Well, I’ll start by thanking everybody. Week after week we set a new record. We’ve reached 53 responses, which eclipsed last week’s 48. I read them all, as usual, and I appreciate the support.
I guess a good place to start is probably the Dallas game. It was pretty funny — well, not funny. Funny’s not the word. But after practice on Monday I went down to the Boys and Girls Club just to hang out a little bit, and that’s supposed to be a safe place, but it really is not for me.
All the kids had a lot of jokes and questions like, “So why’d you guys lose?” and questions that I can’t answer. I slipped on one play and a couple of guys asked me, “Why’d you slip?” I really don’t know what to answer to that. There’s really no good answer. It’s a pretty simple, yet complicated question. I slipped because it was slippery.
But it was good to see them, and as far as the game goes, it was really disappointing. We can make a thousand excuses, but you don’t get to this level making excuses and you can’t win as many games and go as far as we want this team to go making excuses.
We had a very challenging traveling schedule with landing in Denver from San Francisco and staying here about 12 hours and then heading out to Dallas, and then two-a-days in a strange place for two more days and then a game, and at the same time dealing with increased temperature and humidity.
It was really tough on a lot of people. We had a bunch of people get sick; I was one of the people who came down with a little cold. But it’s an imperfect world, and your opportunities are never perfect, and that was an opportunity for us to get better and play well against a good team, and despite all the reasons that we have to blame somebody else or blame our circumstances, we recognize that this is an imperfect game much like the world is imperfect and when you get your opportunities, you’ve got to capitalize on them.
It’s preseason, so the game didn’t count, but it definitely matters. That’s a quote from (defensive coordinator/defensive backs) coach Bob Slowik. It’s kind of funny, we make fun of him because he has all these quotes all the time, and the night before the game he gives us a little Powerpoint presentation that he’s dubbed “Beyond X’s and O’s.” It has nothing to do with football, it’s just motivational quotes, things like that, and just different ways to look at games.
We always give him a hard time about it, but we sincerely appreciate it and he keeps them coming, and one of his famous quotes is “Preseason doesn’t count, but it matters.” This game didn’t count, but it mattered to us, and we’re disappointed in some things and encouraged in other things. We’re still improving. That’s two preseason games now for us and we hope to bring it all together in this third one against Cleveland.
Speaking of Coach Slowik, he’s a very good motivator and leader. I think we have a lot of talent in our corps and he does a good job letting us show our talents and putting us in the best situation to make plays.
Like I was saying about the “Beyond X’s and O’s” this week, he gave us one that really hit home for me. It really solidified the belief that Coach Slowik is a great leader and motivator, because I got the feeling that when he was doing his presentation, he was talking directly to me, and talking to the rest of the DB’s a lot of them felt the same way.
He had a quote that he took from William Shakespeare, I believe, that stuck with me, and it was, “Assume not that I am what I was.” To me, the quote means from day to day, you need to continue to prove yourself and continue to work hard, and given that we have a lot of guys on our team and our secondary who have had great seasons, you shouldn’t assume that you are that guy or that player, or that what you’ve done the practice before or the week before or even the play before carries over.
And it goes the other way, too. If you have a bad game or a bad play, assume not that you are that bad player in the future. That really hit home for me, because I honestly don’t think I had that great a week of practice in Dallas and I don’t feel like I personally played that well, and it really hit home that I need to focus really hard on what I need to do. Just get really serious about learning all the ins and outs of my opponents, learning the ins and outs of our defense from every position that I need to learn it from. So that one really stuck with me. Mabye someone will read it and it will hit home for them, too.
It kind of reminded me of when you go to church and you feel like the preacher is talking directly to you, no matter what the sermon is about. Or you go to mosque or Hebrew school or whatever, we don’t want to leave anybody out, whatever religious backgrounds you are.
But you feel like the preacher is talking directly to you, and I was thinking about that a little bit the other day. It’s a fine line to walk if you want to have a message that’s general enough to reach enough people, but specific enough that you feel like they’re talking directly to you. I feel like it’s really difficult for great orators and great leaders and great leaders to be able to do that, and I’d definitely put Coach Slowik in that box. I feel fortunate, the situation that I’m in to have Coach Slowik, a great coach, and Dre’ and Champ and John and Nick and Hamza, just a lot of great people and a lot of talent around here.
