B/R Interview: Kayvon Webster on Champ Bailey, Training Camp and Peyton Manning
Gillette Clear Gel’s “Built for Training” program is a six-installment video web series that shows some of the tough elements of an NFL training camp and features three rookies and their veteran mentors. One of the pairs is Denver Broncos' 12-time Pro-Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey and rookie cornerback Kayvon Webster.
Webster was nice enough to chat with Bleacher Report about his involvement with the program and what it's like to be paired up with Bailey. He also dished on the training camp experience, what it's like to face quarterback Peyton Manning in practice and what he still need to work on to earn playing time on a team with a legitimate Super Bowl shot.
On the Gillette Program and Being Partnered with Champ Bailey
B/R: What’s it like being partnered with Champ Bailey?
KW: It’s been cool. We’re really close together on the field because we are in the same meeting rooms, so when the Gillette project happened, it (became) a cool experience to talk about.
B/R: What things do you take away from working with Champ Bailey? What makes him so good?
KW: The way he handles himself as a professional. He comes to practice, he’s smart and he’s just always in the right spot. That’s the kind of thing you admire about Champ, he’s going to give his very best effort on every play.
B/R: What’s your relationship with Champ like and does having a veteran like him make camp easier?
KW: He’s a 12-time Pro Bowler if I’m not mistaken. When he gives you tips, you just really tune in to listen to his tips about either to stand square or get lower in your backpedal. You try to listen to what he says; it’s 100 percent correct. At the same time, he’s a laid back guy. If you have a question, he will answer it for you. That’s the kind of thing I’m thankful for, that’s why I think I’ve improved, because I’ve learned from Champ, DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and different cornerbacks that we have and their techniques. That’s where Champ has been real big for me. When the (Gillette “Built for Training” program) happened it gave us another thing to touch base on.
B/R: Some people might say you are Bailey’s heir apparent at cornerback. Is that extra pressure or do you just go out there and do your thing?
KW: I don’t figure it as extra pressure. It’s very humbling because Champ is a 12-time Pro Bowler. You don’t put too much pressure on yourself trying to do what Champ did in 12 years (actually 14) in one day. You just go out and try to do your very best.
On the Grind of Training Camp
B/R: What is training camp like on a day-to-day basis for a rookie?
KW: It’s a grind. You want to give your best every day. This is your job now. This is what you love to do, so you've got to take care of your body and dive in that playbook; take it serious. It’s a great opportunity you don’t want to pass up. Training camp is a long day, but it’s long if you make it long. As long as you know what’s going on you’ll get through the day.
B/R: Something surprise you about training camp?
KW: I kind of went into training camp with an open mind from college; I prepared with that. It’s really different. It’s not a lot of time on the field; it’s a lot of meeting time, though. It’s a lot of time you get to bond with your teammates to build that camaraderie.
On Earning Playing Time and Being Drafted by a Team with Super Bowl Expectations
B/R: How hard is it going to be to earn playing time with so many quality veteran cornerbacks in front of you?
KW: I don’t look at it like it’s hard. Every day I come out to practice and try to give it my very best. When my opportunity is up, I’m sure I’m going to be prepared for it. I admire all those guys. At practice, I watch them and take different thing out of everyone’s game.
B/R: What’s it like to be drafted by a team where the expectation is Super Bowl?
KW: It’s real big. It makes you focus even more. I think (they’re) probably more hungry this year than they were last year. It’s a great and humbling experience and I’m thankful for it.
On Facing Peyton Manning in Practice
B/R: How many reps have you received versus Peyton Manning and how tough is it to cover great receivers when he is throwing the ball?
KW: Peyton is an incredible player; he’s probably one of the best in the game. It’s crazy just to see him out there. Some days he goes 100 percent out there on the field and he makes those throws.
B/R: Is it frustrating as a defensive back that you can do everything right and Manning will still complete the pass?
KW: It’s frustrating, but at the end of the day you have to look at who is throwing the ball. This is what he is highly paid to do. That little competitive edge in you, you get mad. Sometimes you just gotta settle, look at who it’s against.
B/R: Do you think it makes you better going against one of the best quarterback/receiver combos in the NFL?
KW: Yes sir. Our wide receivers, they come out to practice and give their best every day. You just have to be on point because everyone possesses different (skill sets) and that’s just what you have to do, you have to adjust.
On His Biggest Weaknesses and How He's Most Improved
B/R: What is your biggest weakness and where have you improved the most since training camp started?
KW: I would say I’ve improved the most just by coming to practice every day and working on my technique. I think that’s what helped slow the game down for me. Read my playbook even more, try to understand certain things and come up with different concepts in my head to ask the coaches. "Well coach, what if this happens or what if that happens?" I’m kind of approaching the game different, that’s probably what I’ve improved on the most. Getting out of college, there’s way more film time (in the NFL) and there are people here accessible to get knowledge from like Champ (and) Quentin Jammer. That’s what I’ve improved on the most.