How would you assess your growth with the Ravens?
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Is it easy to develop a chemistry with Joe?
Yeah. I think on the field it takes a little bit of time. The biggest thing is, you've got to go out and you've got to make plays. You've got to catch the ball, and you've got to find ways to get open. If you're doing that consistently, that helps the quarterback trust you, and that's when the chemistry really starts.
Many thought that when the Ravens drafted Ed Dickson in the third round and you in the fourth round last year, both of you would be the New England Patriots' version of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Is that too much pressure to put on you and Ed?
No, not at all. We run a different offense from New England. We run the ball with more consistency, and when you have a great running back like Ray Rice and Ricky Williams, you want to get the ball in their hands. And we understand that. We're not throwing the ball 50, 60 times a game like some teams are. We understand our role and we don't feel any added pressure.
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make from playing at Brigham Young University to playing for the Ravens?
I think from a knowledge standpoint, having to learn a new system — considering how intricate the systems are in the NFL. I think a lot of college offenses are pretty basic. Coming to the NFL, you've really got to know the offense inside and out a lot more than you did in college. So that's a tough thing when you're young, especially when you're a rookie because if you don't know what you're doing, if you don't know your assignment, it's hard to play fast and hard to let your talent show.
BYU has a history of producing NFL tight ends like Chad Lewis, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Doug Jolley, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. Did they give you any advice about making the leap to the NFL?
Chad Lewis has been someone who — throughout my career at BYU and now into the NFL — I've stayed close with and talked a lot with. He's been a good guy to bounce questions off of, and he's really given me a lot of support and a lot of feedback and things that I'm able to use playing right now.
Has there been one piece of advice from Chad that has resonated with you?
I think the best thing was coming to work every day. You've got to prepare yourself every week because in the NFL, you can't take weeks off. Someone's always looking for your job. So you've got to continue to work hard and prepare every week.
I read somewhere that you ran a 4.5 40-yard dash while attending Moorpark High School in Moorpark, Calif. Is that true?
Yeah. I was a little bit thinner then because I was a wide receiver. But yeah, I was a track guy. I could run a little bit. People think that maybe I can't, but at the combine, I ran a 4.6. So it wasn't anything different.
You were a walk-on wide receiver at BYU before making the switch to tight end. Was that a decision that you had made?
The coaches came up to me and wanted to make the switch. I had never played tight end before in my life. It was an adjustment early on, but I was fortunate enough to be able to play quite a bit during my freshman year. It was a good transition for me obviously.
Did the anticipated increase in playing time help ease that position change?
Yeah, I knew that we were a little thin at tight end, and we had some good receivers at BYU at the time. It seemed like it made sense. Going into college, I knew I was a bigger wide receiver, and I knew that [playing tight end] was maybe something that was plausible in the future. I was receptive to the change.