Josh Wilson on Proving Himself
My first time at Qwest Field was a great experience just like everybody told me it would be. The crowd was really loud and into it, and it was a great home win for us. It was exciting with all the energy and the way we responded as a team made it even more fun. A win always makes everybody feel good, and I felt involved in the win.
Excitement was there for me being there for my first home game, but really I was getting better every game and I felt my confidence growing anyway. That just added to it. I expect myself to be better the next game as well. This was just the next game and I got better. Hopefully, I can keep that train going in the right direction and just keep getting better every game as the season progresses.
I'm hopeful to accelerate the progress I'm making. It's exciting to have the next game here too, but really, it's just next for me. That's what this season is all about. I take each practice and each game as a learning experience to be better the next time.
With all the positions they're playing me - special teams coverage, kickoff returns, cornerback and (nickel, dime coverage) - it's giving the coaching staff more opportunities to see where I can help this team. And it gives me the opportunity to show them different areas where I can help this team win.
To me, every day and everything I do is an opportunity to prove myself. So I'm going after every position 100 miles an hour because I just want to be in the lineup as much as I can. Whatever they see me as or whatever they need me for, that's what I'll try to do. I'm not going to be picky about getting on the field.
In the game (Saturday), I felt a lot more comfortable in the secondary. I was getting my reads quicker and I just felt that it was easier for me to be in the right spot.
On my kickoff returns, I thought I had a chance to break both of them. The first one (26 yards), there was just one guy who caught me because I saw nobody else ahead of me, but I couldn't break the tackle. It was just one more guy to beat and I was gone.
On the second one, I turned the corner and thought I had a chance. They had the angle me. I just needed to be there a little quicker. But it's coming. I can feel it coming. It's going to happen.
I got down the field on that punt from (Ryan Plackemeier) and I just had to pick it up. Plack did all the work ... I was just there. And it felt good to be there (on the 2-yard line). This is such a good team, I just want to be able to contribute to these wins, and felt better about it (Saturday).
Josh Wilson Reflects on His First Training Camp
This month really went by fast. I still feel like I just got here in one way because we've been so busy every day. And in another way, it seems like I've been here for a really long time.
But I can say I'm getting into a real comfort zone now because I'm comfortable with everything going on all around me. In the beginning, I didn't feel that way at all ... everything was so knew and I had so much to learn. I still have a lot to learn, but at least now I know the plays. I've been out there in games and played - it's helped my confidence a lot and I'm sure the more I play the more I'll learn.
People keep saying it's only preseason, but to me, they're still games to me. They count because I'm learning and I'm a better football player because of it. Now I'm at a different stage than when we first started because of what I've learned. Now I'm just getting used to being a professional football player.
The closest feeling I had of becoming an NFL player was the first time I went out there in a preseason game in the nickel coverage. That was huge. That was the first time I really felt like I was part of the defense ... a part of this team. It was really the first time it hit me that I was out on the field representing the Seattle Seahawks on the actual football field and that was a big thing for me.
I was really excited and ready to do what I've always done on the field - just play football the best I could. That's all it ever is for me when I get out there. Every week has been filled with exciting days for me - just getting ready for the next game and being part of this team. Last week was the first home game and that was special, and now we have a quick game against the Raiders - so it's all happening real fast right now.
And then, on to the first game of the regular season (against Tampa, Sept. 9) - really my first NFL game - so it's been exciting and more exciting and bigger and better. Right now, I'm just living it up and I can't take the smile off my face because I'm so happy to be here right now.
I'm feeling more at home every day and I'm sure it will get even more comfortable every day now that I'm living in my house and getting used to coming here and then driving home instead of living in the dorms and practicing. So that's been a change too.
I'll never forget my first training camp for a lot of reasons, but the thing that stands out will be my sore heels. My first preseason game in my first training camp and what do I do? I go out there and get sore feet from a new pair of shoes. I'll never forget that and I'm sure I'll never do that again.
I'm glad I can laugh about it now.
Josh Wilson on the Defensive Backfield
My position coach means everything to me now. Jim (Mora) is the guy that's there for me every step of the way. I'm just learning how to play in the NFL and learning how to play defense all over again. I'm leaning on him and the veterans on just how they want me to contribute to this secondary.
You can tell me you want me to play this guy man-to-man, but you have to show me how you want me to cover him so it fits within the scheme of your defense and with your technique. It's completely different than the way I played in college. The way he explains things and works with me is patient and fun and it's easier to play that way.
