This past week I was lucky enough to head down to the new Spurs stadium to see the NFL Flag competition national finals in action as well as speak to a member of each of the teams who will play in London this Autumn. Aside from being jealous of the kids being coached for the day by the likes of Akiem Hicks and Mario Addison – who wouldn’t be – it was exciting to see the talent in British schools and more importantly the interest they were taking in the sport, which will help develop the sport in this country for the next generation.
Off the field, there was some interesting insight from each of the players. We’ll have more in depth articles being released in the coming days but wanted to give a roundup of what was said. We spoke with Josh Lambo, Jaguars’ Kicker, about dealing with pressure, how his experience as a goalkeeper helped him develop his mindset to deal with high pressure kicks and the use of field goals to end OTAs early or avoid fitness sessions, which really do heap the pressure on.
Away from kicking duties, DJ Chark spoke about getting to know Nick Foles and John DeFilippo’s new system down in Jacksonville, and that they will operate a receiver by committee setup this coming season. Staying in the AFC South, veteran Texans Cornerback Johnathan Joseph gave us the key to his longevity, including yoga, and how defensive scheme has changed throughout the NFL during his 13 seasons in the league. He also spoke glowingly about his relationship with former head coach, Marvin Lewis and how he had been a “ father figure” to him in his time making the Bengals relevant.
In my division, the NFC South, I had the chance to speak to Cameron Brate, who went into detail about his relationship with OJ Howard and Jameis Winston, as well as graduating from Harvard, rest assured he won’t be following in John Urschel’s footsteps. What I was most excited about though was the plethora of defensive talent in attendance, including Panthers’ Mario Addison, Akiem Hicks and Samson Ebukam, who all spoke about their development as players and what makes a good pass rusher.
Stay tuned to ninetynineyards.com for in depth pieces for each of these players and some thoughts from them on the game as a whole, I can’t wait to share with you.
Image: Kadeem Simmonds / ninetynineyards.com