The walkthrough was sparsely attended by fans, so it was even easier to hear the chatter on the field. That included linebackers coach Matt Raich, who was watching his charges from the offensive backfield when at one point he bellowed at rookie inside linebacker Quan Sturdivant, “I need to hear you back here!”
Sturdivant was calling the pre-snap signals. He wasn’t doing it loudly enough.
“Some players have that take charge voice,” Raich said. “Young guys come in here and they are not sure. That’s why I always say, ‘Say it loud and say it proud.’ They laugh about it, but it is true.”
It’s not just a Sturdivant issue, or even just young players. Raich said that even veterans new to the team might not be quite loud enough at first. It’s tough to have conviction in your voice when you are just learning the defense yourself. The starting inside linebackers, Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington, have been around a year, so even though they are learning the defense, they have been more confident. So too is new veteran Stewart Bradley.
As for Sturdivant, “you’re the Mike linebacker, it’s what you are supposed to do,” the rookie said. “It is a little adjustment. I’m not a loud person. I’m not going to say it’s tough but it is something to get used to.”
Sturdivant, the first of two sixth-round picks, will have to battle to make the roster. The addition of Bradley and the influx of new information (without an offseason) has made his impact minimal right now. Asked if he was “swimming” with all the incoming info, Sturdivant smiled and said, “you could say that.”
“I’m taking it day by day,” he added. “I ask questions of the vets if I have questions.”
Learning to pipe up is just one of his early lessons.
“He has to scream it,” Raich said. “I want them to make sure. He has his hand up to say, ‘right, left’ but the defensive linemen can’t see him. I’ve got to get Quan going.
“You’ve got to be able to communicate before the snap and obviously after. I think guys are unsure at times. … It’s just like anyone if they are talking. If you are comfortable with what you are going to say, you are fluent.”
Tags: Daryl Washington, Matt Raich, Paris Lenon, Quan Sturdivant, Stewart Bradley
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