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: I know you didn’t get to play Monday, but what was the atmosphere like for your first NFL game?
AJ: It was amazing. Coming from Cal Poly, we had 12,000 fans at our home games and that was a packed house. Going from that to 71,000, it was unbelievable just to see that kind of support and the tenacity that these fans have for the team I play on, the team I belong to now -- it was really amazing to see that. It was a great experience and good to come away with the win in my first NFL game, even though I didn’t play.
MV: When did you find out that you were going to be inactive?
AJ: I knew the day of, but early in the day. I kind of had an idea because I hadn’t practiced for two days during the week because I was sick. I kind of had an idea, but I’m going to try to do whatever I can to be out there. It was actually killing me being on the sideline. It was hard because as a competitor, everybody wants to be out there playing, being the man and making plays. When you don’t get that opportunity, for whatever reason, it’s hard. That’s why I’m coming back to work this week, trying to get back on some special teams and do whatever I can to help the team, and hopefully I’ll be able to get a chance to make some plays on Sunday.
MV: What do you do when you’re on the sidelines in that case? What do you do to stay active, stay involved, take mental reps?
AJ: First and foremost, if one of the older guys wants someone to look for a tendency or what the receivers are doing on the other side, any kind of tells you can get. It’s just being an active teammate, trying to help everybody out on the field and on the sidelines. And then when they come back to the sideline, looking at the pictures and stuff with the older guys, the guys who are playing, that helps you take the mental reps to understand what is going on out there and what the other teams are trying to do to you so even if you’re not out there doing it, you can get some good practice and good reps from the game on the mental side.
MV: You spend a lot of time here and you spend a lot of time in your playbook when you get home. I know some fans might not like it, but every once in a while, you need to enjoy some “you” time. What do you do when you do get a little bit of downtime?
AJ: I don’t do anything. I’m the kind of guy that goes home, lies in bed and watches NFL Network or “SportsCenter.” So basically, it’s like you said, if I’m not here or studying the playbook, I’m lying in bed watching TV. I play a lot of video games on [Playstation 3], but man, other than that, you’re not going to catch me doing anything else, maybe going to get a bite to eat. That’s about it.
MV: I know a lot of the guys play “Madden.” Are you into that game? And what’s it like seeing yourself in the video game? I actually have a franchise going in "Madden," and in like 2015 you’re starting at cornerback for the Ravens.
AJ: Hell yeah! That’s what I’m talking about. But yeah, it’s crazy because I’ve never been in a video game before. A lot of people came from the D-I [FCS] schools, so they were in the “NCAA Football” game. But I never had that before. So it was cool. It was exciting. It was a little bit of an accomplishment for me because I’ve logged so many “Madden” hours over the years. It was pretty cool.”
MV: Were you pleased with your rating?
AJ: No! But it is what it is. I’m going to have to get some picks and run a little faster. I was just mad they gave me an 89 for speed. That was a little bit of a shock.
[Note: To interact with Asa, follow him @_KIDRaven_ on Twitter]