What you see is what you get with me.
I pride myself on this: I coach hard, but I coach fair. I'm gonna be your biggest advocate, but I'm also gonna be your harshest critic. I do all that out of love. I have a high standard because I know what it takes to succeed in this league, and there are a few things that describe who I am as a coach.
The events of my career have helped shape me into the coach I am today. It started back when I was playing for the San Diego Chargers. Back then, I was caught up in myself. I thought that because I was the 39th overall pick, I should be treated on the same level as Marion Butts, Rod Bernstine or Ronnie Harmon. That wasn't my role at that particular time; my job was to cover kickoff and do my best at it.
I wasn't doing the things that my coaches were asking me to do, and it showed up on film. Our head coach Dan Henning rightfully called me out for it in front of everyone for my lack of effort. He told me that If I didn't put in more effort, I was going to get cut. Back then, first- and second-rounders got cut, so I believed him.
I remember talking to my agent after that and telling him he needs to get me out of there. But then a gentleman who worked in the building and overheard the conversation approached me and said, "EB, you're going about this the wrong way."
He said, "Seek not to become a person of success with personal value. The more valuable you are, the more likely you are to obtain success." I was 21 years old, so that didn't ring a bell at the time. But later that night, I had an epiphany. It's not about your draft status. It's about what you are going to do to help yourself become a professional football player. They were giving me an opportunity to be valuable because they were playing me in all four phases.
That whole experience helped save my career, because if that hadn't taken place, I wouldn't be in the position I'm in today. I share that story with a lot of rookies. All players want to be starters, but what value are you going to bring to this organization? What value are you going to present to help us be the best team that we can be?
No matter what a player's role, whether they're starters or backups, I always want to coach every player as if they are the starter. Because at some point or time in this industry, you're going to need them. You can't avoid injuries. They are going to happen, so if I'm coaching Adrian Peterson, Albert Young had to be ready to go. It was the same with Patrick Mahomes. Chad Henne had to be ready.
If you take pride in coaching everybody as if they're a starter, you have confidence that those players can fill those roles.
There's a reason why I put so much emphasis on the smaller details. If you take those things for granted, that leads to big mistakes happening along the way. That can be as simple as coming to work every day, doing the necessary things to take care of your body or getting in the weight room and developing a routine.
Failure to take those things seriously bleeds into your attitude on the field. You may start thinking that you'll take a play off because the ball is not coming to you. The next thing you know, somebody is running behind you, and you miss a block. It's all about executing with great attention to detail and making the very most of that opportunity.
Some opportunities may not be as fruitful as others, but the question is, "Have you mentally and physically prepared yourself to be ready for that moment?" There are always three plays that can change the course of a game. If you've prepared yourself to be ready for those moments, guess what? It'll show. If you haven't, it can be a heartbreaking situation.
Winning a Super Bowl is hard, and if you're not willing to work, we're not going to get there. But if you are willing to work, strain and go the extra distance on and off the field, you're going to be known as a champion. My job is to make sure that my players understand the necessary work and sacrifices that need to be made to get to that destination.
I want to make sure I'm getting to know people. Developing those relationships is important, because you can figure out what they can handle and what they can't. But on top of that, it's getting my players to understand the importance of things like being committed, being all in and sacrifice. Everybody has selfishness in them, and when it comes to sports, everybody wants to be the man. Well, not everybody can be the man. So, what are they willing to do to make the next man better? That's what sacrificing is.
I want my players to be accountable. We talk about this all the time. We all impact each other's lives indirectly, so we have to make sure that we're doing it the right way on and off the field, in the classroom, the weight room and the training room.
It's about being accountable to your teammates, but it's also about being accountable to the coaches and the organization. Everything we do impacts each other, and if we're doing it the right way, we're giving ourselves a chance to be successful.
I want my players to be resilient and have the ability to overcome all things that may take place in life. You're going to encounter some bad days. There are going to be some bumps. But if you are resilient and you understand that it is just a moment in time and work your way through it, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
If my players can check off all those boxes, they will be successful.
I want the fans and everyone in this organization to know that I'm fired up and excited about this opportunity. My job is to create energy, and I also want everybody to know there is going to be a standard of accountability that needs to be held.
Everyone wants to know what type of system we're going to run. Yes, it's a West Coast system, but when it's all said and done with, my job is to make sure that we're putting the players in the best positions to be successful. We're going to learn to strain to finish.
Because if you want it bad enough, you got to fight for it.