- Lessons learned: Demarcus Ayers spent a good portion of his rookie season on the practice squad, not activated to the 53-man roster until Dec. 12. While on there, he learned a lot about the importance of the scout team, having the right approach, and a lot more about the physical challenges of the game.
"I learned how to be a pro," said Ayers. "When you are in high school and college, everyone wants to just get to the NFL. By being here I learned how to take care of my body, how to prepare mentally and physically week in and week out. I learned every day counts.
"Coming here, being in a great organization, it made me realize what we are here for. Being in the league my first year it was fun learning. It was a good learning experience."
Lessons learned: **This offseason has also been a good learning experience for him. Unlike last year, when the NFL Combine and other things were a focus, this offseason he is able to focus solely on preparing for his second season in the NFL and it's been a benefit to him already.
"I am getting stronger," said Ayers. "I would say strength is going to be a big key for me. Also I am working on my all-around game, running routes, blocking, becoming a better punt returner. I want to work to be in a position to help this team even more.
"Coach (Mike) Tomlin always talks about year two and the growth and development of our players. They expect a tremendous jump. I am going to prepare myself to be in the best situation, best shape, to come in and help the team and make the roster."* * *
Watching film:Ayers said one of the biggest advantages to learning last season, was his ability to sit back and watch. Being on the practice squad he was a spectator at home games, and watched the road games on television in Pittsburgh. But he used that to his advantage.
"I would watch the games with the others practice squad players, and remember everything they went over during the week as it played out on the field," said Ayers. "I would call out plays, and when watching away games on television, rewind like I was in the film room.
"Even when I played I would go home and watch the games and go over them even before we did it in meetings. It was because of how much I loved football. The things you love in life you cherish them more. This was definitely a learning curve for me and made me cherish football."