Getting noticed

Posted by Darren Urban on August 9, 2012 – 8:04 am

It’s a story told many times: Man is in man coverage, man sees tight end stay into block, man reads quarterback’s eyes. End-zone interception.

OK, maybe not many times. And it certainly hadn’t been told on the NFL level yet for undrafted rookie safety Blake Gideon before the preseason opener. But Gideon did all that, making a pick that — for a guy well down on the depth chart — can hopefully garner some much needed attention. But he, and all the other players fighting for spots need more.

“When you make those plays, it gets you a gold star in your box, but you have to keep getting those,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “This league is about consistency, and being able to do it all the time.

“It does get the attention. You’re like, ‘Wait a minute, Blake Gideon, great read, good interception, big time in thegame.’ Can he consistently do that? He’ll get more reps now because you want to see what he can do.”

Gideon knows. “You are trying to do something to stand out,” he said. “Whenever it comes time for the roster to be reduced, if something about you stands out, coaches will be thinking about you. I made a couple of plays. Now it’s being consistent with it. There are four more preseason games.”

The reps are so few and far between in practice for a guy like Gideon or receiver LeRon Byrd, another undrafted prospect, that there are plenty of times in games where they encounter a situation that they simply haven’t had a chance to rep out in practice. Making a memorable play for Gideon is about more than just getting props from teammate and fellow former Texas Longhorn Lyle Sendlein (pictured below).

Whisenhunt said he never quite gets to see the lower-tier players as much as he wants. “You go into games and think you will play players a certain amount of plays and think you’ll get a chance to look at a lot of guys maybe you wouldn’t see in a normal situation and then things change,” Whisenhunt said. Practice is better the coach said, because it’s more structured, but again, with 90 guys in camp, reps are limited.

That’s why a signature play — or two — is necessary.

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