Mitch Petrus usually has a very good workout in the weight room on Mondays. He’s one of the strongest men on the team, and that’s his day to show it. This week, though, was a little different.
“I was telling Chris (Snee), ‘Man, this workout [stinks] when you play,’” Petrus said today. “I didn’t realize that.”
Why would he? Petrus was thrust into his first extended playing time on Sunday against the Packers and his first career start when David Baas was scratched about two hours before kickoff. That mean that the frenetic Petrus finally had an outlet for all of the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the team.
“I really didn’t have a clue, but you never know,” Petrus said of driving to the game and now knowing that he would be in uniform, nevermind starting. “You’re always one play away and you have to be ready. (The other linemen) were excited for me when I got the call and they knew. They were like ‘Calm down, focus.’ Alright, I’ll work on being calm.
“I like being excited but you have to be focused, you have to focus your energy,” he said. “You can’t be everywhere. But the guys wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be spastic.”
He wasn’t. Petrus played well and if Baas is unable to go on Sunday against the Cowboys, he’ll likely get a second start at guard. Unlike the Packers, the Cowboys will have a chance to gameplan against the kid with limited NFL experience and create some things that could confuse or overwhelm him.
“I definitely think that could be a possibility,” he said. “They could think they’re going to test him more because Green Bay didn’t really know. It could be more like ‘Let’s just see what this guy has because if he can’t stop it we’re going to keep bringing it.’ That’s how it’s going to be. If I pick it up and stop it they’ll try another area, but if I don’t it’s going to be a long day. I’m up for the challenge, though. The pressure is on, right?”
Right. And so is the energy. Petrus was asked today if his enthusiasm comes naturally.
“Yeah, it is natural,” he said. “What else would it be? First start in the NFL you’d better be excited. If you’re not then something is wrong with you. I was definitely excited … I could have gotten nervous but I wanted this opportunity. I wanted to make the most of it. You can always get nervous. But I didn’t think about it. It’s not an option. I studied all week and it just happened that my number got called and I tried to make the most of it.”
“I gotta have high energy, but it’s gotta be a controlled energy,” he said. “If you just go all out all haywire you’re not going to have good technique, so you have to be focused and use the energy the right way. I think the team can rally around people who have energy and are being positive … I want to show my team that I’m going to do all I can to help them win.”