Xavier Su'a-Filo was hopeful he would get his chance to play in Sunday's game at Dallas.
When he got the news that he would be in for Ben Jones at left guard, the 6-4, 307 rookie was ready.
"It was awesome," Su'a-Filo said. "They told me I was going to step in for the next series. I stretched, got ready, and went to go step in. It was right there at a critical point in the first half. We couldn't skip a beat when I was in there and I didn't want to be the reason."
Su'a-Filo has played just three offensive snaps per game against Washington, Oakland, and the New York Giants. Against Buffalo, Su'a-Filo did not have a single offensive play. Su'a-Filo had his biggest contribution on the offensive line at Dallas with 10 offensive snaps and 3 on special teams.
"I thought that he did some decent things," head coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "He played about 13 snaps in the game. Just like all of us, he probably wishes he had a couple plays back but there were some good things. I thought he had a couple nice run blocks on some lead plays and I though he pass-protected pretty well. You know, we're playing quite a few rookies between him, (Alfred) Blue, C.J. (Fiedorowicz), Jay Prosch, Andre Hall on defense, other guys (Jeoffrey) Pagan on defense. And I think those guys, the more experience they gain, the better they'll be and I think that's what we'll see over time."
Last week, O'Brien said Su'a-Filo needed to practice better in order to be a bigger contributor. The rookie lineman did just that, making a concerted effort to execute in practice and improve. O'Brien's decision to substitute him early in Sunday's 20-17 overtime loss to the Cowboys was based on his performance and not any health-related concerns to Jones, he said.
"It was more of a football decision," O'Brien said. "He's in the game, he's on the 46-man roster. Hey let's get this guy in the game, he's been practicing pretty well. Let's see what he can do in a game."
Despite arriving late this offseason, finishing up his final semester in order to graduate from UCLA, Su'a-Filo took snaps at guard and left tackle in the preseason. O'Brien liked his versatility and smarts. Whether or not his playing time will expand for Thursday night's game against Indianapolis and beyond, only time will tell.
"No (but) always ready. You never know what can happen – long season," Su'a-Filo said.