Fincher and McAfee getting up to speed...
Fincher, McAfee getting up to speed at camp
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
The Times-Picayune will be visiting with Saints players Alfred Fincher, a rookie, and Fred McAfee, a 15-year veteran, each week to get their thoughts on training camp.
Fincher is a linebacker who was drafted in the third round out of Connecticut. He is projected as the second-string middle linebacker.
McAfee spent his first three years with the Saints, then played in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay before returning to New Orleans in 2000.
On his early performance:
"I know I'm not playing well right now. Well, at least up to my level. I don't know how it may look to them, but I mean, it's not up to the level I can play. There's a lot in right now, but I don't feel overloaded with it. It's just, I'm making dumb mistakes. I think what's happening right now, I'm trying to impress more than just play my game. I feel that I'm a third-round pick, and I know I came in here to get a job accomplished, and that's why they got me. And I feel like I'm pressing a little bit too much right now, so I'm kind of out of my game.
". . . It's hot out here, so there's some fatigue, but I'm in shape. The heat got to me the first day, but I'm past that point. Basically I'm just not doing it fundamentally. My fundamentals are terrible right now. It's just you're out playing at a new level and you try to do some things that you normally don't do. You think because you're in the NFL now, you've got to do something extra. But you really don't. You've just got to do what you did that made you successful. I think as camp goes on, I'll settle down and start to refocus and play my game."
On the daily schedule:
"It's been exciting, but the days are long. Camp is long. We're in here at like 7:30 and don't get (back to the hotel) until like 10. So it's kind of different in that aspect, but this is my job now. You know, this is what I signed up for. We're here all day, so once I get home, I get a little snack and I'm in my book again. And then I'm sleeping, and I'm up early again."
On his hectic summer:
"When I got down here for the first time, I got introduced, they took me in and gave me the playbook, and I'm learning that. And then that whole month I was down here, I went around, got a Realtor, looked for homes, found a home (in Covington). And then I had to get a bank account set up, and then after that I went home and had to do my mortgage. I didn't have a car, so I had to go buy a car (a 2005 Tahoe). Then I started to do things to get my budget set up, and I didn't even know how much I'd be making yet. That money goes quick, too. Everybody's grabbing in your pockets. I was really overwhelmed with it. I was stressing out a lot. I had an agent change as well. So it was just a lot. But I got through it, and everything's cool now."
On the start of training camp:
"It's excitement and dread at the same time. You're excited to get back into football, get back in the old atmosphere. But there's a lot of things you dread, like getting up early, you dread two-a-days of course, you dread the heat."
On rookies putting a lot of pressure on themselves:
"That's a common rookie reaction. He isn't the only one that went through that. They all go through that. I went through it. Everybody, even the best. I can remember Willie Roaf went through that. As a rookie, you've got to be pretty serious about what you're doing. They've got a lot more to learn. They've got a lot more worries and pressures than an older guy who's been through it a few times. Rookies are trying to get the playbook down, they're trying to get the system down. Especially if you're a higher draft pick, the pressure's on."
On his memories of trying to make the team:
"This is a funny story. I can remember the very first time I got cut. My first year was 1991, and I just heard rumors. I heard they were going to keep three tailbacks. And I said, they've got Rueben Mayes, they've got Dalton Hilliard, they've got me, they've got Gil Fenerty, and we had another rookie named Anthony Wallace. I said you know what, I think I've got a shot. Then when Rueben retired, I was like, "Yeaaaah!" I can remember sitting in the meeting room and I'm thinking, all the cuts have been made. I said, "I'm in!" I'm looking at the numbers and I said, hey, somebody's smiling on Freddie. There were three fullbacks: There was Buford Jordan, Craig Heyward and Bobby Morse. I said, Bobby's getting cut. They came in the meeting room to get the playbooks, and I was getting ready to say my good-byes to Bobby. And they said, "Uh, Freddie, uh, Coach Mora wants to see you." I was like, "Wow."
On if he still studies the roster:
"Let me tell you what, if you're not one of the first 22, you're looking at that stuff. I don't care what you say. I don't care if you're in the league two years or you've been in the league 12 years. If you're not one of the first 22, it runs through your mind, definitely. I'm not saying I'm down there looking at the roster or anything like that. But it runs through your mind every once in a while."
RE: Fincher and McAfee getting up to speed...
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