Guzman Looking to Solidify His Position on Colts Roster
INDIANAPOLIS – The time for dreaming, Ramon Guzman will tell you, is over.
Not that Guzman, who made the Colts last season as an undrafted free agent from the University of Buffalo, doesn't appreciate his position. He's in the NFL, and he said he knows that's special. Real special.
And Guzman said time was, he thought of that often.
But he said that was last season.
His focus is different now.
"The dream was last year," Guzman said during the Colts' recent organized team activities, 14 days of on-field work that concluded recently at the team's training facility.
"Right now, the deal is, 'OK, I'm here. This is a career. This is what I do now.' "
And Guzman said what he wants to do now is prove he belongs.
And he wants to do it on a lot more than one-year basis.
Guzman, a linebacker, made the Colts' roster last preseason by excelling on special teams and by proving himself a versatile player.
And for a player who wasn't drafted, and who didn't play at a Bowl Championship Series-conference school, that was an accomplishment at the time.
"To me, it was a matter of getting my foot in the door," Guzman said. "Coming from the University of Buffalo, just getting a shot, I was happy. Once I got my foot in the door, it was all up to me. Once I got the opunity, I just went in with the attitude that my way of making the team was through special teams and that's what I focused on."
Guzman played in 16 regular-season games on special teams last season, beginning the season as an outside linebacker, then moving to defensive end late in the season after injuries along the Colts' defensive line.
He finished the season with five defensive tackles, including four solos, and he also had two pressures, a fumble recovery and 11 special teams tackles with eight solos.
He played defensive end in each of the final four games.
That was extensive experience for a rookie, and it was experience Guzman said has made a difference entering his second season.
"Everything happens so quick that first year," Guzman said. "The second time around, you're just reinforcing what you learned the previous year. Your reads are a little bit quicker. Your drops are a little bit faster. Your first year, you're like, 'I know I have to do this,' then they throw something different at you and everything's out the window.
In the second year, "Everything clicks," he added. "I don't know why, but everything the coaches are saying, in the second year, you're like, 'OK, I understand.'''
Guzman said his goals entering training camp have changed. He said no longer is he focused on just making the team. This year, he wants to solidify his reputation as a solid special teams player and further enhance his defensive role, too.
"Right now, I'm No. 2 on the depth chart," Guzman said. "I want to keep it that way. I've just got to make sure when my number is called to play defense and be a linebacker, I respond – not just on special teams, but on defense, too."
If that versatility earned him a spot on the roster last season, he said he hopes it can do more this season.
"It's about being indispensable to the team," Guzman said. "You've got guys like (starting linebackers) Tyjuan (Hagler) and Freddy (Keiaho) and Gary (Brackett), who can play all three linebacker positions. They can start you, then they can move you over and move the No. 2 guy into your spot and you'll have no drop off.
"If you can do that playing linebacker or any other position, the team sees that and the coaches see that, and you become a valuable tool on their team."
And that, Guzman said, is the biggest difference he feels between now and this time a year ago. A year ago, he just wanted to make the team somehow, some way.
Now, because the time for dreaming is over, he also wants so much more.
"Last year, I was like, 'Put me anywhere,''' Guzman said. "First year, you can put me anywhere. I'll do anything I want to be on this team. Now, it's like, 'This is what I do.' They put you in a spot where you'll be able to make plays. You're like, 'OK, this is what I want to do and let's run with it.'
"It feels so comfortable, because now I'm part of the team. I'm not trying to make the team anymore. I'm part of it. The dream changes from making the team to being on the team to, 'Let's try to get to the Super Bowl.'''