Linebacker Jasper Brinkley saw Devon Kennard and was immediately reminded of Antoine Winfield. It wasn’t his play or his attitude or his skill set, though. Winfield was a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Vikings and Kennard is a third-year linebacker for the Giants. It was Kennard’s colors that sparked the comparison.
Kennard’s notebooks in training camp are filled with a rainbow of highlights that help certain topics stand out as he jots them down. The third-year Giants linebacker uses orange, green and yellow to categorize his notes in the meeting room, which is a unique approach and something that has impressed Kennard.
“I saw one guy in my career that did that, and it was Antoine Winfield, who I feel was one of the most underrated guys in the National Football League at that time,” Brinkley said. “Devon’s been doing it. I’ve seen three different colors. Just seeing that, it’s refreshing.”
Kennard, whose father played in the NFL, said he came upon the system himself. He began highlighting as a rookie and did a little bit more last season. Now, as he goes into his third and perhaps most important season, he’s committed to the practice.
“I really want to fine-tune the details of my game and make it a little easier for me to look through my notes,” Kennard said. “I take a good amount of notes. Now I’m at the point where I’m in my second year in the system so there is not as much learning and I can really focus on details and stuff. It helps me sort through them.”
The system is pretty basic. Anything that has to do with installation of the defense goes in green. Anything of a personal nature for Kennard, be it a tip from coaches on handwork or something he sees on video about his footwork, goes in orange. Yellow is for a hodgepodge of other random observations and things Kennard wants to be sure to recall.
“In meetings in the morning, I always look for the orange stuff,” Kennard said. “At night, it’s more about what we installed, what’s in green, what’s in yellow. In the morning before I get on the field, it’s what’s in orange and what are some keys I need to focus on to get 1 percent better today?”
He said he doesn’t scrimp on the office equipment.
“I got the nice pack of Sharpie highlighters,” he said. “Top of the line. You have to get the good pens and the good highlighters. It makes a huge difference.”
Kennard hopes so. After two seasons that showed promise but were sidetracked by injuries, he’s hoping to stay on the field and shed the label of being injury-prone.
“I sense that he wants to be great,” Brinkley said. “He’s always working at something. I feel like with a guy like that, he can have anything he wants on this level. He’s a hard worker, always doing extra. He wants to be great and he knows the time is going to come.”
If it does, he can always go back and watch his highlights.