When they took the field at the beginning of May for rookie minicamp, their heads were spinning. Information was flying at them fast and furious, and it was a lot to take in without much time to let it digest.
"I had no idea what was going on," admitted linebacker Tyler Matakevich. "I was just running around."
He wasn't alone.
"Rookie minicamp you are the only ones out here, learning a new system, new stuff being thrown at you," said receiver/punt returner Demarcus Ayers. "It was overwhelming."
But with two weeks of OTAs under their belts, two weeks of repetition, two weeks of working with veteran players and the coaching staff, they have come a long way.
"It's a big difference," said Ayers. "You see the guys doing the same things you do, only better. You are learning how to be a professional out here, learning how to take care of your body, getting in the spots you need to get in to help the offense out. I am happy to be out here with the veterans learning from these guys. "I am starting to learn the system now that the veterans are here. The guys are doing a good job preparing me, helping me study my plays. I am getting some good advice in the meeting room. The coaches are coaching me good on special teams. I am having fun going out there and making plays to help this team."
Picking up on things has helped Matakevich as well, who is settling in now and isn't dealing with the mind spinning anymore.
"I am starting to pick it up," said Matakevich. "The coaches are helping me out. The vets are helping me out when I am out there, letting me know when I am wrong. That is the biggest thing right now, just making sure I am doing the right things and playing fast."
For first round pick Artie Burns OTAs are allowing him the opportunity to go against one of the best wide receivers in the game in Antonio Brown, and that can do nothing but help him learn.
"It gives me work," said Burns. "I like to compete. Antonio Brown is a great competitor. Everybody on the team is a great competitor. It feels good to be out here and go out here every day with him.
"I am getting up to speed, getting the playbook down. I have the playbook down and now I am trying to master my craft, slow the game down for me and just play faster."* *