Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is undoubtedly being featured on several weekend highlight reels. Most mainstream media organizations are focusing on Tim Tebow's efforts during Cincinnati's 17-6 win over the New York Jets Friday night. By doing so they're highlighting every step taken by New York's backup quarterback, from hitting a cheerleader during a second quarter throw before the Jets' game-tying field goal to being completely neutralized during a Brian Leonard block on punt team. But the biggest highlight turned out to be a third-quarter interception. And the man that picked off that pass was Cincinnati's most controversial acquisition during the offseason in Burfict.
Though we have to admit. Controversial is a relatively term here, only because of a high-profile predraft process that dropped him from a possible first-rounder out of the NFL draft entirely. Beyond that he's been a quiet rookie trying to make a home for himself in the NFL. Yet one of the biggest pieces of advice that Cincinnati's defensive coaches are telling their rookie linebacker is rely on collegiate instincts as impacting contributor at Arizona State University.
"Yeah. Coach (Mike) Zimmer always teaches me to go out and follow my instincts. So it was a good rhythm, and kind of what Coach Zimmer and Coach G (linebackers coach Paul Guenther) have done with me."
And that instinct not only dictated his positioning on the field, it generated a near instantaneous reaction from a pass that he actually didn't see right away.
"I just jumped it and the ball was coming and it just came in my hands," Burfict said. "He didn't quite see me getting there because I could barely see him about to throw it."
Next step. Conditioning.
"I was bit winded (laughs). Punt team, then defense, then kickoff (coverage), then kickoff return. I put a lot of good things on film and a lot of bad things on film, but the bad things I’ll have to correct. I’ll just come in here on Sunday, see what I did wrong and hopefully correct it for the next game."