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This is the final installment of Jeremy Zuttah's Training Camp Diary, exclusively on PewterReport.com. Zuttah, the rookie offensive lineman who was Tampa Bay's third-round pick, checked in with PewterReport.com three times per week with his thoughts on training camp and life in the NFL.
Training camp is over. It was a good experience. I'm enjoying going up against some other teams now. Jeff Faine was a great roommate. Since day one he was helping me out and sharing his experience with me. He's been giving me advice about things both on and off the field. Coming into the league Jeff was a first-round pick that was expected to play right away. He had a lot of pressure on him then and now as a big free agent addition. He has been through it all, and Jeff can really show me the way. All the guys in the offensive line room have been great about helping me out, not just Jeff.
Rookie night was tough, but I have a laugh at it now. Every rookie has to go through it, and every rookie has to pay their dues. You can't get too upset about it because everybody had to go through it. The more upset you are the worse it is going to be. I guess it could have been worse. I didn't have to serve the guys or sing or do anything embarrassing. We just went to dinner and it was on the rookies.
Josh Johnson and I took the offensive line, quarterbacks, and tight ends to dinner. Those were some big, hungry, dudes. It was a rite of passage for a rookie and I'm glad I got it out of the way. I guess Dexter Jackson took the wide receivers and running backs. Josh and I split it.
We had a pretty good game against New England. The rushing yards were there, the running backs did a good job of making plays. We have a lot of different skilled backs, and different plays are run for different guys, but who the running back is doesn't matter much to the offensive line. We block no matter who is in the backfield.
I felt that I took a step forward compared to my play against Miami. I'm not where I want to be yet. I have to keep improving, and getting more comfortable. Things will speed up for me at that point. I'm prepared to play both guard and center, and I don't think I'm significantly better or more comfortable at one or the other.
It was really too bad to see Davin get hurt. I hope he comes back soon; he's a great player. Filling in for him has been going pretty good. I've still been going back and forth between center and guard. I feel comfortable and I'm not happy with where I am at right now, but I feel like I'm improving every day. I'm approaching it as an opportunity. I'm not sure if I will make my mark, because I'm just concerned with doing my job. Whatever the coaches ask me to do then that is my goal and that is what I'm going to strive to do. Right now, that may be filling in for Davin as the starter.
You have to rely on your strengths when you fill in for a great player. The game day prep shouldn't be any different. I prepare for every game as if I'm going to play, so that way when the opportunity comes I'm ready for it.
I don't feel any extra pressure. I've been preparing for this since the day I entered the league. It is not like Davin got hurt and now I'm trying to turn it on. I've been going hard since the first day, for a long time I've been preparing for this.
I'm looking forward to playing the Jaguars this Saturday. They are a tough, physical defense. Their front seven is made up of big, downhill players. Going against an NFL superstar like John Henderson will be a challenge. It is a tremendous opportunity and a privilege to go against a player like that.
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