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Rookie Diaries: 'Can't write it up any better'

Justin Simmons: Throughout the game "Joe-D" [Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis] told me that when we're normally out there for field goal or extra point to get a feel for their kick and get a feel for the snap count so if we do run the play, you already have a jump on it and you're not out there guessing and probably getting a penalty for offsides. That was the gameplan throughout most of the game. We didn't know if we were even going to use it, but obviously we needed it at the end of the game and it paid off big time.

We did it in practice, he liked it and we just executed it in the game. They never kicked it. They would snap it full speed and all we would have to do is the holder would flip it up as if it were a kick. You don't want to get hurt in practice doing something. It was just visualization of clearing the line, and once you're getting there, don't panic and dive for the football or anything stupid. Just put your hands up, trying to get in the way. A tip, any type of misdirection.


Will Parks:** I knew Justin was going to block it. That was the whole thing about it. When I heard that play called, I just looked at him. If you're going to block it, block it. He has hops. They say he has a 42-inch vertical—they lied because he has a 46-inch vertical. That man has ups. He cleared the whole line.

JS: I did get the block, but a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that nobody would ever really talk about. You look at what Jared Crick and Adam Gotsis did as far as putting hands on the center legally and making sure that I had a little gap to jump through. That was lights out the best execution we could've had.

WP: As soon as you have the ball, everyone is looking at you with the game in your hands. The first thing that I was looking at was the end zone. I remember as a little kid we used to play a game called '1, 2, 3, manhunt.' The first thing we did, we didn't want to get caught, so we ran as fast as we can to the next street or block. When you're out there on the football field, you can put some of those things into perspective that you used to do when you were little."

JS: Mom and dad were there so they were freaking out. They were loving it.

WP: Believe it or not, in the same state, in Shreveport, which is an hour away from New Orleans, we played Justin in the Independence Bowl. I took a pick-six back 70 yards. It was kind of the same feeling. When you do it in the NFL, for a team like this, in an atmosphere like that on the road, in a playoff game that determines where we stand, you can't ask for anything better than that.


JS:** But the block with the touchdown? Out of 10 times, you maybe get it done twice. That's how special that was. You're talking about a 20 percent conversion rate. That's just how precious that is. Getting that block and it bouncing right into his hands, and just having the awareness of getting up field

WP: Ten times. Ten times. That's just what we believe. And if we don't pull it off, we feel as if we could pull it off the next time.

When you make a play like that, you're supposed to envision yourself making plays like that. I didn't just wake up and say, "Oh, I'm going to make a play." Every game I go to into, I'm telling myself to make a play. It'll lead to something down the line. That's what happened.

JS: It still really has not hit. I thought it did yesterday after it sunk in and I met with some family and friends. I woke up this morning and I was like "Dang, that was wild." I'm getting texts still and everything like that, but I'm just happy about the win.

WP: It's been crazy. Just family members and friends calling me saying, 'What a play, what a play." Then what you've got the ones that are really close to me. One of my best friends texted me before the game and said, "You're going to make a play today. I don't know what it is." Then he texted me after and said, "Didn't I tell you?" That just goes to show belief is everything. Belief, confidence, working hard and staying humble – those simple words are what it's all about. That's what's going to take you to the top.


JS:** I got back home last night. My wife greeted me by screaming out the door, "AH! I love you so much." She was just really happy. She was saying to herself at that point, man this might be over. She knew I was going to be pretty upset if we came back with a loss. She was more happy that we won than I was at first. She was that happy and excited for me.

WP: What Von said about me was nothing but motivation to me. I was just telling the other guys, I just want to do it more and more. I was talking to [Derek] Wolfe on the plane. Everybody was congratulating me, but Wolfe came over and said, "We feel like you can do that all the time." Just hearing guys that are Pro-Bowl caliber telling me that I can make plays like that all the time, that just shows how hard we work and how much we believe in each other.

JS: It was great. Can't write it up any better than that. One rookie to another, and especially from me to Will. I was just happy. It could've been anyone. I ran down there because I was just stoked and ecstatic. We pretty much iced the game. All we had to do was get the onside kick if the call stood. So I was just filled with uncontrollable happiness and seeing him go through the end zone and making a huge play for the team as well. It's just like icing on the cake.

And now it's time for the bye. It's much needed. We've played what, 10 games in a row? Even for some of the younger guys, our bodies are banged up at this point in time. Nice to get a little break, not just physically but mentally away from the game. Refresh, come back and then really lock in for these last six weeks heading into the season.

WP: I've kind of forgotten about the play already. I'm ready to practice and then just get ready for a little bye week with some recovery and training.

JS: We pretty much would be done in a college season, especially if you're not going to a bowl game. Your body's just been used to the same schedule for four years, and now it's about adjusting and finding a way to overcome it and make sure you push yourself.     

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