I grew up more of a baseball fan than anything.
It was my main sport all the way through my sophomore or junior year of high school. I played center field, I pitched and I played shortstop, and that was about it. But I know that there were a lot of good guys who were utility players. We had a couple of good guys on my team that I played with. Those guys are important to the team, because things change from week to week and you never know where guys need to fill in.
I wasn't really a utility player, but now I kind of see myself as a utility player in football.
You have to embrace the role. You kind of just play every position. It goes back to whatever the team needs, and that kind of changes week to week, especially this year. I'm just keeping an open mind and just knowing that I could be called on anywhere.
It's just really about doing as much as I can for the team. We've had a lot of injuries this year, a lot of guys go down at certain positions. Just being able to fill in and take on those roles —punt returner, emergency quarterback and defensive back, in addition to wide receiver — has been a big deal to me.
Being available to play quarterback started in preseason just because of the injuries that we've had. I just stay tuned in with the offense, really, during the week. Really, that just goes back to knowing what we have in that week and what kind of plays we're running and schemes and things like that. It's nothing crazy. It's not like I'm having to learn 100 plays at the QB position. We keep it pretty simple as far as that goes.
At punt returner, I think my success is just about the mindset that I'm approaching it with. Obviously I want to make a big play when I can, but just trying to secure the ball first and foremost and then go from there. I think I'm going to continue to take that approach and just see if I can keep being consistent.
It happens quick. This past week on Sunday night, there was one where I probably didn't read it as well as I probably should have, but once I caught the ball I had guys set up to block outside and I ended up going into the middle. Things like that, you've got to be able to adjust on the fly and be able to read that well.
It's been much longer since I played defensive back, though. I definitely played it in high school. I was the deep guy where if they threw a deep ball, I was going to be the guy to go up and make a play on it. Definitely did some of that and played a lot of scout team safety my rookie year. But other than that, it's been pretty limited as far as game-time experience.
You have a limited amount of time to work on those things during practice because obviously we only have limited special teams practice. But you can do things pre-practice, come out a little early. That's when I catch most of my punts — before and after practice. Just trying to manage your time as well as you can.
Hopefully it can prolong my career. I'm just trying to show that I can play multiple positions and go out there and do my job and excel at them. Hopefully people take notice of that and know that I'm willing to play wherever I need to play to make an impact for the team.