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Aaron Curry Works To Rebound From “Unacceptable” Rookie Season

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Aaron Curry Works to Rebound from “Unacceptable” Rookie Season

Every year in the NFL Draft, there are a few obvious, can’t miss prospects that everyone knows will be stars yet inevitably are drafted behind boom or bust prospects with “high ceilings,” yet a high likelihood of never amounting to much. Aaron Curry was one of those can’t miss players. Being the fourth overall pick is not a bad thing, but the jury was and is split on the first three picks – Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith and Tyson Jackson – while everyone knew that Curry would be great. As a four-year starter at Wake Forest, he was the most productive college linebacker the game had seen in years, interviewed well with great character and had one of the best NFL Scouting Combine performances ever for a linebacker.In his first year in the NFL, Curry started 14 games, making 61 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Those are great numbers for a rookie, but “unacceptable” for Curry. Those are big comments from a player with so many external expectations – and they are also probably fair for the can’t miss player. But that’s a good thing for Curry who should now be able to play a full season alongside Lofa Tatupu and under the tutelage of former Pro Bowl linebacker Ken Norton Jr. Expect big things – probably much bigger things than Stafford, Smith and Jackson (especially the latter two) this year and for many years in the future.Aaron Curry joined Brock and Salk on ESPN 710 in Seattle to discuss his first season, Ken Norton Jr. and last year vs. this year.

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On what he learned in his first season:

“I’ve learned a lot. As far as looking at the opposing offenses, everybody runs the same stuff for the most part. You can almost predict what’s going to happen on the offensive side. I’ve learned that, as a defensive player, we have to play by our own standards, not play up to everybody else wants us to be. That’s just what we are building to as a defense – having our own standards of enthusiasm, excitement and intensity. We are playing at our level, not someone else’s level.”

If he had one word to describe his game in year one:

“Unacceptable. Just plain and simple. I did not play to the standards that I did all of my life. I let a lot of people down between my family and friends and even the 12th man. I just let them down as far as not playing as exciting and enthusiastic for all 16 games. I just felt like I started off with so much intensity and I was having so much fun. Then all the sudden, it just kind of fell off a cliff. I wasn’t playing as fast or playing as fast. I wasn’t playing as enthusiastic. I wasn’t as intense as I was in the beginning. That’s still like a mystery to today. I can’t figure out why I wasn’t playing the way that I was playing at the beginning.”

On the difference between last year’s scheme and this year:

“Hands down this is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Last year, I was required to do a lot of thinking. At the linebacker you should just be playing. The less thinking you are doing, the harder you are playing. In this scheme now, that’s what we are being granted to do, just play hard. We need to anticipate some things, but it’s about playing hard. Play hard. Hit hard.”

And on having Ken Norton Jr. coaching him:

“It’s excitement. When they first said that he was going to be our coach, we had some film of him upstairs and I went and watched it. I knew what type of person he was going to be just from watching him on film. On film he was fast. He was intense. He was talking trash. He was having fun. I just knew from the day that I met him that he was going to be a guy who liked to have fun, who was going to be intense about coaching, that was going to be intense about what he was doing on the field. And the day we stepped out here on the field, he was the loudest, the most intense. He stays in my ear, stays in my face to make sure that I stay focused… I’m looking forward to his intensity everyday. I think that’s going to do a really good job of keeping us sharp as players.”

Lynn Swann Weighs In

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