It makes sense that I'm going to be closer with the defensive backs and the defensive back coaches than anyone else on the team. When you're with somebody for so long, it becomes more of a connection than just on the football field - we have relationships that go further than that. (Mora) is bothered just as much or even more when we mess up than we are sometimes. It's like a father who tries to teach his son everything. But when the kid makes a mistake, it hurts the father more than the kid. That's how close it becomes between a position coach and a player.
I've been with these guys in the defensive backfield more than anybody else in my life the past month. We're a really close group and we're trying to get closer. That's what you need to win. Jim coaches me a lot. Coach Larry (Marmie) spends a lot of time with me, and in the meetings, I usually sit next to Deon Grant, and he coaches me up pretty much all the time. Really, it's Deon, Tru (Richard Sherman) and Lofa (Tatupu) who have been there most of the time.
I didn't expect that from Lofa since he's a linebacker. When I'm in the alert position, he knows what's going on more than the safeties do. He's always telling me to talk before the snap. He's giving me all the signs and makes sure I know everything that's going on because it's just as important to them as it is to me that I know what I'm doing.
Lofa is always there for me, it really surprises me how much attention he pays to everybody. We were walking to special teams practice the other day and he asked me if I'm all right. Am I picking up everything? He's one of the people that you wouldn't expect to be involved a lot with me as a rookie defensive back.
All the defensive backs are together on and off the field. We can be going to the game, and we'll stop and have dinner together. We're always together. We spend all our time together here, and then we're leaving and calling each other, "What are you going to do?" So even when we're away from here, we're calling each other.
It's almost like you're picking up brothers in a sense, and that's what you want. You're going to be more likely to be looking out for your brother than anybody else in this world and that's what happens when you have a tight group playing the same position.
When you're playing with your brothers, you're going to be closer than with anybody else.
Josh Wilson on Playing at Qwest Field
I'm excited about Saturday night ... I've never been in Qwest Field. Everybody keeps talking about how loud it is and I'll finally get an opportunity to hear it for myself. I'm looking forward to that and the game.
You could say this is the most important game for me, but shoot, to me, they're all important. This is the most important one until the next game, then that will be the most important one. This is just the next one on the schedule when I'm just trying to learn more and just go at it.
I remember my first game at Maryland. I was 18 and I couldn't even tell what anybody was saying to me. I just felt that the crowd was so loud and I was amazed at the feeling. But since then I've been able to play in big games. Going from high school to college, I'd never played in a stadium like that, so this is a different sort of thing.
This is more about the learning curve and how comfortable I can get in the system.
Since I got drafted I noticed the feeling of building toward something here. It wasn't just a normal team going out there every week, play the game and it's "Oh well, let's go home."
We're building a foundation here to have a winning season and taking it all the way to the end at the Super Bowl. That's what I felt here from the beginning, I still feel it, and I'm glad I'm on a team like this. I have a lot of friends in the NFL that aren't on teams like this.
When you're coming in you just want to be here. Now that I've been here, it isn't that different from what my friends told me it would be. It's been almost what I expected. It's the off-the-field stuff that I've had a much tougher time with - like buying a car, buy furniture to fill my house. Stuff like that.
This furniture stuff, it's difficult. When you're younger, it was fun to get the mail and see if anything is there for you. Now it's not fun to get the mail. No news is good news. All of that stuff has been the difference. You think, 'All right, I'll just buy a house. Well, you don't just go buy a house ...you've got to buy furniture to put in it.
That's been the major difference for me. I've had to adjust a lot to the responsibilities away from here. Football is football. I have a lot to learn and I know it. Now that I have to pay for everything it's different. It makes me think: "Where's my mom?"
On the field, it's been pretty much what I expected - just prepare every day to work hard, learn as much as I can and get better. Getting the learning down has been the big thing, and now I just want to take advantage of every opportunity I get to go on the field.
And Saturday night will be a lot of fun just to finally have a home game and play in Qwest Field for the first time.
Josh Wilson on Improving
This week is no different than any other week - I just want to get better.
Now, I'm just trying to refine things, just give back to the team and be more technically sound. On special teams and defense, the first most important thing is for me to be where I'm supposed to be.
We're about to get it with the films today. They're just trying to help us get better. I'm not opposed to getting yelled at or however they choose to get their point across when I make a mistake. As long as the coaches are teaching and getting us better - which is what these guys are doing - I'll take whatever they give me.
