What has changed for you this season compared to last season?
Just how I prepare, the mental part of it. Seeing everything one time allows you to understand how long the season is and what you have to do to play long in this league. It helps a lot having Joe (Cullen) and bringing in (Aaron) Kampman, who has been around the league for a long time. You can take little things from everybody in this league and that's what I'm doing.
Has the game slowed down for you this year?
Absolutely. The more you watch film, the more you understand what a team is trying to do to you and the easier it is to combat it. That's what we do. We break down everything to the finest detail and take advantage of it out on the field.
You are now the veteran of the defensive line, having played more games for the Jaguars than anyone else. Have you tried to take on more of a leadership role this year?
Yeah, I have to. Just me playing hard, preparing right and doing the right things on the field during practice and games rubs off on guys. I don't have to say much because Joe (Cullen) does all of the talking. As long as I'm working hard and doing my part, guys will follow that way.
Has the defensive line reached its potential?
No. I'm in my second year and a lot of the guys are in their first year. This is (Jeremy) Mincey's first real healthy season and (Derrick) Harvey is still young, so we've definitely got a lot of growing to do. We started the season inconsistent, but we're doing better now. We just want to keep it going. Who knows how good we can become?
What has Joe Cullen done for you?
He brings intensity to everything. How we prepare, how we practice and how we play is just a reflection of our coach. Us flying around the field is a bar that we set now for the defensive linemen that play for the Jaguars. We're relentless, we're always focused and we play 'til the whistle blows."
You eat dinner every Wednesday and Thursday night at strength and conditioning Coach Luke Richesson's house. Why is that?
That's just to stay focused on my diet and get any tidbits that I can from Anita and Luke, who know stuff about nutrition. It's just a routine that I'm doing now. It's helping me keep my weight good and we're winning, so why not keep doing it? It's something different every night. They're exposing me to different types of food. Growing up I didn't eat a variety of foods, but now I'm trying different vegetables, different ways of cooking stuff and different combinations of food. It's good for me and it's exposing me to better things to eat. When the offseason comes I know what to eat and what not to eat, and how to prepare my own food.
Is it tough to not eat healthy during the other nights you aren't at Luke's house?
No, I'm pretty focused so that would be a waste of time to go over there Wednesday and Thursday and then eat whatever I want the rest of the days. It would defeat the whole purpose of it, so I just stay focused on taking care of my body. It's all about longevity and I want to play for a long time, so I've got to take care of my body early on.
Can you talk about visiting Community Connections the day before Thanksgiving?
A couple of guys and I just went over to the home and made plates for people, talked to people about Thanksgiving. It's just being around other peoples' families and helping out. That's what this holiday is about, just helping out and being thankful and generous to others.