I readily admit that I very often simply cannot understand the thought processes of professional athletes. Today's example has to do with the New York Giants and soft-spoken second-year cornerback Prince Amukamara. We have a story here from the New York Daily News in which teammates are saying, on the record, that the guy has to express more confidence in himself and his abilities:
"I think he's doing pretty good," Justin Tuck said. "Obviously you would like to see him be a little bit more vocal, a little bit more -- as the young kids say -- 'swag.'"
"He's got to," Corey Webster added. "It's a cornerback thing. We're going out there every play alone. D-linemen have linebackers behind them. Linebackers have safeties behind them. Most of the time (at corner) it's just you out there, so you've got to have that kind of arrogance, the kind of confidence to go out and get that job done."
I mean, you can't make a guy be something he's not. If Amukamara's not the kind of guy to call attention to himself and tell everybody he thinks he's great, or act on the field the way Webster thinks he has to act in order to succeed, I'm not sure there's a way to change that. Amukamara strikes me as a thoughtful, self-assured young man, but yes, a little bit quiet and maybe even introverted. He was successful enough in college to make him a first-round draft pick, and I can't imagine, if he flops at the NFL level, personality would be the central reason.
Amukamara's having a hard enough time, after an injury-plagued rookie season, adjusting to NFL life as a starting cornerback in place of the injured Terrell Thomas. He's been picked on in games by opposing quarterbacks, and that will continue until he shows he can cover at this level. I'm not sure he has to cover anyone with "swagger," but he has to do so effectively in order for offenses to stop targeting him. Takes longer for some people than it does for others. Takes a while with any cornerback, really. But I don't see how it helps a guy who's being picked on by opposing offenses to also be picked on in his own locker room. Kind of goes against what I thought the Giants were all about, actually.
Bottom line, here's my thought on all of this, and the Giants are welcome to take it any way they like: If you want a guy to have confidence in himself, the next time you have one of your gigantic defensive lineman throw him over his shoulder, carry him down the hallway and dunk him in a tub full of ice-cold water, maybe don't put the whole thing on YouTube. Just a thought, is all.