Massachusetts Pirates defensive end J.D. Griggs was among the league’s best at his position last season. But he wants more.
“With me, everything can always get better,” Griggs said. “There was a lot of plays I left out there last year.
“This year I’ve worked on getting more explosive. Using my hands more, being mobile with my hands, so I worked on that a lot more [than last year].”
Griggs not only wants to be a better player physically, but now as a seasoned arena league player, he knows he needs to be a leader for the unit.
“The vocal part is needed because I know I’m a veteran in arena football,” Griggs said. “I know a lot of these guys that are coming have never played arena football and they think that it’s kind of similar to outdoor, but it’s totally different you got to play in a smaller space and it’s faster so with me vocally, I’ll just teach the guys what I’ve seen in the past that works.”
Griggs is setting everything for himself at a higher standard to show all of the new guys the approach they have to take to win.
“I’ll lead by example and go hard at every drill at practice,” Griggs said. “Show them that if you do this in practice every single day, it will work once you get to the game, it will be easier.”
Re-signing with the team in the offseason was a priority for Griggs because of the family oriented way that the team is run on.
“It was important because I know Jawad and the Yatim family took care of me and my family throughout the season,” Griggs said. “Every time they came to the games, they were treated with love, it was just them having faith in me and I wanted to be loyal to them.”
The Pirates made it to the National Arena League semifinals last season and Griggs now thinks the next step can be reached now with the team at full strength.
“Well last season we would’ve got over that hump if we had our MVP quarterback [Sean Brackett],” Griggs said. “But since he got hurt late in the season that really messed up the team chemistry, but now that we got him back and we’re all basically trying to protect him so he won’t get hurt again so he’s healthy throughout the whole season and we can keep the team chemistry going.”
Griggs in his entire professional career, has never stood at the top and hopes that all can change this year.
“Me, I’ve won Bowl Games in college at the University of Iowa, but I’ve never won a championship in football,” Griggs said. “So I know that was our main goal last year and I know this year it’s even more heightened because we have all our key players coming back.”