Cedric Griffin - Learning on the Fly
Learning on the fly
Football is a game of adjustments. You get beat deep, you roll the coverage. You get shut down on offense, you work to get your guys open in different areas of the field.
For a rookie in the NFL, there are adjustments that need to be made on the field to be sure. But maybe the biggest adjustment is learning to live life off the field as an NFL football player. For Vikings rookie CB Cedric Griffin there are adjustments being made everyday as he gets a crash course, not just in how to play corner, but how to live his life.
Griffin was born in Mississippi and lived there until 1992 when he and his family moved to San Antonio, Texas. In Texas, football is life, so naturally Griffin was drawn to the game. He studied guys in the NFL and tried to pattern his game after theirs.
"My biggest influence? Probably Deion Sanders, I mean he's the man," said Griffin. "He's what every DB wants to be. A shut down corner just left over there where no one messes with you. So I'm trying to be like him, but at the same time I'm trying to create my own personality and identity as a player."
Growing up in Texas, Griffin attended Homes High School in San Antonio, starring there before moving on to the University of Texas. It was at Texas where Griffin really began to shine. While he was a top prospect in the state, few could have predicted the immediate impact he would have on the Longhorns secondary.
As a freshman he played both corner and safety recording 73 tackles. He moved full time to corner during his sophomore season and kept getting better each year. He got his first INT as a sophomore and finished his career as a Longhorn with a career high 86 tackles and 15 pass breakups. Oh yeah, he also helped lead Texas to a win over USC in the National Championship.
"I do have a winning attitude, I love to compete and I don't like losing," explained Griffin. "So hopefully I can bring that over to this atmosphere, but at the same time, this is the NFL and every team is out win. It's just a different mentality out there, so we'll see what happens."
After ending his college career on a winning note, Griffin took his skills to the NFL Draft. He did not wow scouts at the NFL combine, only running a 4.52-40. That number earned him the label of "tweener" heading into draft day, as teams didn't know if he was really a corner or a safety in the NFL where the speed of the game consistently shocks young players.
"I don't think it's something you can prepare for," said Griffin. "I thought coming into the league that I was already prepared because I played against the top speed in college. But it's a different level and I'm learning that right now."
"I think it's taking a toll on me right now, trying to keep up with the WRs, but it's a learning process and I'm willing to learn right now."
On draft day a total of six CBs were drafted in front of Griffin, a fact not lost on the young guy.
"It definitely motivates me," said Griffin. "I mean, the guys that were drafted in front of me are quality guys, but I also think I'm one of those quality guys. I'm going to be working just that much harder to out-work those guys and prove myself."
"It (draft day) wasn't too stressful though. I went right about where I thought I was going to go, so it was a good day"
The opportunity to prove himself came quickly as this year's training camp got underway. Griffin made an immediate impression on defense with his physical style of play and nose for the ball. But for all the good things he's done, Griffin knows he has to get better.
"I am known as a physical corner, and that's a good thing," said Griffin. "As long as I keep developing my cover skills and my knowledge of the game, it's all gonna come back around and become a great cornerback."
With camp coming to a close next week, Griffin's learning process has really just begun. Not only is he dealing with the ins and outs of the Tampa Two defense, but getting used to life away from his native Texas will be a big adjustment as well.
"You know what, I thought I was prepared for training camp, and I wasn't," said Griffin. "Now I think I'm prepared for the winter, but at the same time I'm probably not, so we'll just see how that goes."
"The Texas weather has traveled with me so far. The sun has been out and all the people in Minnesota have been friendly to me so it's a good deal so far."
Unlike so many rookies, Griffin truly seems to know his place in the NFL. He knows that while he has to be confident of his ability and play up to the level of his competition, he also has to keep learning each and every day.
"I love to go against the best, just to see where I match up against guys," said Griffin. "If you don't have your confidense out there you can go through the whole day making mental mistakes, not believing in yourself, not believing in your technique."
"That's something I need to work on right now. You know coming in I had a lot of confidence, but these guys have been showing me up a little bit, so you know I gotta try and get that back. If you don't have any confidence out there, what do you have?"
Re: Cedric Griffin - Learning on the Fly
you have to expect the pro's to be a much faster pace then even the best college teams, good to hear he has a positive attitude about all of it, hope he does well in this league