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NFL Europe Diary Week One: Ray Ventrone

ray_ventrone.jpg
ray_ventrone.jpg

It's going really well over here in Germany. I'm kind of set in a daily routine now. I have a train pass that I use and it's like a 35-minute ride to the stadium for practice. We get to the stadium at 8:00 AM and then we have a special teams meeting followed by a defensive meeting. We watch film from the previous day and then of our upcoming opponent, which this week is Hamburg. Then we have a standard two-hour practice where we prepare for who we're playing and scheme for what they do.

The biggest adjustment for me being in a foreign country is communicating with other people. I'm still having trouble with that. A lot of people here don't speak English, so it's hard just even trying to place a food order because I can't understand what they're saying and they can't understand me. A couple of times I think I ended up with the wrong order.

The other big adjustment is no television. I watch Sportscenter everyday back at home and here there's no Sportscenter here. The only American channels in the hotel rooms are CNN and MTV and the MTV is half American and half German.

The Patriots thought this was the best thing for me to do. With me missing my senior year in college and not having too much game experience in the last year and a half, they felt like I needed to get on the field. That felt like that would help me going into camp. I was all for it because I've missed basically two seasons in a row. I didn't get on the field this past year because I was on the practice squad, so I need to get back on the field and get some experience.

It's been great getting back to hitting again. I love to hit and I've missed it the past couple of years. I had a few good hits this week. We had some scrimmages in Tampa Bay – we had a three-week training camp down there – and we scrimmaged four of the other five teams we're going to play. I had a few nice hits in those scrimmages. It's really been fun to let loose a little bit and show some scouts and teams – show the Patriots – what I can do.

I feel like this is the best way to show the organization that I'm capable of being on the field and that I can contribute. I want to do the best I can in every opportunity I'm given. I'm starting at strong safety and I'm playing a lot on special teams which is good because that's where I'll probably be making a contribution this year in the NFL.

We run a 3-4 defense here and the scheme is different than it is with the Patriots. A lot of the coverages and things are similar but it's not going to be exactly the same because it's not going to be the way it is in New England anywhere. It's been good because I've been able to use what I've learned with the Patriots and put it to use with my team in Cologne.

My goal for this upcoming year is to get some playing time. I know last year we lost some guys in the secondary and I wasn't ready to step in because I needed game experience. That's what held me back last year. The coaches were hesitant to activate me because I hadn't had much experience, so that's why I think being over here is really going to help me.

In my personal situation, I think the biggest thing I need to improve on is just getting more playing time. It feels good to be getting a lot of reps and being out there again and not watching from the sidelines. I'm excited about getting back out there and playing again. Just getting back to having full contact again is exciting for me.

I've been following the team from over here and I saw [David] Givens left and Willie [McGinest] signed with Cleveland. It seems like a lot of guys are signing with ex-Patriot coaches. Hey, I guess if they go with a youth movement, that's good for me, right? Seriously, those guys will be missed for sure, especially in the locker room. They're great players and great guys to be around. It will be weird when I get back not having them there.

My first game is Saturday against Hamburg and it's going to be televised Sunday at 3:00 PM on the NFL Network. Check it out; I'll try to lay a couple of big hits for the Patriots fans.

*As told by Ray Ventrone to Tom Casale of Patriots Football Weekly
*

It's going really well over here in Germany. I'm kind of set in a daily routine now. I have a train pass that I use and it's like a 35-minute ride to the stadium for practice. We get to the stadium at 8:00 AM and then we have a special teams meeting followed by a defensive meeting. We watch film from the previous day and then of our upcoming opponent, which this week is Hamburg. Then we have a standard two-hour practice where we prepare for who we're playing and scheme for what they do.

The biggest adjustment for me being in a foreign country is communicating with other people. I'm still having trouble with that. A lot of people here don't speak English, so it's hard just even trying to place a food order because I can't understand what they're saying and they can't understand me. A couple of times I think I ended up with the wrong order.

The other big adjustment is no television. I watch Sportscenter everyday back at home and here there's no Sportscenter here. The only American channels in the hotel rooms are CNN and MTV and the MTV is half American and half German.

The Patriots thought this was the best thing for me to do. With me missing my senior year in college and not having too much game experience in the last year and a half, they felt like I needed to get on the field. That felt like that would help me going into camp. I was all for it because I've missed basically two seasons in a row. I didn't get on the field this past year because I was on the practice squad, so I need to get back on the field and get some experience.

It's been great getting back to hitting again. I love to hit and I've missed it the past couple of years. I had a few good hits this week. We had some scrimmages in Tampa Bay – we had a three-week training camp down there – and we scrimmaged four of the other five teams we're going to play. I had a few nice hits in those scrimmages. It's really been fun to let loose a little bit and show some scouts and teams – show the Patriots – what I can do.

I feel like this is the best way to show the organization that I'm capable of being on the field and that I can contribute. I want to do the best I can in every opportunity I'm given. I'm starting at strong safety and I'm playing a lot on special teams which is good because that's where I'll probably be making a contribution this year in the NFL.

We run a 3-4 defense here and the scheme is different than it is with the Patriots. A lot of the coverages and things are similar but it's not going to be exactly the same because it's not going to be the way it is in New England anywhere. It's been good because I've been able to use what I've learned with the Patriots and put it to use with my team in Cologne.

My goal for this upcoming year is to get some playing time. I know last year we lost some guys in the secondary and I wasn't ready to step in because I needed game experience. That's what held me back last year. The coaches were hesitant to activate me because I hadn't had much experience, so that's why I think being over here is really going to help me.

In my personal situation, I think the biggest thing I need to improve on is just getting more playing time. It feels good to be getting a lot of reps and being out there again and not watching from the sidelines. I'm excited about getting back out there and playing again. Just getting back to having full contact again is exciting for me.

I've been following the team from over here and I saw [David] Givens left and Willie [McGinest] signed with Cleveland. It seems like a lot of guys are signing with ex-Patriot coaches. Hey, I guess if they go with a youth movement, that's good for me, right? Seriously, those guys will be missed for sure, especially in the locker room. They're great players and great guys to be around. It will be weird when I get back not having them there.

My first game is Saturday against Hamburg and it's going to be televised Sunday at 3:00 PM on the NFL Network. Check it out; I'll try to lay a couple of big hits for the Patriots fans.

*As told by Ray Ventrone to Tom Casale of Patriots Football Weekly
*

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