For NFL rookies, spring is a time for adjustment. The NFL Draft is over, and each new player has had his first taste of life in the pros at rookie minicamps, which wrapped up last week. Players at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere event in Los Angeles this week talked about the transition with a mix of eagerness and suspense at the future that awaits them. Among the most commonly cited concerns was the speed of the pro game ... and playing in cold weather.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a familiar face waiting for him in offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, his former head coach at Texas A&M. That will help Tannehill acclimate, but the quarterback still noted the difference in jumping up a level.
"I have a background w/ the playbook, but not having played in an NFL game, it's going to be an adjustment getting used to the speed of the game, the speed of the defense and the way they disguise things," Tannehill said.
Speed is one thing that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright knows well from his days stretching the field for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Nevertheless, the difference in velocity topped his list of changes.
"Speed of the game is number one, getting used to the speed," Wright said. "Being in practice helps you get used to the speed."
Washington Redskins unflappable quarterback Robert Griffin III offered a more sanguine take on the speed of the game. Learning the playbook topped his list of things to do in order to thrive in the NFL.
"When it comes to the speed of the game, you'll adjust," Griffin said. "You just adjust to it. It's the playbook so I can learn everythign and know where I"m going and be decisive."
Speed and playbooks were not the only thing on the minds of the newest group of NFL players. For those moving from college campuses in the southern part of the country to NFL teams up north, the weather was clearly on their minds.
"I am prepared for it," Foles said. "Playing football is playing football. It will be different but I have played in snow and freezing rain. Those are fun games, like being in the backyard playing as a kid."
On Friday night, players at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere will take on a mix of former player and celebrities in a flag football game. The speed of that game won't be of much concern. Neither will the weather as the forecast for Los Angeles calls for sunshine and highs in the 70s through the weekend.