Colts Cornerback Jerraud Powers Confident Entering Second Season
INDIANAPOLIS – Now, Jerraud Powers said he can relax.
But Powers, a second-year cornerback for the Colts from Auburn University, said what he means by that isn't working or focusing less.
In fact, he said the opposite is true.
Powers, a third-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft who emerged last season as one of the most-productive members of one of the NFL's most-productive rookie classes, said far from easing up his determination to contribute and improve, what he means is being able to shut out distractions and focus on football.
And that, he said, is what the coming weeks are about.
"Coming into my second year, there are a lot of things I don't have to worry about," Powers said recently following a session of the Colts' 2010 organized team activities, four weeks of on-field team-oriented activities scheduled to be held through June 11 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
What Powers said he means are distracting things, the things about which a rookie must worry.
"I know how to get to Wal-Mart," he said, laughing. "I know how to find Target and go to the dry cleaners and all of that stuff. Now, I get here and know everyone's name. I went for a while not knowing (Colts Head Athletic Trainer) Dave Hammer's name. I just called him, 'Sir.'
"Now, I can just come here and relax."
Powers (5-feet-10, 192 pounds), who quickly impressed coaches and personnel officials last off-season, just as quickly moved into the Colts' starting lineup as a rookie, taking over the position in the preseason.
Powers, who started 12 games, including 11 of the first 12, finished the season with 71 tackles, an interception, nine passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
"There's no rookie corner who has played better than Jerraud Powers," Colts President Bill Polian said late in the season, adding that Powers played well enough to be considered for Rookie of the Year honors. "He has one interception, but he has played as well as any corner that we have had play here."
Said Powers, "I had a decent first year. It definitely could have been better."
Powers said a year of experience helped him know more than Colts staff and Indianapolis businesses. It also gave him experience against the NFL's best receivers.
Powers as a rookie faced not only Houston Texas wide receiver Andre Johnson and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but he also faced Randy Moss of New England and Brandon Marshall, then with the Denver Broncos, all widely considered among the NFL's best receivers.
"Last year, my first game (against Jacksonville), I saw Torry Holt and I'm thinking, 'This is the same guy I watched in high school play in the Super Bowl,'' Powers said. "Then, I'm facing Randy Moss and Wes Welker, guys I sort of idolized growing up.
"Now, going into this year, after playing those guys and not knowing how it's going to turn out, I can get confident and just go out there and play ball and get the job done on this level."
Powers said his confidence is helped not only by playing elite receivers around the NFL, but playing against the Colts' offense in practice.
"Confidence going in is very high," Powers said. "As a corner, we're probably the only position where you're confidence has to be high. I wouldn't go so far as to say, 'Cockiness,' but I have confidence I can go out and cover the guys in front of me. After last year, facing Larry Fitzgerald, facing Reggie every day in practice, going against (Colts quarterback) Peyton (Manning) every day all the way from OTAs throughout camp and the regular season, my confidence is very high.
"In my opinion, I won't see a better tandem than the receivers I face here with Peyton. If I'm able to make plays in practice and do things in practice, on Sunday I won't have any problems to worry about."
That work, Powers said, doesn't begin during training camp or the regular season. Instead, it begins during the off-season, and it is in the off-season between rookie and second seasons that Colts coaches and officials often have said a player makes the biggest jump of his NFL career.
Powers said he can see how that could be true, and can already see it happening.
"I definitely can see myself improving," Powers said. "Last year, coming in as a rookie, you sort of just follow the leaders and not try to do anything out of the ordinary. You go in, sort of get the job done, and try to earn a little respect in the locker room and around the players and coaches.
"I can just come here and relax, whereas as a rookie I used to come here not knowing what to expect and not knowing what we were going to do today. Now, just knowing the ins and outs of it, I can just sort of relax and focus on doing my job as a football player and becoming a better football player.
"I think it's going to help out when I get on the field."