I guess that’s enough talking about Coach Slowik. I guess it’s kind of kissing up now. I don’t think it’s going to get me on the field any more, unfortunately. If I thought it would get me on the field a bit more I would talk great about everybody.
But now I’ll talk about meeting up with D-Will’s family. We were able to meet up with Rosalind, Darrent’s mom, and several members of his family. It was a very tough situation. I think it was good for everybody including his family, and I think it was tough for everybody, including us. I think she’s one of the strongest women I’ve ever met. The things that she shared with us were amazing, and most of those things were pretty private so I won’t share them over the blog, but it was just great to see her. It was nice to be able to give her a hug and to hear her voice and talk about how she’s dealing with it, talk about how proud of us that she is, and we just echoed the same sentiments back to her, about how proud we are of her and her family and how well they’re doing.
I actually got to meet Trese Kenard, D-Will’s aunt, and she’s a high school teacher in the Dallas area, and just talking to her about it affects her and how it helped her refocus on her job and the many ways that she’s trying to help young guys who remind her of her nephew. Talking to her was really a blessing and I was able to exchange numbers with her as well as D-Will’s mom and I hope to be able to keep in touch with them and do whatever I can to help them. She’s an English teacher, and she talked about using my book in some of her classes, so whatever I can do to help, I look forward to it. She said she’s a faithful reader of the blog also, so she read all of your comments, too. Just like me.
All in all that experience was good to get her to come out to practice, and on game day, D-Will’s son was on the sideline and we all got to talk to him and hang out with him a little bit, which is another tough experience. But we all made it through and it was good to be with them.
But I’ve got something funny about how we all make fun of each other and nobody’s off limits. Big Sam Adams was watching the rerun of our game and he gave me a hard time about one of my College in Colorado commercials, one of the PSA’s that come on. He had a field day making fun of me. And Hamza, in my opinion, is one of the funniest guys on the team, he jumped on and helped Sam out. But of course I defended myself. I don’t know if I can share any of my jokes over the blog because I don’t want to tick Sam off or upset Sam. He’s a little too big to be joking with. But I definitely told him if he was jealous about my commercial that he could talk to Rod (Smith) and get in those Blackjack Pizza commercials.
In response to tjames238′s question, which was why would we trade Gerard Warren because of all the talent that he has, and he was wondering if it was because of our scheme or because of the talent that we have on defense. I would say that’s a question for Coach Shanahan, the big decision maker.
My opinion on the whole issue is that he’s a great player and I think a lot of the new things we were doing on defense didn’t fit the style of play that Gerard was best for. We definitely changed a lot defensively and a lot of our personnel has changed this year because of what Coach Bates likes to have on his defense. Gerard is a talented guy and I’m sure we’re not looking forward to facing him even though he’s in Oakland now. We have a lot of respect for his talent and I hope that he makes a better fit somewhere else.
I guess that’s kind of P.C., but I really don’t know enough details to give you any more specific answers, but Gerard’s a great person and he was a fun personality to have on the team. He had a lot of friends on this team and in Denver in general, so we wish him luck out in Oakland.
The blog has become kind of popular, because as everybody understands, the Internet has become global, and some of my friends outside the team back east and all over the country have checked out the blog and are kind of making fun of me because I need some sort of sign-off. So if anybody has a good sign-off, something that’s not corny, because my friends who have called me about it give me all these corny ways to sign-off. So I guess it’s a mission for the blog nation to come up with some sort of cool sign-off for me.
Well, I guess I’m off to a meeting now, and I’ll leave you with that. Thanks a lot.
Tags: Bob Slowik, Boys and Girls Club, Champ Bailey, College in Colorado, Dallas Cowboys, Darrent Williams, Dre Bly, Gerard Warren, Hamza Abdullah, Jim Bates, John Lynch, Mike Shanahan, Nick Ferguson, Preseason, Rod Smith, Sam Adams, Shakespeare