Coach (Mike Holmgren) is mad because losing that game hurt him as much as it hurt us and he wants to see us succeed. I'm not mad him. We're all upset with the way we performed and we expected him to be mad. You expect that because you want your coach to be upset because we just had a bad loss like that.
You don't want your coach to walk in and say, "That's fine, don't worry about it, this is just the preseason.' That's not what players want to hear. That was a football game! Every game counts. You want him to be excited. You want to see that he's as into it as you are about winning and losing.
If your coach doesn't feel that way, then there are going to be problems.
You see your mistakes on films. If you had done it this way instead of that way, you would have been in a better position to make a play on defense or it could have been a longer run on a return. You learn from that and understand after seeing it a second time. You were out there and made the play the way you did it. Once you see it again from a different angle, you have a better understanding. That's how you learn to improve.
You know what your thought process was, and what they do in a film session is teach you a better way to think about what you do. There's no better way to learn because you're looking right at it while they're talking.
Film is all about improving your instinct and thinking on the field. And once you do it enough times and have it down, it becomes natural and you can let your physical skills take over.
Every day, my teammates help me - the safeties (Deon Grant and Brian) Russell, Lofa (Tatupu), (Marcus) Trufant, J.P. (Julian Peterson) - they're all helping me every day. They want to make sure I'm succeeding in practice so I can succeed in a game.
We're all out here today wanting to win football games. You're only as strong on a team as your weakest link and I don't want to be the weak link on this team. I'm just trying to make sure that we don't have any weak links. If by making me better the team is better, then we're all better off.
This is about every way the game is played - positioning, though process, what the other team likes to do in situations - it's everything that I need to know every day to prepare for games. Those guys are my family.
I can't tell you where I'll be by the first (regular season game). I just want to be 100 percent, making all my reads and understanding my job to help this football team. I just need to be ready to go.
Josh Wilson on Progressing
I didn't learn how to break on a ball on coverage until I got into college at Maryland.
In high school, you could bait the quarterback into throwing a bad ball. There aren't many high school quarterbacks are going to put the ball on the money, so I didn't really have to work on my technique in high school. It was just natural ability there.
In college you've got to be a little bit quicker. The faster you put that foot down and point that lead foot toward the ball the better. You may have a couple of steps that didn't go as fast or a late break on the ball, and then you can maybe make up for it with speed and reaction.
But up here in the big leagues, it doesn't work like that. You've got to put your foot in the ground and go. That's one of the first things I've learned here. The receiver has two steps to stop. We have one. Everything that the receiver does you've got to do in one or two less steps than they do. You're reacting. Breaking on a ball is really important here.
When we're in the nickel (coverage), just being able to read the quarterback's eyes and his posture, and break on his throw, it allows you to put yourself in position to make a play.
You've got to be decisive ... really, you've got to be decisively right, or you can get in trouble fast. You've got to just go. As a defensive back, you can't second-guess yourself. If you see something you believe in, you have to go with it.
A lot of people hesitate, and that's how you miss an opportunity to make a play. The only way to do it is to be confident in your decision, break and go. Then you'll make a lot of plays.
Confidence is everything as a defensive back. The toughest part is probably planting that foot down and going until it becomes a natural thing to do. Then once it becomes natural, you put the foot down and go with the angle you feel. And once you get the angle ... you just move to the next technique.
It's just a growing process where you're constantly learning more and getting better at the way you play. I talk to (Marcus) Trufant, and he keeps telling me how he keeps learning more and getting better all the time. You're always getting better.
Technique becomes instinct. It's like writing with a pencil. Once you learn how to do it, you always know how to do it. And once you master writing with a pencil, you want to write better. I know how to type - and where all the letters are - but I want to type faster.
It's always about progressing - always trying to find another way to stay ahead of the curve. The great players are great at one thing, but to stay great they have to work on adding to what they do to reach another level. It's just like in any business.
You can have the best computer, but it's not going to be the best for a long time because somebody is always trying to do things better than you are.
I've got to get my eyes to work consistently in coverage. My hands and feet are doing pretty good right now, so I've got to work on how my eyes are figuring out routes and throws. Once I get experience in more of these practices every day and preseason game situations, I think I'll be fine by Week 1.
Josh Wilson on Week Three in the NFL
Yeah, I learned a lot this week.
Starting with the game, you always know things are going to happen. You have to be able to bounce back up and regain your focus when things don't go right. And I had a couple of bad plays in the game, but I was able to refocus - keep my head into the game and make some plays after that.
