*BR.com wants to use the Hey Rookie! blog as a way to let every rookie on the roster tell a little bit about their story. We'll have different voices speaking to you throughout training camp and the season. Linebacker Jameel McClain, a rookie free agent out of Syracuse, checks in with his thoughts from Westminster. *
Hey Ravens fans. We're a little more than a week into camp, and I believe I'm getting better every time I get a chance. Every day is about improving on the little things. These coaches are some of the best coaches I've ever been around, so it's an honor. I always pick up on something new every day, so I'm excited about this camp. It's been a lot of fun so far.
We started out early, with two rookie-only days of practice before the veterans got in here, and they really helped out a lot. I had the chance to polish all the techniques I learned in minicamps. During the down time before camp, I went home [Philadelphia] and worked on them by myself, but it wasn't the same without a coach telling you if there was a wrong step here, or the right step there. The days with just the rookies were perfect, because I really think I was tuned up when the vets finally came.
When I was in Philly, I worked out with my speed coach, Tone Fulton. We lifted, we ran, did a lot of field drills. Just trying to get prepared for an NFL camp. To be honest, neither one of us had ever been through something like this, so we just ran as hard as we could. I feel like it definitely worked. I'm not sucking wind at all out here, so I'm pretty confident that I'm in good shape at this point. You have to stay hydrated, but this heat isn't too bad so far. Luckily, he got me in shape.
I've been getting some time with the defense, which is all I can ask for. You have to get out there and show you can play any chance you get. There are guys that haven't gotten many of those chances, so I feel blessed. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to let coaches know I'm committed to this organization, and I'm ready to make plays and contribute.
The position I'm playing now is sort of that "Sam" linebacker/defensive end mix, which is what I played at Syracuse. It's not that much different at all, as far as the position goes. The only thing is that now, you're here playing against and with Pro Bowlers. And, it's a much, much faster game. You have to get adjusted to the speed.
The playbook is pretty big, but going through Greg Robinson and Paul Pasqualoni in school, I'd seen my share of pro-style playbooks. The Ravens' is definitely different, but it's like anything else - in order to get better at it, you have to keep working.
It's my job to gain the respect of the players and coaches. Remember, I'm a free agent. I can't come in and expect anything. I just want to go out and make plays, and then one day, hopefully I'll get a pat on the back and someone will say, "Hey, good job."
So, off the field, I'm a movie buff. Any movie that comes out, I'm trying to see it. On my radar now is "Tropic Thunder." I think that comes out the 11th, and I have to see that. I don't think I'll be able to catch it when it comes out, but after camp, that is high on my list. Any chance I get, I'm in the movie theater.
You would think that I would bring a lot of DVDs to camp, but that's not the case. I can't. You have to be focused, and when I do have a little free time, I'm in the playbook. Movies can wait… for now.
To all the fans, please watch the preseason games coming up. If I'm out there, I promise I'll try my hardest to make a play. One thing about me is I will always give you 110 percent. And if I don't have that 110, I'm giving 109.