Safety Barry Church played against the Raiders last Friday for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles three games into last season.
Suffice it to say, it wasn't his finest work as an overly aggressive and excited Church whiffed twice on open field tackles in the game.
"I was trying to kill shot everybody instead of peppering down and making the sure tackle," Church said. "I can't do that, especially in the open field. I was too aggressive. I got to pepper down and make the tackle. I've worked on that. I should improve."
Church said he was overly aggressive because of the time away with the injury and the perceived need to prove himself to everyone.
A former undrafted free agent out of Toledo, Church earned a starting job for the first time last year only to see his season cut short by injury. He is again the unchallenged starter starter at free safety yet he still has a mindset of a player who has to fight for a spot on the team.
"Every game I got something to prove," Church said. "I only got to play three games last year. This year I got be able to play the whole season and stay healthy the whole season. I still got something to prove."
Church believes he will have a better chance to make plays in 2013 because the defense is simpler under new coordinator Monte Kiffin than it was under Rob Ryan last year.
"This year I got a bigger rasp of the defense," Church said. "There are not a lot of calls out there like last year. I feel the grasp of this defense is easy. I'm just going out and trying to make plays."
He just has to make sure he "peppers down", a Kiffin word for breaking down and being under control.Clarence Hill