CINCINNATI -- Whenever Wallace Gilberry has peeked inside the packed, loaded-to-the-gills Cincinnati Bengals meeting rooms he's walked past the last two months, one thought has repeatedly popped into his mind.
"This is about reinventing."
With a new season on the horizon and another training camp about six weeks away, his annual goal of personal reinvention has returned. His focus each offseason revolves around tweaking his style of play and focusing on making changes that can make him a better player. Minicamp and organized team activities can be perfect times for that. There's less pressure from a pure competition standpoint, and the spring workouts can afford players time to see what more they need to fine-tune before camp opens.
"I've been like that since I've been in the league," the eight-year veteran said. "I'm always proving myself and always having to reinvent myself. Everybody should feel like that, starter or not. You have to go out and compete, and you have to go out and reinvent yourself every year. Because at the end of the year, it may be the same guys, but we're definitely a new team. It's a new feeling, a new mindset."
Gilberry said he believes players involved in tight, ultra-competitive position battles ought to cling close to the notion of reinvention.
While Gilberry's job looks secure on the surface -- he's likely entering this year as the third defensive end in a rotation that should get him on the field regularly with Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap -- there are others along the defensive line that aren't as certain.
"We're excited to put this thing together," Gilberry said. "But we've got a lot of time to work and get better. We still have a lot of time ahead."
So, how exactly does one reinvent themselves?
"I go back and watch all my bad plays," Gilberry said. "If I miss a tackle, I go back and watch it. Maybe my hands were wrong coming off the line of scrimmage or maybe I stepped underneath myself, how can I figure out how not to do that? You just go back to the lab and reinvent yourself and come back out and try to apply those new things from the mistakes that you learn and hopefully it all gets better."