Linebacker Joplo Bartu, a college rookie free agent, has been impressive so far at Russell Athletic Training Camp, but he realizes the importance of continuing to work hard while still enjoying himself.
"I feel like it's going good," Bartu said. "We have a lot of plays in — this is our third time around learning plays. We're just working on learning technique and executing them."
Bartu, who attended Texas State and ended his run there by posting an impressive 62 tackles in his last four games, says the experience of playing with a team full of so many successful veterans pushes him to work even harder.
"It's a humbling experience to come out here," he says. "We have so many vets out here that know what they're doing. They've played so long, so for us rookies, we just look up to them and get their feedback on certain situations and how to play better and different stuff like that."
Although Bartu has performed well so far in training camp, he's up against some tough competition at his position but says his quickness and speed are attributes that favor him.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan also acknowledges the talent the young linebackers have, noting how important it is for them to perform well not only at training camp but also as they get into combined practices and preseason games.
"All of those guys are competing," Nolan said. "I think the Cincinnati practices as well as the preseason games are really going to be important for a lot of guys when it comes to the competition. When we get in those preseason games, it's going to be interesting to see how they perform."
Bartu realizes the importance of working hard to be able to attain a spot on the roster, while also acknowledging the excitement that comes with playing his first preseason game on Thursday against the Bengals.
"I'm excited," he said. "I'm ready to get back on a football field and play an actual game. It's going to be exciting."