We just wrapped up OTAs and mini-camp down in Tampa a couple weeks ago, so I'm back at home, spending some hard-earned time with the family.
Baby Reagan is doing really well. I just took her to get her shots last week, and I think I was a little more scared for her than she was, but she did well. She cried for a quick second, and then went back to normal and went to sleep. She had a little fever for a little bit, but she dealt with it a lot better than I did.
Fatherhood is a fun time for me right now. I'm happy to be back home now for an extended period of time instead of how it was during OTAs, when I was trying to fly home every weekend to see her. I'm with her now forever for the most part. She and my wife will be coming out to Tampa with me when we go to training camp.
Though I missed Reagan while I was there, the few weeks in Tampa for OTAs and mini-camp were a great building experience. We have a mixture of guys that are learning a new system, and guys that have already been introduced to the system.
It gave us chance to get together and really fine-tune some things, being that this was the second year in the system for a lot of guys. It was definitely exciting and a lot of fun this time around because we could start working on a lot of the small things within the system, as opposed to just learning a brand new defense.
This is a critical time for a team as we're preparing and getting ready for training camp, preseason and the season as a whole. This is a time when we all should be locking down, getting focused and ready to go out there and do our jobs.
After a long offseason, I was ready to go out there to practice and compete. The itch is always there to get back out on the field no matter what point and time you're in of the offseason. Even when you're first done, you're itching to get back out there on the field.
I felt good running around out there, and had a lot of fun being with the team. That's what this time is for: to learn a lot and really just build that team chemistry and camaraderie with the rest of your teammates. We had great participation, everybody was pretty much there and it is great to go back out there on the field, practice and be with my teammates.
I wrote a little about my relationship with our new safety Dashon Goldson when he was signed, but it was really cool to get out there work with him just to get down as much as possible during OTAs.
I've always respected Dashon as a player. We both came into the league the same year, and I've watched him play since we entered the league, so I know what type of player he is and what he's going to bring to the table for this team. He did some great things out there and that's what's expected of him, not only from me, but from the whole team.
Even though he's new to the system, Dashon has a lot of playing experience and he's really our leader on the back end, and of the defense in general. Communication is definitely something that's needed on the back end, and he's always out there talking and making sure everybody is on the same page. He's going to fit great in his role as not only a good player for us, but as a leader.
He's a friend that I work out with and spend a lot of time with, so I know his outlook on the game and his approach as far as how hard he works. To work side-by-side with somebody like that is definitely something I was looking forward to, and I was happy to finally be able to get that opportunity out there on the field with him.
For me, having a guy out there that I know personally, the communication level is extremely high. I know how to talk to him, and he knows how to talk to me. The chemistry and cohesiveness is there from the jump just because of our relationship. It was a great experience. I know he's seen a lot in his career, I've seen a lot in my career, so we're able to talk things out and feed off each other just from our general knowledge of the game.
Of course, the other acquisition for the secondary this offseason was Darrelle Revis, and though he didn't participate in OTAs on the field with us, he was down there at the facilities with us, putting in the time rehabbing and even extra time, trying to do everything he can to be ready to go when it's time to go. He's a true professional, and I don't think any of us are worried about his recovery process. He has his timeline, and he's going to be ready when he's ready.
You can see the focus and the determination in the way he's attacking his rehab and the way he approaches the game. I think he's done a heck of a job of staying in the books and trying to make sure that he picks up the defense as much as he can even though he's not on the field. That's a hard thing to do, but he's one of those guys that can do it.
It was cool to spend some time with him while we were down there. Like Dashon, I've known him since we first got into the league, and he's someone that I look forward to playing with. He's just one of those guys that you can learn a lot from.
He was vocal and interacting with guys in the film room, and with everybody in the locker room. You can joke and mess around with him, and he's just another guy in that sense.
One other change that was made to the secondary was the addition of a new defensive backs coach, Tony Oden. The organization and the coaches bringing in somebody like Tony with a lot of NFL experience is going to help us on the back end.
He's somebody that I respect a lot. I'm like a sponge, trying to learn as much possible, and Tony's a guy that I can learn a lot from. I'm looking forward to working with him this season, and continuing to try to perfect my craft. Tony has a lot of knowledge about the game and how to deal with NFL players. He asks a lot out of us, but I think the guys are responding well.