"For guys that were here, you know why we're fighting."
Coach Mularkey stood up in front of the team meeting room before this season began, and that was his message. A lot of guys — the rookies and new players on the team — didn't really understand it then. They didn't know what we had gone through to get here. They weren't here for 2-14 and then 3-13.
But look at us now. Everyone bought in. Everyone became a tight-knit group. There have been some pretty huge changes during my time here, and I feel like this year, everything just clicked. We went from every man for himself to everyone together. It's really like a brotherhood around here now.
Coach Mularkey was right when he said that back in August. We were fighting. We were fighting to win, but we were really fighting for each other.
You can see the growth and the determination. We have come a long way. From only winning two games going back to my first year to winning nine games this year is freaking amazing. To see that we were one game away from making the playoffs I believe gives promise to this team for the future. I really think that we can go out there and just dominate our division next year and make the playoffs. I'm really excited. Like really excited.
It's probably easy to understand my excitement now, but I've always had that positive mindset, even when things weren't as good. The guys laugh at me sometimes because I'm always smiling. People ask me why, and I'll not really sure. It's not that I'm happy all the time, but I just feel like in today's world, if you let anything get you down, it will. The smallest thing will turn into the biggest problem if you let it, so I just try my best to keep a positive mindset.
That has helped me get through some hard times in football. I went to Penn State for college, and while I was there, the school was hit with sanctions. That was tough, but I chose to stay and ride it out for my teammates and my position coach. Then I came to the NFL and went 2-14 in my rookie season. At the same time, two of my buddies were playing for Seattle and they went to the Super Bowl that year. I got to experience talking to them every day about what they were going through, watching them and seeing how much fun they were having. Then look I'd look at my situation and be like OK, we're 2-14. What the heck? But everything works out for a reason.
This game is so crazy. Every Monday or Tuesday, you have somebody getting cut or getting added to the team. At the end of the day, you never know when it's your turn. We're all so close, but the reality is I'm fighting for my job and the dude behind me is trying to take my job from me. Everyone knows that but
it's kind of not talked about. I think keeping a positive mindset helps you overcome the pressure that comes in this business. When you choose to think about the positive things in life, you're able to play the game you love and really give it all you've got. That's all you can do. Win or lose, whether you're in the best circumstances or not, you just have to have a positive outlook on this whole situation.
I try to bring that attitude to this team and to the D-line room especially. I'm not a real hoorah, verbal type of guy, but as far as through my actions, my work ethic and trying to carry myself as a pro off the field, I feel like I'm a leader in that aspect. I really try to help the young guys, especially, and make their transition to the NFL as easy as possible.
Ultimately, I'm just a guy trying to look at my life in a positive way and do the best I can at anything I do. I like to see the good in everything. There's always something positive you can find in any situation, but when I look ahead to the 2017 Tennessee Titans, I see more than just a few good things. I see a lot of promise for this team. It's time to finish what we've started.