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Garza empathizes with rookie linemen

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 14, 2013 – 11:07 am

It’s been 12 years since Roberto Garza entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick with the Atlanta Falcons, but the veteran center still can empathize with Kyle Long and Jordan Mills.

The two rookie linemen were elevated to the starting unit this week in practice, with Long lining up next to Garza at right guard and Mills replacing J’Marcus Webb at right tackle.

“We’ve all been through learning the offense in training camp and making those rookie mistakes,” Garza said. “We have to learn from our mistakes. Kyle and Jordan are doing a hell of a job of going in there and stepping up and going against the ‘ones’ and making that transition. It’s an evolving process. But those kids are both very talented and have a bright future ahead.”

Garza remembers the challenges he faced when he left Texas A&M-Kingsville to join the Falcons.

“You’re trying to learn the offense, you’re trying to do things the right way, and then you’re going against the best guys in the world,” Garza said. “So there’s not a lot of room for error. As soon as you start to think, the play’s over with. It happens so fast. You want to do it right and you’re trying.

“Sometimes you just don’t do it. You’ve just got to learn from it, not make the same mistakes twice. Sometimes you get so involved in everything you’re doing, you kind of lose control. But definitely these guys are level-headed and doing a great job of letting the play go and going onto the next.”

Long and Mills have both praised Garza for the help he has provided them. The 12-year NFL veteran feels that it’s his duty to assist young players.

“When I first [joined the Bears], I was in my fifth year and I had Olin [Kreutz], Ruben [Brown], Fred [Miller] and John Tait,” Garza said. “I had guys that had started in the NFL for a very long time. They took me under their wing and taught me a lot of things, so now I feel it’s my turn to share all the knowledge that they passed on to me; how to do things, how to work, how to learn, how to study, and how to bring your best out when it’s needed.”

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