Goober Pyle

Falcons’ Takk McKinley believes his confidence has returned

32 posts in this topic

https://theathletic.com/1113273/2019/08/02/falcons-takk-mckinley-believes-his-confidence-has-returned/

 

For the first time as a professional football player, Takk McKinley didn’t have to go under the knife during an offseason. Before his rookie and second seasons, McKinley underwent shoulder procedures, which relegated him to rehab work while his teammates went through offseason workouts and practices.

As a rookie, he didn’t feel it affected him too much on the field. During his second season, it proved to be a big reason why he didn’t have the kind of year he expected of himself.

McKinley said that while he rehabbed last offseason, his weight got out of control. A typical day involved rehab, eating and sleeping. And by the time the 2018 season started, he wasn’t at a comfortable playing weight.

McKinley went into this offseason wanting better for himself. He’s back in shape, with a lot of it having to do with better eating habits — a quirky tip from a former teammate came in handy — and being able to participate in every offseason workout.

McKinley spoke with The Athletic about his expectations and what he did to overcome his 2018 setbacks.

How would you describe your offseason so far?

It’s been going pretty good. I lost some weight from last year to this year. I got my confidence back.

What happened to your confidence? What would you say happened with it and how did you get it back?

The weight — I was at 273 (pounds) my second year. My first year I was about 250, so I put on a lot of weight. I’m back down to 258. It’s just one of those things when you’re a professional, you have to take care of your body. I kind of lost control of that a little bit.

How did you get it back under control? What did you do get back down to a good weight?

It’s more mental. It’s knowing the right things to eat. Physical as well, but it’s more mental than anything when it comes to eating habits. I cut a lot of junk food out, fast food out. I’m eating spinach now, stuff like that.

That’s funny, Julio (Jones) said when he came into the league, Tony Gonzalez taught him not to eat red meat and pork. Were there any other foods you cut out?

It was really more the fast food. One of my teammates from last year, Derrick Shelby, told me (animals with) the less legs are better for you. Chicken have two. Fish have none. It’s funny, I took that route. Cows have four, so I stayed away from them.

You had a tweet where you said if you don’t have 10 sacks, you would cut your dreads. Is that something you’re going to stick to if that doesn’t happen?

Yeah. I wasn’t really too pleased with how my season went in my second year, especially coming off of a strong rookie year — at least I thought it was strong. I got a lot of expectations for myself. I just didn’t meet them. I care about my dreads a lot, so if I want them, I better get double digits.

How long did it take you to grow them out?

I’m on my fourth year. It’s been a journey.

With (Dan Quinn) going hands-on with the defense, especially with the defensive line, how has that helped you so far?

It’s been amazing. DQ worked with some of the best in the game, dating back to Jason Taylor at Miami. He’s a head coach but he’s a D-line guy. To spend time with him every day, learning tricks, it’s becoming an every-down player — not just a pass-rusher. It’s been dope.

What do you think the biggest improvement that we’ll see with the defense will be this year?

I’m not really trying to make any excuses, but injuries did kind of hurt us last year. Next man up, but at the same time, when you lose two Pro Bowlers, a starting safety, it’s kind of hard to overcome that. At the same time, it’s the next man up. Now that everybody is healthy, I feel we can be the defense we were a couple of years ago in my rookie year.

How tough is that mentally to go through such a thing with those injuries, considering in your rookie year, you all didn’t have that kind of run of injuries?

It was kind of weird to be real with you because we were going against teams that were injured, and we were healthy. We went to the playoffs healthy. To not see (Deion Jones) out there, to not see (Keanu Neal) out there, (Ricardo Allen), it was weird. But at the same time, next man up. It’s as simple as that.

Another thing for you personally, what’s it like coming into this year not having to go through an offseason surgery?

Oh, thank God. That also, now I’m not making excuses, but that kind of contributed to gaining weight. Once you get surgery, you just rehab, eat and sleep. I wasn’t eating good. But I was able to get my weight down in my first offseason (without surgery). It’s a little weird, but it’s cool. Normal for me since I’ve been in the league is to rehab in the summer. It was kind of intriguing trying to figure out the time schedule and stuff like that.

Entering Year 3, do you feel kind of like a mentor or a vet yet?

Man, I don’t have to pick up donuts no more. I don’t have to do no more rookie dinners. I tell the rookies, “Go get snacks,” and they do it. It’s a little weird; we have some undrafted guys and some young guys ask me questions and stuff like that. I try to give them the best advice I can from my experience.

Besides the double-digit sacks, what else do you want to prove this year?

