For his section, Ferguson sounds locked and loaded for the chance, aided by means of having performed in a complete of 45 offensive snaps in his first two NFL video games.
“The preseason definitely helped with [acclimating to NFL football],” Ferguson mentioned on Wednesday.. “Just getting the little things out of the way – minor adjustments and things like that. … I’ve adjusted pretty well but I’ve just got to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. [Schultz’s status] doesn’t change my preparation at all.
“In my thoughts, I’m at all times considering I’m going to play even supposing I’m now not going to play. I do know I gotta be able for no matter comes my manner.”
The former First-Team All-Big Ten talent will also deploy tactics he’s learned from Schultz from training camp to this point in his young NFL career.
“I believe numerous it’s the little issues,” Ferguson said. “Whether it’s footwork or hand placement or routes – the little issues. He’s undoubtedly helped me on all of the ones issues. … He’s at all times giving me guidelines … When you get started to hone in at the little stuff you get started to see your recreation reinforce a bit bit extra.”
But what of Hendershot, a less heralded talent who caught the eye of the Cowboys, and especially tight ends coach Lunda Wells, heading into the month of April?
Well, he’s lacking for neither talent nor confidence, each attribute fueling the other in a way that’s taken him from a town just outside of Indianapolis to center stage with the most viewed and most valuable sports organization on the third rock from the sun.
Dubbed “The Villain” in his younger football days, Hendershot isn’t unaccustomed to having all eyes on him, or delivering when they arrive.
“In highschool, I had a [type of] self belief about me, most probably an excessive amount of,” he explained. “People hated me for it. … People do not like the best way I elevate myself with my self belief from time to time but when that is simply who you might be, you gotta convey it. My coaches at all times arise to me and say, ‘The Villain. Bring The Villain out!'”
That moniker showed itself in the aforementioned preseason bout with the Seahawks which, to Hendershot’s admission, was also the first time the Cowboys coaching staff became aware of it. At one point in the contest, he was on the bench with his head down and “overthinking” about “making an attempt to do neatly” and show the team what he was capable of – Ferguson then telling him to “be The Villain”.
He went on to finish with three catches for 39 yards while also putting his athleticism on full display on a touchdown grab from backup quarterback Will Grier, also again validating the very large tattoo on his back of himself being a villain – directly next to an equally large tattoo of Heath Ledger’s version of Joker.
“I simply put my head down and stay setting up the paintings and making ready like [you’re] going to be the starter,” said Hendershot. “Last week [when Schultz exited against the Bengals] used to be an example of that. I hadn’t performed [in Week 1] but it surely comes down to two mins – a very powerful a part of the sport – you gotta cross in there. This week doesn’t suggest anything else other to me as a result of I’ve been making ready this complete time.
“Anything can happen. This is my opportunity to go in there and get a big chunk of reps, so I’m ready to make the most of my opportunities.”
One of Hendershot’s highest gear is his skill to create separation, and it is one thing he is been inquisitive about leveling up for many of his soccer profession.
“I attribute it back to college where quarterbacks don’t look for tight ends,” mentioned Hendershot. “I just told myself I don’t care if I’m gonna get the ball or not, I’m gonna get open because they watch film just like we do. So the more you get open the more they’ll say, ‘Alright, that guy is always open so I’m gonna start looking for him.’
“Everyday, each and every rep, my mindset is to get open, it doesn’t matter what, and ultimately they are going to get started focused on me extra with the ball.”
If Schultz is sidelined on Monday against the Giants, you can bet Rush will do just that, film showing his faith in the rookie in targeting Hendershot on the eventual game-winning drive on a ball that was tipped to Noah Brown instead – who reeled it in just before it hit the turf. For both Hendershot and Ferguson, as Wells iterates to them often, their moment isn’t later.
“It’s your time to cross,” Ferguson said of the message Wells gave the young TEs. “He’s undoubtedly gotten me up to pace and he is steadily jogged my memory, ‘Hey, it is your time at the moment. You’re going to have to cross.’
“In the preseason, [Wells] said this exact same stuff, ‘You’re going to have to be on your stuff. Make them remember you.’ That stuck with me. Even talking to Peyton when we’re not here it’s, ‘Hey, let’s make them remember [No. 87 and No. 89].
“It’s our time to cross. We’re right here now. It’s time to display who we’re.'”
And within the very apropos phrases of Ledger’s Joker: right here we cross.