To be a part of clinching the division rookie year, man… it's just sweet. This is like a bar that our franchise is gonna be set at. To have a bunch of young guys around, I think that's gonna be embedded in our mind. One of our best players on the team (J.J. Watt) is a second-year player. We're a veteran-filled team, but at the same time, we're a young team, so it's good that we get to see the bar and the formula of what it takes to be an elite team in this league. I just kind of had that moment realizing, 'Dang, this is what it takes, this kind of hard work.' I wasn't even here in the offseason, but I know what camp was like. I hope this is rippling with the all the other young guys and we can continue this.
I definitely get a sense of perspective on where our team is now from being around Andre Johnson. It's crazy, man. He talks about being 2-14 and 4-12; that had to be hard. For him to make it through that and be here, I know he appreciates it. After we clinched a playoff spot, he came in the locker room and said, 'We've had some hard days around here.' You could tell what he was talking about. He's been here since the start.
After the Patriots game, we wanted to come back and get our work done in a week and beat the Colts during the week and just work hard. It was good to bounce back. For me, it was fun to get more involved in the offense (career-high three catches, 46 yards). I could play a little bit early in the season, but I really didn't get to get involved as far as catches. I made some good blocks, but last week was a starting base for me to get me going, and hopefully I can improve and get better from there because I think I can do a lot more, bring a lot more to the table. I want to slowly continue to get better at that.
I think back to around Week 7 when I felt like I knew what I was doing. Going home at night, I'm watching TV and I don't want to open my playbook, but I'm happy I took that time every week to continue to not get comfortable, because if I would have stayed comfortable, I would be the same player. I just continued to grind through when I wasn't playing, and I feel like it's paying off, slowly but surely. Just watching, getting mental reps help a lot, too. When I was out, I was trying to prepare like I was a starter, taking notes and studying the night before the game like I'm a starter, because you never know. I think that paid off.
I feel like now that I've shown Coach (Gary) Kubiak, I can't go back ever. And that's OK to have that pressure; that's the pressure that I want. When I got here, I remember the day after the draft, I got here Saturday and I sat down with him. And he told me, 'I'm gonna coach your ass hard. I'm not giving you anything; I want you to work.' I never forgot that conversation. I knew every time he yelled at me and things like that, if I didn't know what he was talking about or it was my first time doing something, I always took that into consideration and just believed in the maturation of a player, just growing and getting better. Being able to talk to Andre and Kevin (Walter) and them telling me, 'You got the tools, man, just continue to work, continue to work, continue to work,' and Ben (Tate) and those guys and Arian (Foster), those guys who are all around me in the locker room, that was good. That kept me going and gave me some confidence, too, that some of the best guys on the team had faith in me. I just wanted to make them right.
I know this sounds funny, but honestly, we've got to win on Sunday. It's a big game for us. Clinching home-field advantage, making every team come through Houston to win, would be big. That building gets rocking, and we play well at home. And just an opportunity to play indoors for the rest of the year would be nice. That's on the line Sunday, too. After all the sweats I saw everybody wearing at practice this week, everybody is definitely focused for this week.
To all the fans, thank you for the support. Don't give up on me still, like I always say. I'm going to continue to grind, and I appreciate that love on Sundays.
DPo Diary Archive
12/14:First catch, bike giveaway12/9:Near emergency CB, fan travel11/30:Ready to return11/9:Sunday Night Football11/2:Brotherly love, bye week review10/12:First NFL playing time9/28:Excited and ready to play9/21:Tips from a Pro Bowler9/14:Mental reps, learning from Andre9/8:Week 1 excitement8/29:Ready to make plays8/17:Game mode8/10:Excited for first game7/31: Life in NFL training camp