First of a three part interview with Uche Nwaneri, offensive lineman with the Jacksonville Jaguars
Talking with Uche, 2 of 3
I think that the team's chemistry is going to be a crucial factor. I mean, we have the talent and we have the individual players. That's evident because we've had pretty much the same team that we went to the playoffs with in 2007. I think it's mainly just the issue of the players coming together and gelling together which, you know, as you can see with teams like Pittsburgh and teams like the Giants, and Arizona even, that was something that was crucial for them to get to where they were able to go in terms of the playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl. Now that's our ultimate goal to get to the Super Bowl and our team chemistry is going to be a HUGE factor in that.
What do you need to improve on for 2009?
I think for me just continuing to develop is going to be so crucial to help me maintain and lockdown a starting position. I'm a young player; I'm just going into my third season. I've taken leaps and bounds from my rookie year to me second year and now from my second year to my third year I just need to take another big step that will help me lock down a starting position. It's always going to be a competition, is always going to be a heated competition to get that position but it's those little things and the little techniques that you have to be able to refine the most, that will help you get the edge.
Do you see yourself playing guard or center?
I have no clue. It's whatever the coaches want me to do. I'm glad that I'm one of those types of players that can be versatile enough to play in different positions. Last year they wanted me to play left and for Vinny to move to the right, and then Meester got hurt so they put me back to center … then Mo Williams got hurt so they moved me back to right … so I played the three interior positions. Whatever the coaches want me to play; I'll just have to be ready to do that. That's an edge for me; to be able to play that many positions makes me a little more useful to the team
What position do you like to play best?
I like the left guard spot. I played that all through college and I'm just really comfortable there. That's not to say I'm not comfortable at center or right because I get comfortable after a couple of days but that left guard spot is like second nature to me. So, if I had to choose, I'd choose left guard.
How did you do against Albert Haynesworth?
[Laughing] His work was tough. He's one of those elite defensive linemen and for me, a young guy that's trying to make a name for myself in the NFL, I salivate over the opportunity to play someone like that because it's kind of like a measuring stick for me to see where I'm at and to see where I need to be. Playing against him, you know, he's a big, powerful guy and you have to work the whole play in order to secure a block against him but its fun doing that, I love doing that.
Who was the most underrated DT you've played against?
I can't really say what underrated is because I've played against so many of the top DTs this year. I played against Haynesworth, Sean Rogers, Tommy Harris …
Who did you enjoy playing against the most?
I think Haynesworth, definitely … I got the most pumped up for him. Sean Rogers, I got up for him too. That was a great challenge for me to go out and play against him. But, a lot of the defensive tackles we played against this year were really good defensive tackles so you can't count out guys like the Williams brothers from Minnesota, those guys were good. You play against guys like those week in and week out; you can't help to get better so it was definitely a challenge playing against those guys.
Part 3 of 3 is coming soon.
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