Former Brown University running back Michael Malan is playing in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores this spring. Today's is the second in what will be a weekly series of first-person accounts from the allocated Patriots fullback as he pursues his NFL dreams while living in a hotel in a foreign land. This week the Claymores suffered a tough loss 34-17 at the hands of the Rhein Fire.
It was another tough loss this week. It was going to be important for us to win this week, but it didn't work out. We've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole starting out 1-2, but this week is important. Hopefully we will even things out at 2-2.
Honestly I think this whole league is about opportunity and the coaches are just going to try to create as much opportunity as they can for everyone who is over here. We've got two NFL quarterbacks on our team (Craig Hall of the Packers and fellow Patriot Shane Stafford) and it's hard to say who should be starting, one over the other right now. So I think right now they are just doing a rotation.
Honestly the first three weeks we've been trying to keep a good rotation throughout every position, as far as I can tell. I'm the only American fullback on the roster, so I pretty much see every rep at fullback. But for the other positions I know we have a rotation going with the quarterbacks and I believe with the lineman as well and definitely with the receivers. We've got four very good American receivers on our team and it's hard to say who should be starting over the other. But I think the coaches have put a challenge to those guys this week as a matter of fact that they have been thinking about maybe going to putting just the best 11 guys on the field. So this week is going to be important for a lot of players on this team.
It's a tough call, balancing trying to win with trying to get everyone a chance to showcase their talent. I mean I want to win and am sick of losing, so I think we need to win some games. The first week we put up 62 points with the rotation, so it should be able to work but two weeks in a row with losses means something is not right and we may need to change things up a bit just to get the team another win. I am not the coach and fortunately I don't have to make that decision. I am just glad that I don't really have that same situation as some of the other positions.
I am just working on my entire game here. Everything is progressing for me as well as possible. This past week I did well in the running game blocking wise, but we just didn't get a chance to run the ball too much. So I was in there and got a chance to catch some passes. We just didn't do too much two-back running game work.
It's just reps that I need to improve at fullback. I am going through a position change. Anyone who has ever experience the change from tailback to fullback, it's two totally different positions. But I know that head placement on blocking is one thing that I have been doing well at. If I could critique myself I would say that I need to use my hands more. I get good movement with my feet and good body placement. I just need to shoot my hands in there and try to create separation on my blocks.
We got a chance to see a little bit of Dusseldorf, Germany, which was a new experience for me and a lot of the other guys on the team. We just went out after the game and went to the old town as they call it. We just walked the streets a little bit and saw a little bit of Germany. It was a good experience.
On how the U.S.'s war with Iraq has affected his NFLE experience
The War with Iraq has almost been a non-issue for us over here in Scotland. I got a chance to talk to one of my coaches from Brown who is now one of the coaches for Berlin. He pretty much told me the same thing about the team in Berlin, that the war is not really an issue over there either. A few of the guys were worried when were in camp down in Tampa about going over to Germany with some of the mass protests that they had had. But apparently everything has gone smoothly with all the teams over here.
On former Brown teammate and current NFL draft wide receiver prospect Chas Gessner
I was on the team with him at Brown for three years. He's a great competitor. A couple of friends at Brown told me that he ran a low 4.5s in the 40, which is very impressive. I am happy to see that he ran that well and it was kind of a little bit of a shock actually. I know he has been working extremely hard. He's very focused on getting a shot. As far as physically he has all that it takes. He is like 6-4, 215-pounds and that is just a great big target. And if he can keep developing that speed he can become even more of a threat. He's got all the tools to get a shot and I think he has the heart as well. He definitely has what it takes.