When quarterback Mike Bercovici was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May, he got the opportunity to learn from the quarterback he grew up watching in Philip Rivers.
Fast forward three months and Bercovici took the knowledge he learned and applied it to the team's 19-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. After an interception in his limited action against the Titans in the first preseason game, the quarterback was under center the entire second half of Friday and showed poise in the pocket.
"We gave Mike (Bercovici) an opportunity to go in there for a half," mentioned Head Coach Mike McCoy. "We said we wanted to give him a good half to see how he could do it and (he) went in there and made some good plays. (He) is a young player; a young quarterback that is going to make some mistakes, miss some throws, make some plays (and be) a little bit up and down at times. But there's nothing like experience…You can't ever take these reps away from players so that is the great thing about the preseason games for the young players."
"It really was an opportunity," he said. "I didn't know how long I was going to be in there, but the quarterbacks (have done) such an amazing job being invested in me as a football player and it was just fun being out there. I felt prepared. Coach (Ken) Whisenhunt, (Quarterbacks Coach) Shane (Steichen) and Coach McCoy have all done great jobs teaching me up to this point so I'm excited to keep it going."
Bercovici finished the night 9-of-13 for 108 yards. He put his team in position to score points twice as he drove down into Arizona territory and kicker Josh Lambo booted two field goals in the second half.
Prior to training camp, Bercovici said the most challenging part of being a new quarterback in the NFL was learning the playbook. Nevertheless, as time has gone on, the signal caller admits although he's not there 100% with the playbook just yet, he's certainly more comfortable.
"I would like to say that I have the language down a little bit more and more but obviously, there's so much that I have to learn. What is amazing is having a guy like Philip to look up to and see how well he knows it and that is the goal. Every single day I'm here I expect myself to be at his level so I am excited to keep learning. (Saturday) we will go watch the film and I'm going to learn more."
Up next for Bercovici and the Bolts is a road trip to Minnesota for the third preseason game. While the team gets the honor of playing in the opening game of the Vikings' new stadium, the potentially hostile environment doesn't faze the QB. Instead, he sees next week as another opportunity to show he has the chops to make it in this league.
"Coach McCoy said (to) remember this feeling right now. Whatever the case may be; preseason, it doesn't matter. We know what we are up against in a new stadium. We know it is going to be alive, but we are excited for the opportunity to get guys out there. We're playing for our lives right now, that's the feeling. Whatever the case may be, if my number is called, or if it's not, I will be prepared as I've ever been."