After a rookie season where he played in all 16 games, defensive lineman Tim Settle is taking the offseason seriously.
"I'm starting to get the understanding of the offseason," Settle said. "Most of the time in previous years, I took the time off and enjoyed myself. Most of the time I would gain a lot of weight, but this year seeing all the stuff I went through and knowing how to push myself and knowing how my body works, I'm starting to get into how to use my body right.I think that comes with wanting to come in here and lift, wanting to come in here and work."
One of Settle's offseason goals was to get in better shape and lose weight before training camp. Settle entered the NFL weighing 320 pounds, before getting down to 299 pounds mid-season. Settle ended the season at 308 pounds, and says he is currently around 310. Settle's main way of losing weight and getting into better shape is by cutting bread out of his diet.
"I cut out all my bread, I changed my diet and that's the easiest thing about it," Settle said. "I stopped eating bread during the season, I lost all the weight during the season. That was so easy for me to lose weight. I started eating bread again later, but then I stopped again. Whenever I stop it's so easy for me to lose weight. It just makes me feel better because I like how I look."
Settle has also worked a lot with the strength and conditioning coaches to become better at lifting weights and putting together a workout plan. The combination of a healthier diet and going to the weight room will help Settle reach his weight goal.
"300 pounds is the goal for OTAs," Settle said. "For the season, I want to be 305.
"But a nice looking 305," he amends.
Along with losing a bit of weight before the season, Settle's other main goal is to get a six-pack. "My goal is to have a six-pack by the end of the year," Settle said. "I just have to keep working."
While Settle is focused on getting a six-pack and losing weight, he is still putting in work in the weight room in order to get stronger.
"It's about getting bigger and getting stronger," Settle said. "I kind of push myself every rep. Every rep I want to go up in weight, and even if I fail, it just motivates me to come back in and do it next week. I'm starting to realize that you can't do everything in a week. It takes time. I feel like I'm more prepared, I'm more ready than I was when I came in."
Settle was a fifth-round selection by the Redskins in the 2018 NFL Draft, taken 163rd overall. He spent three years in college at Virginia Tech and was named second-team All-ACC in his sophomore year.
Like most players, Settle's transition from playing in college to the NFL was difficult. Settle did not think that the difficulty was due to a talent gap, but mental discipline.
"Talent-wise, it's the same, but knowledge-wise the NFL is way more advanced," Settle said. "You have to know how to block, you have to know how to take on blocks. We were playing against the Eagles, and [Jason] Kelce, I felt like I was getting after him the first game but he had a whole adjustment the second game. It's just stuff like that, you're not used to it. Guys see what they need to work on and they execute. And that's part of being a big-time player. You have to be able to execute, you have to be able to adjust, and be uncomfortable."
Along with getting into better shape, another main goal for Settle is to improve on watching game film. Settle doesn't just want to be able to get better at watching and evaluating game tape, rather he wants to become a master of it.
"This year I want to focus on knowing how to break down tape by myself, and breakdown everything by myself," Settle said. "I'm going to get to the point where you can't tell me anything about tape, I'm going to be on it. Coming up, I didn't know how to study film and study football."
Settle's biggest motivator for getting better at watching tape and improving in all areas is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
"Jim [Tomsula] knows how to push," Settle said. "He pushes and I appreciate him so much for that. Without him, I don't know how I would have handled this year. He's not going to let up on you, he doesn't care if you're tired, if you're mad, he's not going to let up on you. He's like that because he knows how much potential these players have and what we can do. When you've got someone like that who's on your side, backing you up, you're ready to go to war for anybody."
One of Settle's other big motivators is his own last name. Last year he considered creating a clothing brand "Never Settle," but the copyrighting required more work than he wanted. Still, he's carried that theme through the last year, and has a better perspective of its significance in his life.
"I'm so comfortable now because I could do it by myself, I don't need anybody to tell me," Settle said of working out this offseason. "I come in here every day. I just don't want to slow down. I just want to keep going faster, and faster, and faster, and faster until somebody tells me to chill. And I still probably won't chill. I just want to be the person who takes over the game."
In his 16 games last year, Settle had eight total tackles with one tackle for loss. With the entirety of the defensive line from last season under contract for 2019, Settle is excited for the chemistry that the group will have.
"It's fun because we've got energy," Settle said. "We keep it going. You never know who's going to make a play out there, it could be every play, one of us is making a play. Just playing with guys who get out there is the best part."