TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Transitioning from college to the NFL is a challenge. For Rookie Christian Izien, he’s also faced with the task of adjusting to a new position.
The Rutgers alum is going from cornerback to safety.
“Playing the position for the first time last year in college, now transitioning to the league, to playing in it, I’m still learning a lot just what comes with it the ins and outs the point of position,” said Bucs safety Christian Izien. “Coach Bowles is doing a really good job of teaching me, watching a lot of film, having anticipation of what’s coming, and trusting my technique and trusting the athleticism that I have and playing with instincts,”
As the Tampa Bay Bucs head to New Jersey on Tuesday to practice with Aaron Rodgers and the Jets, being a New York native, Izien’s returning to a familiar place.
“I have a lot of family coming out this week so just to get the opportunity to play against some guys I grew up with high school and playing that atmosphere at home will feel good,” said Izien.
Safety Antoine Winfield Jr., who was drafted by the Bucs in 2020, has been showing Izien the ropes. Winfield Jr. continues to make an impact on the field.
“I’ve been watching Antoine since college,” Winfield Jr. said. “We had the same defensive coordinator in college, so I’ve been watching his film since I was there. Having the opportunity to play with him has been great. Just trying to play with poise and situational defense and all that stuff. They’re doing a great job teaching and coaching me up,” said Izien.
“He’s been having a very good camp,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said. “He had a very good spring. He’s enjoying staying back at free safety. He’s one of our better ball hawks on the team. I like where he’s at right now.”
As far as the other side of the ball goes, when Bowles was asked about who has the edge at the starting quarterback after having a preseason game under their belts, he says it’s still to be determined.