Eight rookies are on the Washington Redskins’ 53-man roster heading into Sunday’s 2012 season opener against the New Orleans Saints.
And although all eight of those rookies — Jordan Bernstine, Kirk Cousins, Richard Crawford, Adam Gettis, Robert Griffin III, Josh LeRibeus, Alfred Morris and Keenan Robinson — received significant playing time in the Redskins’ four preseason games this year, each one of them is yet to taste the thrill of a regular-season football game.
The Redskins Blog caught up with four Redskins veterans Friday who shared their memories of their first NFL games. Special thanks to intern Daniel Zimmet for rounding this up:
Defensive lineman Stephen Bowen:
Bowen was a member of the Dallas Cowboys in 2006 when, in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions in Dallas, he finally received his first regular-season playing time. Bowen took advantage of that opportunity, notching a sack in the Cowboys’ 39-31 loss to the Lions.
“I played against the Lions. We played at home, and that’s with John Kitna, Roy Williams — they had a pretty good offense. I played about 25 plays. I had my first sack. My first sack was in my first game I ever played. It was a memorable experience. My whole family just happened to be there. That’s what started it for me.”
Wide receiver Santana Moss:
Moss’s first NFL game wasn’t as memorable as Bowen’s. In fact, Moss — who was then a member of the New York Jets — made only one play in that Week 10 game against the Miami Dolphins: a rush for -6 yards. But Moss’s Jets did blank the Dolphins 24-0 that day, so I’m sure that made him feel a little better.
“That was my first game back coming off an injury in my rookie season. I didn’t play until like Week (10). It was good to be home playing my first game back in Miami where I had come from. Other than that, that’s about the only thing I thought. It wasn’t anything that I expected. I wasn’t really able to enjoy the moment because it wasn’t like I was out there prepared. I was prepared enough but I missed 13, 14 games and those guys were way ahead of me. Me being a rookie, coming in that late in the season, the game was moving a lot faster than what I was going to be ready for. It was what it was and I did the best with it.”
Punter Sav Rocca:
Rocca’s rookie season was about as unconventional as it gets. He was a 33-year-old rookie (the oldest in NFL history) punting for the Philadelphia Eagles after a 14-year career in the Australian Football League. His first-ever NFL game was in Week 1 of the 2007 season against the Green Bay Packers, and Rocca had plenty of opportunities to show his worth, punting seven times in that game at an average of 40.4 yards per punt in the Eagles’ 16-13 loss.
“The experience was great. I’d given up a lot in Australia to come here, not knowing if it was all going to work out. I had a family and we risked a lot to get over here. To get that all to come to the first game, everything that I worked hard for really came about. We got the first game and it was exciting. Got smashed, learned a lot, and it was all good fun. It was all good fun.”
Wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
Garçon also had an unconventional route to his first NFL roster. He was taken by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008 from NCAA Division III Mount Union, and didn’t have much in the way of a breakout rookie season. The first game in which he logged minutes was in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings, but it wasn’t until Week 10 when Garçon had caught his first NFL pass (a 2-yard catch from Peyton Manning). Garçon recalled that first game against the Vikings, an 18-15 Colts victory.
“It wasn’t very crazy; it was simple. We practiced hard when we were back in Indianapolis. We had a lot of veterans so we were kind of ready for the game speed. In the games it’s a little bit easier because the defenses are not more willing to chop routes or the things that they see you do all the time. It’s a everything counts in the first game, but it’s not as crazy. It’s just a little bit faster and it’s just with new people and guys are going hard, instead of in practice you’re not hitting, you’re just wrapping up or tagging off.”
Tags: 2012 regular season, new orleans saints, Rookies, washington redskins
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