Happy New Year.
A new coaching staff is on the way, the misery of the 2013 season is in the rearview and it's time for a fresh start.
I'm striving to crank out 1,000 pushups a day. I'm pretty confident in my abilities to do so, but let's get on to what the players are hoping to improve upon in the new year.
Shiloh Keo started 11 games at free safety this season, with Ed Reed getting the other five. The third-year defender out of Idaho didn't hesitate when the media asked him where he needed to get better.
"I really need to work on my tackling," Keo said. "I feel like I missed too many tackles out there this year. Other than that, just keep progressing. I feel like I've made solid strides each year and I just want to continue to do that and become one of the best players in the league."
Defensive end Jared Crick rotated in on the defensive line in his second year as a pro, and finished with a tackle for loss, three batted passes and a pair of quarterback hits. He said once he gets in a bit of rest over the coming weeks, he'll spend quite a bit of time reviewing game film.
"I'm going to watch myself," Crick said. "Every rep I took this year, of every game. See what I did good. See what I did bad."
On special teams, undrafted rookie Justin Tuggle led the unit with 11 tackles. He was a bright spot in coverage, and he delivered the signature hit of the season for the coverage unit when he wallopped Denver's Trindon Holliday in Week 16. Since joining the organization in May, he's been shuttled between the outside and inside linebacker positions.
Tuggle said his "ultimate goal" is to be a starter on defense, and like Crick, he plans to improve by checking out what he did and didn't do well.
"I'm going to hit the film real heavy this offseason," Tuggle said. "I'll really critique myself all the way back from my preseason film where I played a lot more defensive snaps and just see what I need to do to make myself a starter in this league."
Offensive lineman Ben Jones spelled starter Wade Smith from time-to-time at left guard. As a rookie in 2012 he started 10 games at right guard. Drafted out of Georgia after an excellent college career as a center, Jones fell back on the "T" word when asked what he needs to do better in 2014.
"It's always technique or just watching a little more film on guys and prepping," Jones said on Monday. "You learn each year a little more and a little more form other guys. It's just a process for an offensive linemen."