I just want to win, to be honest with you. I had seven sacks last year, but if we would have won a Super Bowl, I couldn’t give a **** about the seven sacks. If I get double digits this coming up year, and we don’t win a Super Bowl, it’s like, “OK, cool, I met my goal, but the overall team goal. I just want to win.” It’s as simple as that.

 

The O.D.B, duckhoa, shock and 18 others like this

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17 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

This is how I like to see Takk handle his interviews.  Intelligent, articulate and on point.  Never heard of less legs is better...lol.  I need to cut out centipedes from my diet

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Really hope Tak puts it together and becomes the beast he can be. He's such a fun player to watch when he's got it turned on and he's a fun player to listen to and root for. Just real. No bs, just real.

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Glad he started taking the Julio route and started taking care of his body too.

I forgot about that surgery. It could very well be one of the reasons he had a semi-rough year last season. Hope he blows the opposing O-lines up this year.

 

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4 hours ago, HASHBROWN3 said:

Can’t wait to see Takk in action. He’s strong and fast.  It’ll be a combined effort from all the defensive linemen.

When you take a close look at our DL, we have some studs now. Maybe not known studs, but studs nevertheless. With a rejuvenated Takk, fresh blood like Cominsky, a wildcard with unbelievable potential with Shede, Crawford back, Clayborn back, Davidson in from NO, Jarrett and Senat as well. Who knows, maybe Beasley will lead the charge. If you're an OC, you don't necessarily have to like what you see on the other side of the LOS for the Falcons now, fo sho.

atlbaby and HASHBROWN3 like this

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Anybody else annoyed by the article headline? Nothing against the OP, but , you don't believe your confidence is back, you just have your confidence back.

 

I'm hoping this is his breakout year , where he just terrorizes opposing Olinemen.  

Cole World likes this

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I'll have to admit I had high hopes for Takk, doesn't seem like he's in the game anymore. He achieved the goals he set and that's it. He is not HoF material.

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1 hour ago, NeonDeion said:

I don’t understand why people don’t like Takk. He’s talented and 1000X more committed than Vic 

How can you say he's any increment more committed than anyone? Have you seen Vic? You think he isn't dedicated to making sure he's ready to go? Lol he's a freak. Because he decided to do work somewhere else for voluntary OTAs he is less committed? Lol or are we going to go with that BS Falcholic article about him standing in the tunnel while they were waiting to get the game situation sorted out? Lol

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7 hours ago, FalconsIn2020 said:

This is how I like to see Takk handle his interviews.  Intelligent, articulate and on point.  Never heard of less legs is better...lol.  I need to cut out centipedes from my diet

Good point, far cry from post-practice Ledbetter presser (even though Ledbetter deserved nothing less). 

Need more people in the NFL like Tak, Sherman, etc.., people that speak their mind, even when they don't speak. 

Falcons In 2012 likes this

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2 hours ago, Dem Birds said:

How can you say he's any increment more committed than anyone? Have you seen Vic? You think he isn't dedicated to making sure he's ready to go? Lol he's a freak. Because he decided to do work somewhere else for voluntary OTAs he is less committed? Lol or are we going to go with that BS Falcholic article about him standing in the tunnel while they were waiting to get the game situation sorted out? Lol

Lol it’s my opinion...just like the every single other post on TATF

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10 hours ago, FalconsIn2020 said:

This is how I like to see Takk handle his interviews.  Intelligent, articulate and on point.  Never heard of less legs is better...lol.  I need to cut out centipedes from my diet

Like I told you after the dled thing. That was him being standoff ish with asking dumb questions. In a 1 on 1 he’ll interview. This is exactly what I told you he’d do in that situation. 

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I want it to translate to the field, I am a huge Takk fan! We (the Falcons) need a huge year from Takk!!!

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13 hours ago, PokerSteve said:

When you take a close look at our DL, we have some studs now. Maybe not known studs, but studs nevertheless. With a rejuvenated Takk, fresh blood like Cominsky, a wildcard with unbelievable potential with Shede, Crawford back, Clayborn back, Davidson in from NO, Jarrett and Senat as well. Who knows, maybe Beasley will lead the charge. If you're an OC, you don't necessarily have to like what you see on the other side of the LOS for the Falcons now, fo sho.

Allen Bailey too. 

PokerSteve likes this

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I like Takk I just wish he would stop with the bull **** and produce. "Im gonna cut off my dreads if I don't get double digit sacks" Who cares jus ball out sometimes less is more 

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1 hour ago, Diggable Birds said:

I like Takk I just wish he would stop with the bull **** and produce. "Im gonna cut off my dreads if I don't get double digit sacks" Who cares jus ball out sometimes less is more 

How can he produce when he hasn't had a chance to produce? I don't think he's played any snaps yet.

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