
"(OLB Coach) Mark Collins has taught me a lot of different things. I didn't use my long arm in college and I'm using my size more," he said. "I'm bull-rushing more, but I'm more speed than power. It's been helping me a lot, I've been getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback with 18 QB hits. It's inevitable that I'm getting better."
Q's New LevelAlways comfortable in training camp, WR Quincy Enunwa told me this week that things changed for him after his seven reception, 1-TD effort against the Bengals in Week 1.
"The point where I felt I made the biggest stride was the first game," he said. "When I was catching all those passes, I felt like yes this is the hard work I've been putting in, I really trust in it, I believe in it and my confidence has risen to a new level."
A sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2014, the Nebraska product spent most of his first pro year on the practice squad. Enunwa became a versatile threat, blooming late in 2015. Now in 2016, Enunwa's skills as a receiver are opening eyes throughout the league.
"I've always been like a scrappy, just go out there and work-hard guy," he said. "Before the game, I'm always getting my mind into really turning it into a battle. I make sure the guys on the other side that it's going to be a battle — four quarters regardless of whatever you believed in or whatever film you saw. It's not going to be that way. It's going to be a battle and you need to know what."
Enunwa, who has 643 yards receiving and just recorded his first career 100-yard game against the Pats, says 1,000 would be nice but he will take the game as it comes.
"I want to be a spark.," he said. "I want to be the guy that people can look to and say Q's out there balling. Let's go ahead and join him."