COMMENTARY | The differences between Jacksonville, where linebacker Kyle Bosworth spent the first three years of his professional career, and New York/New Jersey were instantly noticeable.
For starters, there is the weather, which the 26-year-old admitted caught him off guard a bit because, "It was actually hotter up here in New Jersey than it was in Jacksonville."
And then there is the media.
"You guys are much bigger group than in Jacksonville," he said as he glanced at the large group of cameras, recorders and notebooks scattered across the patio at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, the year-round headquarters for the New York Giants. "But you're just as friendly."
That's pretty much where the major differences end as far as Bosworth is concerned, because much like he has done every year since signing with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent on May 3, 2010, Bosworth, who joined the Giants this year on May 30, is once again competing for a spot on an NFL roster.
It's difficult enough for the majority of players to make their team's roster year after year; it's even more challenging when that player has to start over with a new club, as is the case for Bosworth.
Granted, football is football and the schemes and plays are, for the most part, standard. However, it's often the intangibles that mean the difference between a player's success and coming up short, intangibles such as adapting to his new team's rules, learning its terminology, and finding a voice that fits in the in the locker room.
For Bosworth, mastering all of those intangibles shouldn't be too difficult. The nephew of former Seattle Seahawks flamboyant linebacker turned actor Brian Bosworth, the younger Bosworth is much more business-like and recognizes the opportunity in front of him to help add depth to a linebacker unit that this past offseason cut Michael Boley in a salary cap related move; lost Chase Blackburn to free agency; and moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end full time.
One of the first orders of business that Bosworth has undertaken is to immerse himself in the team's playbook to learn multiple positions, not just in the base defense but also in the various situational packages.
Besides learning everything from A to Z about playing linebacker in defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's system, Bosworth has taken his learning a step further.
"I've learned about multiple positions, and not just what the linebackers do," he said. "I've learned about where the defensive line goes, depending on the blitz, and if the calls that a young secondary might be making might not being the best calls, I'll try real quick to correct them during the play and then talk to them afterwards."
As with any player coming to a new team, the hardest challenge is usually mastering the team's terminology, something that Bosworth has said is progressing.
"Everyone has similar schemes from defense to defense," he said. "It's just the way that they call it and the way they do adjustments and things like that. So I have to kind of take away from what I used to know and sometimes revert back to it."
So far, that approach seems to be working. Bosworth, who began working with the third-string defense, has come up with several nice plays in the early days of training camp, including sacks and tipped passes. Perhaps even more impressive has been his ability to diagnose running plays, find an inside edge into the backfield, and disrupt the plays before they have a chance to get going.
Because of the versatility the Giants currently have at linebacker, the coaches have been experimenting with different combinations to match personnel with specific situations. That gives guys like Bosworth, who have multiple skill sets, a strong chance of making the roster.
"We have a lot of things that we do and we have a lot of guys who fit into different little roles," said Giants linebackers coach Jim Herrmann. "(That) is exciting for them because they may not be a starter in first or second down, but come third down, they can be a starter because of their talents."
Then there are the intangibles, most notably, leadership off the field. Bosworth admits that he's never really been a vocal guy, but that doesn't mean that, as a newcomer, he's afraid to share his experiences with younger teammates who maybe aren't taking camp as seriously as they need to on a daily basis.
"In the locker room, maybe some guys might have heavy eyes during meetings because they're there all day long or something's going on, and I'll try to help them by reminding them that this is stuff that is going to benefit them in training camp," he said.
"They're really throwing a lot at you to see how you react. So me having already done that, I can share that experience. I know what coaches expect and what players expect of themselves going out of training camp.
When all is said and done, Bosworth believes that actions speak louder than words.
"Like coach Coughlin says, you do the right thing instead of speaking the right thing," he said. "They both go hand in hand, but they're different things. Like I'll lead by example more than by yelling because I feel like if a person does the right thing over and over again, others will eventually follow -- a 'if you build it, they will come' kind of thing."
For the time being, though, Bosworth is focused on building his credibility and trust with the coaches and his teammates. He's been studying his playbook every night after practice and he is hoping all that extra study time helps him separate from the rest once roster spots are handed out.
"Everyone's strong and everyone's fast," he said of his competition. "I think it's the mental aspect where you're going to separate yourself. The more you study, the more you understand the defense and the other positions and how they fit, the better off you're going to be."
Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who covers the New York Giants for Inside Football. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina for all the latest Giants news and notes, including daily updates from training camp.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Kyle Bosworth
- New York Giants
- Brian Bosworth