Each week, blogger Matt Vensel fires a few questions at rookie cornerback and kick returner Asa Jackson. The Ravens’ fifth-round pick in April’s draft, Jackson is a Sacramento native who played his college ball at Cal Poly.
MV: What do you do to stay engaged and to stay positive? It’s only been a few weeks, but it probably feels like an eternity for you, not having played so far this season?
AJ: Yeah, it feels like forever. But I’m just trying to still learn from the older guys. What they tell me is that I’m just a play away from going in and having everything thrown on my shoulders, compared to now, when I have nothing. Since I never know, I have to always prepare like I’m going to be the one that’s going into play. So I am just learning how to be a professional and conduct myself that way. I talk to guys like Ed Reed, like Cary [Williams], like Lardarius [Webb], like Corey [Graham], those guys. It’s hard at times. But still, I’m trying to stick with it and keep doing the things that got me here and that will help me be successful.
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MV: And you guys have been crazy healthy. You had another full practice Wednesday. That’s a factor, too.
AJ: Exactly. It’s a blessing. Definitely.
MV: I was going to ask you about that, though. Who have you leaned on specifically -- maybe it’s someone inside this locker room or maybe it’s someone who isn’t -- to help you get through these past few weeks?
AJ: It’s been everyone. Everyone. My support system from the beginning, my family back in California and even out here on the East Coast, they have been helping me a lot to get through it. And then in this locker room, all of the older defensive backs, they know what I’m going through, especially guys like Cary or Corey -- anyone who has been in my position. They’ve done a good job helping me keep my head on straight.
MV: Cary is a good example of that. He didn’t become a starter until he was 26. He has been with a couple of different teams. Now he is starting for the Ravens.
AJ: Exactly. And that’s something that I look at in the sense that you’re not always going to be the overnight sensation. Sometimes you’re going to have to build, you’re going to have to work for it, and really get to the grindstone and grind it out until you get your success.
MV: At Cal Poly, you were a big fish in a small pond and it’s the opposite here. What has that been like?
AJ: It’s different for sure, but it’s not really good or bad. I don’t really feel too strongly about it either way. But of course I want to be on the field making plays for my team and doing anything I can do to help. I haven’t been a part of a real, real good team like this in a while. It seems like we have something special going on around here and I just want to be a part of it.
[Note: To interact with Asa, follow him @_KIDRaven_ on Twitter]