Cullen Jenkins remembers his first NFL game. He was unexpectedly called into action, after a teammate went down, under the bright lights on Monday Night Football.
Making it more intense, Jenkins was playing against his brother Kris. (For the record, Cullen's Packers beat Kris' Panthers.)
"I was thrown right into the fire," Jenkins said. "I just went in there and carried over everything I had worked on and you have to keep that same attitude you had in college, where you expect to do well."
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Several of Cullen's teammates will be in a similar position Sunday in Cleveland. The Eagles have 10 rookies on the 53-man roster, and at least four of them are expected to see extended action.
First-round pick Fletcher Cox, a player Jenkins compared to Richard Seymour, comes in with the most hype. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn will lean heavily on the speed-rushing hybrid in his Wide-9 rotation.
"He's alive, with his size, his explosiveness," Jenkins said. "He's getting smarter and as far as football IQ goes, I think he's getting better every day. I think Fletcher will have a big year for us."
Cox said he talks to Jenkins all the time, trying to pick the veteran's brain for anything little that may help him out.
"He [Jenkins] gave me a heads up on something he does, and that's to set a daily goal, and that's something that I've been doing," Cox said. "I took that from him. I set a daily goal, therefore you don't dread things. You just take that daily goal and work on it each day."
But Cox admitted that the reality of playing in his first NFL game might start to set in by the end of the week.
"My main focus today is to get practice in and go out and attack," he said. "Emotions? Maybe later in the week."
Curry in high spirits, chance he sits Week 1
Vinny Curry looks to be the odd man out of Jim Washburn’s rotation this weekend. And even though many of his fellow rookie classmates look to play integral parts, Curry isn’t putting his head down.
“Rookies are close so we all talk about goals and things like that, so those guys are definitely ready,” Curry said. “I’m happy for them and I’m also happy for myself. I’m going to continue to work, whether active or inactive, continue to work and help my team out. At the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about us all chasing that Lombardi Trophy.”
Curry could provide some interesting scouting insight for the Birds. He actually played against — and sacked — Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden in the Senior Bowl.
“He was a good dude, real good guy,” Curry said. “He’s a good quarterback. Good arm, accurate, real smart quarterback, should be fun Sunday.”
As far as nerves, he got them all out in the first preseason game.
“That part of the phase happened already against Pittsburgh.”