For number one draft pick Ryan Shazier, the preseason has had some ups and downs. From not playing in the first game with a knee bruise, to an outstanding debut against the Bills, and then the Eagles game where he admitted, "I didn't do as well," it's had its challenges.
It's to be expected for a rookie as he learns the defense and adjusts to his role at inside linebacker. But he knows the importance of consistency, because that is the one thing that is going to help him earn the trust of his teammates, something he is striving for.
"I still need to make sure I have my teammates trust so we can go into the season and not worry about anything," said Shazier. "I feel like if I have it, if I have all of their trust, we will be able to be out there playing without anybody hesitating. I need to continue to try and earn their trust and make sure they know that I know what I am doing."
It doesn't happen overnight though, and honestly that full trust normally doesn't come until a young player goes through the rigors of a few regular season games.
"It's too early still," said defensive end Cam Heyward, a former number one pick who understands what Shazier is challenged with. "You don't know what you are going to get once the regular season starts. He is going to be a good player around here, but to gain the trust as he talks about, it's just about doing your job every day, knowing we can rely on you through adversity and tough situations and just being consistent with it. He's a new guy here and we need to know it's not just going to be a blip on the radar; it's going to be every single time. He is going to make strides; he is going to have growing pains. It's about knowing he knows the playbook and going out there and just executing.
"For anybody coming into this defense you have to learn a lot, you have to experience stuff, and you just have to grow. This defense is not one where you can just be ready day one. You have to grow. We have to continue to deal with the good, bad and make sure we are meshing the right way."
Gaining that trust, that respect from teammates, fortunately is nothing new to Shazier. He went through it once before, and it's helping him as he goes through it this time around.
"It's kind of tough. I kind of suspected it," said Shazier. "Everywhere you go you need to earn respect, earn your way in. I had to do the same thing at Ohio State and I am trying to do it here. I understand it. I just have to continue to keep growing and get better.
"I feel like I am pretty close, but you never know until we are all out there playing. I feel like I am gaining it, but we are going to find out when the first game comes."