From that I also learned you can't wear new shoes on game day. My feet were killing me afterward and it hurt my heel. I'm OK now. Maybe it was just because it was my first NFL game and it was different. I don't know. I just got some real sore feet and it was important to get past that, get back out here in practice and go through the techniques again.
The difference for me this week is now that I've been in an NFL game, I have a better idea of what the speed is going to be like, I've got to be ready physically and mentally to prepare the right way for the Green Bay game. Now it's time for the next step in my education here.
I got the first one out of the way, now I've got to make a major improvement from the first game to the second game and that's been my goal in preparation all week. I don't know when I'm going to play so I don't think about it. You can't worry about things that are out of your control. My job is to be ready whenever they ask me to do something.
It's up to the coaches who is going to play and when and who's going to help the team the most. All I can do is prepare and be ready for whatever role they have in mind for me.
When I fumbled the kickoff last week, I had the ball in the wrong position when I tried to get away from a guy and he got his hands on it. I should have just covered it up. It's a rookie mistake I made and I'm going to learn from it ... at least I learned from it now.
That's my first game of my first preseason.
You've just got to knock that game out of the way. It gives you a little bit more confidence. What happened last week added fuel to the fire for me to get better and be more consistent with what I'm doing this week. This is the kind of situation that gives me that extra oomph in the middle of camp when you're getting tired.
I watched the whole game. Besides a couple of down plays, I think I had a pretty good game. I made some plays. What I've got to learn is how to play like that throughout the game. I can't make mistakes like that because they hurt the team. This is what my growing process is all about. It gave me the motivation that I'll get past those mistakes.
The majority of the game I played well and had just two bad plays - but that's all anybody remembers, so I have to deal with it. I've played football for too long in too many big games to know that you can't dwell on it. After I got beat for the touchdown (last week), everybody came up to me on the sidelines telling me to forget about it, and I already was telling them, "I'm fine." I don't want it to happen. I don't ever want a receiver to catch the ball. But you can't do that. You've got to get past that and do your job. You can go over your mistakes after the game to think about what you can do better.
It's not to sit there and get down on yourself, but how can you raise your play to the next level.
Josh Wilson on Being a Return Man
I returned my first kickoff in little league, but I actually had more fun in little league and high school returning punts. The guys weren't coming down as fast.
As I got into college, kickoff returns became more fun and I got better at it. Last year at Maryland, if you ask my teammates and everybody else who saw me ... they thought I was kind of crazy. I'd be laughing while I was returning the kicks. I'd juke somebody and be cracking up as I was running away from him.
Then I'd run down the field, it's the one time on the field you don't have any responsibility except hold onto the football and score a touchdown. Those are the only two things you have to be concerned with. The only rule is "Catch the ball, score a touchdown and I don't care how you get there."
And making people miss you is a lot of fun while you're doing it.
On kickoffs, there are 11 crazy guys running down there as fast as they can - trying to get to the ball. On punts, they hang the ball up there and you don't know if you're going to get a chance to run it. You might have to fair catch it, or you could have the two gunners right here in your face, or they might even kick it out of bounds.
You just don't get a chance to return every time on a punt.
On a kickoff, you can take it out of the end zone every time if you want. The only way they can keep the ball away from you is to kick it out of bounds, and nobody wants to do that and put the ball on the 40-yard line.
The best thing about it is you have the opportunity to change the momentum of the game immediately after the other team scores - guaranteed. A punt changes the momentum too, but on a punt you just stopped their drive. So you've just changed the momentum at least some.
But on a kickoff they just scored. No matter whether it was a field goal or what it was. If it's the start of a half, you gain momentum with a good return. There is no kickoff where you don't have the opportunity to change the game. But nothing is better than a team taking the lead on a touchdown and then you just take it back with a kickoff return for a touchdown. That's the greatest feeling.
The way we did it in college, I'd catch the ball and I'm taking my initial steps forward, then breaking to whichever side the call is to and looking for a hole to run through. I'm looking for a hole at full speed ... it's not like I stop and look around first. I'm running full speed, and if the hole's not there I'm going to hit it anyway.
You've got to decide right away - right or left -which way you're going to go and run wherever you think the hole is going to pop open. So my job is to hit it as hard and fast as I can, and then it's just a race.
Most of the time on a kickoff return, you've got to make two guys miss. If two guys miss, you're going to have a pretty good kickoff return. It's very, very similar here as it was at Maryland. The only difference is a wedge return. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same.
But on the other side of the ball, these guys coming down the field that I'm watching on film, that's all they do. In college you have a lot of starters on special teams. This is how they make their living as specialists, so you've got to know what you're doing.
