Stat line: two sacks, four tackles, and a forced fumble in only eight snaps.
When a rookie comes out and has a debut performance like nose tackle Chris Neild had last week, it conjures questions of how he prepared.
Over a season, that projects to 64 tackles, 32 sacks, and 16 forced fumbles.
Not bad for the newly dubbed “Pocono Punisher.” So how did he do it?
“Sixty-four tackles? Wow, that sounds good, man,” he said, shaking his head. “I dunno, I mean, it’s tough to say. Like I said before, I know my role, and I know the amount of reps that I’m gonna get, so I need to make the most of what I’ve got.”
As far as Week 1 is concerned, he couldn’t have done much more. Neild attributed a lot of his success to the leadership around him.
“There’s leadership all around the board and it carries over to gameday,” he explained. “Everyone’s here and they do their job, and that’s what you want in a locker room. During practice, they’ll step it up and do the right things. Y’know, us rookies, we looks up to that and we see what’s right, and we try and to duplicate it.”
Duplicating last week’s effectiveness would be ideal for Neild, although he said that his pro preparation is already different from college.
“It would depend on if it was a noon game or a night game,” he said. “If it was a night game, I’d get up, eat, walk through, and then nap for like four hours, eat, and then go to the game. A noon game, wake up real early, eat, walk through, go right to the game. When I got to the locker room, I got in the hot tub and stretched a little bit. I got changed, went out and stretched a little bit.”
Emphasis on eating and stretching. Just like a Saturday afternoon on my couch.
Week 1 prep:
“With here, you get in the locker room, get changed, go out and stretch a little bit,” he said. “Y’know, do my own little routine in terms of maybe take a lap or two around the field. Just get loose, get warm. So that’s definitely different.”
Neild confirmed that he will try to prepare the same way, but denied that he has any strange pregame rituals. He can usually be seen jogging around the field in his Burgundy and Gold “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones. His choice in pump-up music?
“Eminem,” he said. “I really like Eminem, I listen to everything, but especially his first album.”
Parental advisory warning, but I won’t argue with the results.
Neild also previewed what he expected to see from the Cardinals offense today.
“They like to pass,” he said. “They’ve got receivers–they’ve got one of the best receivers in the league, and I know they’re gonna be a little pass-happy. We’re probably gonna play some nickel. By Sunday, I’ll have a better feel.”
Cardinals running back Beanie Wells:
“He’s a real physical back,” he said. “He’s not as big as Brandon Jacobs, but he still is physical and runs really hard. When he gets to the outside, he has some good speed for a big guy. So it’s a matter of getting on him and getting to the ball. We’ve gotta get heads to the ball–that’s basically what it is.”