There’s absolutely nothing to give you in a JP today. The T&F program deserved its own story. The SCOTUS gambling case did as well. But, what has been interesting is to contrast the experiences of Alabama’s NFL rookies as they enter offseason OTA camps.
So, take a look at how Rashaan Evans, Bo Scarbrough, and Calvin Ridley are faring in their new homes.
Calvin Ridley, the new Robin to Julio Jones Batman, is working out at slot and outside receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. But, just as interesting (and as was rumored to be the case in his Alabama years) Ridley is also seeing time at punt and kick returner in practice. He’s super fluid and elusive in the open field, and he definitely has an extra gear. This could be a good move for him to get on the field more as he is establishing himself in the league.
But, what is he taking away the most from camp? A bit more relaxed environment:
“I didn’t get to wear this in college, so I had to do it,” Ridley said. “Coach (Nick Saban) really didn’t like us to wear long sleeves, and I had to do it. I had to try. ... I can have my shirt out a little bit. I don’t have to tuck my shirt in. ... It’s a little different to take my helmet off all the time. A little more freedom. It’s cool, though.”
When you read quotes like that, it’s easy to remember that these guys are 20-21 years old, isn’t it?
Bo Scarbrough is having a smooth transition in Dallas. He has praised the effort and toughness of practices, the players, and even head man Jason Garrett. As for the ‘Boys, it seems as though Big D has been great fit for the 7th Round selection.
“It’s kind of the same thing,” Scarbrough said. “It goes back to what I was saying -- discipline and effort and toughness, being strong-minded. So it’s kind of the same thing.”
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”He’s kind of like coach Saban,” Scarbrough said. “Just from being around the building and seeing some of the signs up -- the team, the team, the team, the ball, the ball, being disciplined. It’s kind of the same thing that we do at Alabama, so I kind of feel at home.
”I kind of feel like the system is exactly the same -- the play-calling, the footwork, the techniques, don’t walk on the field. Everything we did at Alabama kind of transitioned to Dallas.”
Rashaan Evans’ experience with the Nashville Titans seems to be off to a much harder start than Scarbrough’s in Dallas though:
Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans played college football at Alabama, the closest thing college football produces to an NFL program. And even at that level, the first-rounder immediately noticed a stark difference at rookie minicamp.
“It’s like night and day,” Evans said, via AL.com. “Just the intensity and also the athletes. Everybody’s good. Even though I was playing with great guys at Alabama, these are guys who are just as athletic as you and they know exactly what to do and they don’t make any mistakes. I think that’s the difference. . . .
“Regardless of how great the team you came from was, it’s always going to be faster in the NFL. So for me, I’m just trying to get as fast as I can possibly be and once I get to that level where I can be natural, I think everything else will fall into place.”
Whether this is truly a more difficult transition for Evans, or it’s just an honest acknowledgement that everyone in the NFL is as good or better than even the best college players, remains to be seen. But, the Titans drafted Evans to fill the middle of its defensive void immediately, so the former ‘Bama star will need to get up to speed sooner rather than later.
BONUS: I know it’s not a rookie matter, but Landon Collins remains hilariously outspoken. After calling out headcase Eli Apple and locker room cancer Ereck Flowers, Collins had some things to say about the Giants retaining the traffic cone lineman. Head coach Pat Shurmur isn’t too happy. But, hey, I’d be willing to bet Landon stays in the Big Apple longer than Shurmur. And Collins seems to know that too. LOL.