Players are often their own worst critic, and that was the case for Alejandro Villanueva when he stepped in against the Cardinals last Sunday at left tackle after Kelvin Beachum left the game with a season-ending ACL injury.
"I think I could have played better," said Villanueva, who made his NFL debut in the game. "When it's your first NFL game a lot of the plays seem surreal and you truly haven't been as involved in the game process. I could have been way more physical, I could have finished plays better. I know how to fix all of those things and I should have been more consistent on the field."
Villanueva expects more from himself this week, and having a full week to prepare for his starting role can do nothing but help. While he has approached every week as if he were a starter this year, actually being in that role amps things up.
"There has been just a little more sense of urgency to perform, especially with all of the mental reps I have to get outside of football and the practice environment," said Villanueva. "It's been a good week. I am eager to play and I just can't wait to get the first play over with."
Villanueva has been leaning on his teammates and offensive line coach Mike Munchak this week to get him ready to start, and one of his biggest supporters has been Beachum.
"He already has helped," said Villanueva. "He told me what the defense is like, the personality of the players. He is a very competitive guy. He has been a great mentor for me since I have been here and he hasn't stopped doing that.
"Coach Munch is going to prepare me the best way a coach can prepare me. My teammates are going to help me and put me in the best position. It's up to me to perform and that is the good scenario I am in. I am not making any excuses other than leaving my performance up to mysel