As one of the older members of the offensive line, and clearly the most accomplished, Brandon Scherff wants to be a leader and pass down knowledge to his younger teammates. He has a prime chance to do that with Sam Cosmi.
"I go back to talking about Kory Lichtensteiger and Trent [Williams] and Morgan [Moses] and all those guys that helped me," Scherff said. "I'm trying to be that guy for Sam."
Cosmi, a second-round pick from Texas, has a unique opportunity in front of him. He's been getting most of the reps with the starting offense at right tackle, and Ron Rivera has even acknowledged that the rookie has a chance to start, if he develops. Most of what the head coach wants to see is Cosmi fine-tuning the smaller details of his game, and that's where Scherff has been helping him out the most.
"I'm just saying with the different fronts they get, opening the stance or tightening the stance," Scherff said. "Just different looks that I know that I've seen before that people have helped me with, different adjustments that the secondary makes and all that."
There's already a lot to like about Cosmi; he gets it, Rivera said, and he's a stout physical player. Like all young players, though, he's in the middle of a massive adjustment as he acclimates from playing for the Longhorns in the Big 12 to the much faster pace of the NFL.
The easiest way for him to do that is by learning the finer points of a professional defense. He doesn't just need to simply focus on his blocking assignment; it's pivotal for him to adapt to different linebacker adjustments as well as where the secondary is and how that changes plays. All of that centers pre-snap adjustment; understanding that should go a long way for Cosmi.
"As you're a rookie, everything speeds up really fast," Scherff said, "but once you get those adjustments, it starts to slow down and then you can think less and less and play a lot faster."
Playing faster tends to come in handy when regularly facing off against Chase Young and Montez Sweat. The two are already considered by many as one of the best edge-rushing duos in the league. There are moments when they get the better of the rookie, but Cosmi has overall been holding his own.
Scherff has some more advice when those losses happen: "pick your head up and do it again."
"You can let one play beat you twice," Scherff said. "If he messes up, holds his head down, he might get beat again. I said just move on, flush it, move on and just improve."
Cosmi isn't getting any plays off from Young, either. He's going to keep giving Cosmi "everything I have," because that's what he experienced every day with Morgan Moses. It helped him be prepared to square off against some of the best offensive linemen in the league. And if Cosmi has questions, he's more than happy to answer them.
"If he wants to go watch film, I'm here to help him more. But I feel like the best thing I could do for somebody like Sam is just to give them my best every play."
Rivera has been impressed with the way Cosmi has performed so far. He's noticed that Cosmi plays like something is on the line, and that's important. He's a player Rivera thinks can help the offense going forward, because to put it simply, "he gets it."
And getting pointers from a first team All-Pro like Scherff doesn't hurt his chances, either.
"If I can lead somebody or help somebody just improve or get better, then I was successful," Scherff said. "I'm just trying to help somebody do something that they never thought they could do before."
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