JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser spent time this week with Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin, discussing three topics as he prepared for his second game back as the nickel corner following a season-opening suspension
The topic:The frustration
The background:Colvin, a fourth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, stood out during 2016 training camp and preseason. Some around the team thought he was playing as well as any corner on the team outside rookie No. 5 overall selection Jalen Ramsey. But Colvin spent the first four '16 regular-season games suspended under the NFL's performance-enhancing-substances policy and had to wait until this past Sunday to make his seasonal debut.
The quote:"I just had to be patient and understand that even though I couldn't be out there, when I came back I could still make a difference. I still had 12 games to showcase what I could do. I'm really confident right now. I've been confident since OTAs [organized team activities]. I feel like I'm in a good place – not only physically but mentally as well. When I came back it was like I never left. I would say it's my mental approach. Honestly last year was my first year being out there in the defense [after missing 10 games as a rookie with a torn anterior cruciate ligament]. People don't see that sometimes, so for me last year was a rookie year. I was trying to figure out some things and trying to figure out how to approach practice, how to approach games. I was playing two positions. When I came into this year, I knew what to expect and I knew what the coaches wanted. Then I could just focus on myself."
The topic: Playing nickel – just nickel.
The background:Colvin started 15 games at outside cornerback last season, moving inside to play the nickel in passing situations. He is playing just nickel so far this season, with Prince Amukamara and Ramsey playing the outside.
The quote: "I'm not going to shoot any blanks to you: it is tough just because of how I see myself and I know I can play outside. But we have guys in our room who can play at a high level. It's not any disservice. I don't take it as a shot. I know I can still make plays and still affect the game from the slot. My mindset is, 'Go out there and affect the game.' I like outside a lot, but that nickel spot – I don't think people who watch the game have caught up to how important that nickel spot is. I want to change the outlook on that. I want to make that a primary position where young kids want to play nickel. Nickel just feels really natural to me, especially where I can use my eyes and I can use my quickness and I can get into the running game. At nickel you can make a lot plays."
The topic: The dual role as a rookie
The background:Colvin said it was difficult at times last season playing the dual role of outside corner and nickel on third-down, passing situations.
The quote: "Nickel's a lot of fun. You can see what's around you compared to when you're outside and focused on one receiver. They both have their perks. I love nickel. I love being able to do different things. Covering guys is probably my favorite thing, but being able to blitz and being around the ball is right there. It was difficult to do both. It's a lot of information, especially in our defense because we do a lot of different things in the nickel spot. You have to be on every single thing in this defense or get exposed. It was difficult, but as the year went on I started to get more comfortable. I don't want to say I wasn't having fun, but I was thinking a lot. In OTAs and [training] camp I was comfortable. I was having fun. I wasn't thinking too much and I was just playing loose."