Rookie diary: looking to make a break

Posted Aug 16, 2014

Running back Jeremy Hill is looking to break more tackles his next time out.

Rookie running back Jeremy Hill continues his diary.

The schedule is changing now that we’re leaving the hotel and I’m getting used to being at my apartment. Trying to get used to different schedules has been a little tough on the body.

Like when we got back from Kansas City last week and got to the stadium at about 3:30 a.m. I got into bed about 4, but didn’t get to sleep until 4:30. I took a nap on the plane, so I had to get back into sleep mode. Then we had to be at the stadium at 8 a.m. in a quick comeback.

We’d get back that late in college for some games, but you always had Sundays. Sundays you didn’t have to do anything, so you could catch up on your sleep. I won’t lie. This stunk. I was on time. They don’t play with that stuff around here. You definitely don’t want to be late. You have to suck it up and go to work. It’s like anything else. Once you do it the first time, you know what it’s about.

When we broke camp and left the hotel, we had the rookie show and I think it was pretty fun. Will Clarke, the defensive end who was picked a round after me in the third, did a skit with me. He imitated defensive line coach Jay Hayes and I was my old teammate from LSU, defensive end Sam Montgomery. I did some of his little antics he likes to do. His alter ego is Sonic the Hedgehog, so he likes to do a little Sonic roll and a lot of that stuff, so I did a little of that for the guys with his jersey.

It was fun seeing the guys come out of their shells and show their personality and the veterans can see them for who they are. You have to come together and have each other’s back and it’s a good time when you have a little fun, cut loose, and get away from football.

The game in Kansas City went a lot better (six carries for 36 yards) than expected. I think I ran the ball hard. I think I fitted up in there on most plays. But when I got my report back from the coaches, it was anyone can just run up in there. I have to start breaking more tackles and getting more explosive runs. When I ran the ball, I think I liked all my reads. All my reads were solid. I think I had six a pop. That’s not enough. I have to get into the secondary and make some guys miss. Just settling for six a pop, anyone can do that really.

After the game I told the media that right now I was focused on moving the chains and then I’d worry about the home-run ball later. Right now I’m thinking, more explosion, more explosion, more explosion, then a pop. Just running hard is fine and dandy, but I have to be more explosive, be more physical and they’ll start popping. The speed is not that big of a difference. It’s just the guys’ knowledge. They react a lot quicker in the NFL. Guys know what they’re seeing. For me it’s not about speed, it’s about reaction time.

On special teams, I have to get better on my technique and make my way up that depth chart, too.

The game against the Jets is going to be tough without Jason Campbell in there as the No. 2 quarterback. On the two drives I was in there we scored touchdowns with Jason and he’s a smart, savvy guy who has been in the system. We have to give Matt Scott and Tyler Wilson confidence. They’ve been practicing well. Confidence is big for them. If we keep the young guys’ confidence high, they’ll be fine.

Hopefully I’ll get in one series with Andy Dalton, depending on how long he’ll play. My goal every week is to find my way with the ones. I’ve been rotating in and out with the ones since training camp started. I’ve taken more handoffs from Andy than anyone else. I have to get the coaches to trust me. So that they have trust in me that I can do everything the other guys can do and they can trust me in those situations.

There’ll be situations like that in the next game against the Jets. They do a lot of zero blitzing where they blitz all-out with man-to-man coverage, especially when they’re in the red zone. Rex Ryan is never shy about sending the blitz. We’ve been practicing that all week. I think Andy and the quarterbacks have done a great job with the checks, making sure we’re protecting the front and getting some one-on-one on the outside. I think we’ll be ready for that.


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