Josh Wilson on His First NFL Game
Sunday will be another battle for me. It's the next step in my development of coming here - from the practices to the scrimmage to the preseason game. So now it's just moving to another level. It's going to get a little bit faster and have to be prepared to play football with the Seahawks against another team for the first time.
Mentally, I'm getting more into it, more involved in what is happening around me. More than anything physical, I'm getting more comfortable with what is going on, so it's allowing me to react faster physically.
The sharpening of the mental aspects of the game is making me a better player right now.
Going into a stadium isn't going to make much difference with the lights on. As far as I'm concerned, the lights came on the first time I stepped on the practice field for the Seahawks. That was the day I became a part of the NFL. This is a whole different environment than college. Knowing that I've been in this environment and played in big stadiums when I was in college with big crowds, it's not a big thing to me.
Well, it is going to be my first NFL game and the adrenaline is going to be pumping for sure. But I am going to go in there like it's just another game for me.
When I was in college, I used to get all hyped up my freshman and sophomore year, and then I would get on the field and be all nervous. Then I wouldn't play like I should have. It's the same thing I'm learning now, only I was younger then. I had to learn to just go out there, relax and play football. It's the same game, just go out there and have fun.
Sunday is against a different team, but you've still got to be able to go out there and do the right thing. You've still got to make the right plays. You've got to execute what you've done in practice and before, and you'll be all right.
There are a lot of people don't know how to control your adrenaline. You've got to learn how to control it under pressure. When it happens, You have got to know how to channel your energy into refocusing yourself into what needs to be going on or you won't be able to make the right plays. If you let it take over, you are going to be doing a lot of things that are out of character. And then you get frustrated because you're not reacting on the field the way you should be.
Once the game is over, I want to know there are no missed assignments; no missed opportunities, just to know that I went out there to make plays and do my job the way it needs to be done. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I want to be able to feel good about doing the things the coaches want me to do the first game out to help this team.
I have no idea how much I'm going to play. I just have to be prepared to make plays as soon as I get the opportunity so they'll be confident that I can do the job.
Josh Wilson on Today's Open Practice
There weren't as many fans at practice as there were at the scrimmage Saturday night, but there were still fans there cheering and the "ooohs and aaahs" get your adrenaline going a little bit more than a normal practice.
It was a relaxed setting, but it was fun and a good experience. It's helpful for the young guys to feel numb to the fans. They have to get used to people making noise on big plays. I'd never been to University of Washington, but I've obviously heard a lot about it since I moved out here. It's a nice place ... a big place. Everybody else here calls it U-Dub, but it's just the University of Washington to me. Being on the lake, I'm sure it gets real cold and rainy here, but it's a beautifully designed big stadium - the kind that I'm used to when you visit big-time football programs.
Going there was more about concentration today. Even though it was another boost with fans, if you try to bring the fans into it, it can be too hard to get your job done. If you let them get into your head - start hearing those "ooohs and aaahs" too much, you'll start getting distracted from getting your job done the way you need to. For us to be successful as a team, we've got to focus as close to 100 percent of the time as possible. When you're on that field, you just listen to your coaches, your teammates - your brothers - and play football.
It was fun coming off the field and signing autographs again. Fans love autographs and so do I. I remember when I went to a Redskins-Chargers game, got Junior Seau's autograph and how much that meant to me. It still does today. And to be able to bring that joy to another kid's eyes is all I look for.
Because of my experience, I'm not just going to go out there and sign. I've got to have a conversation. I'm going to enjoy the experience as much as they enjoy the experience. In doing that, it makes their experience even better, so I'm not the bland guy who just sits there and says thank you for being a Seahawks fan. That's not me.
I'm going to sit there and ask the kids their name, how old they are, do they play football, what position they play? I want them to feel like they got a chance to talk to me and that I'm interested in talking to them. It makes it more worthwhile for everybody involved. That's part of my job.
I have to say one guy stood out for me. He had a "Fear the Turtle" sweatshirt on - that's a University of Maryland (my alma mater) sweatshirt. We talked Maryland football and that was great. He got my glove. I signed my glove and gave it to him. I don't see many of those out here on the West Coast, so I was excited about that.
The last thing I thought I would see today was a "Fear the Turtle" sweatshirt. I got excited, started talking about everything back home with him. I had a good time signing autographs anyway, but the guy with the "Fear the Turtle" sweatshirt was the highlight of my day without a doubt.