Today David Baas was surrounded by familiar faces on a familiar field and played at a familiar position.
It felt incredibly unfamiliar.
Before joining the Giants last season, Baas played in all but four games during his six-year tenure with his former team, the San Francisco 49ers. However, just once did he begin a season playing the same position as he finished the previous one.
Wednesday's first organized team activity marked the second.
"As sad as it is," the center joked, "this will be my second time on the same team that I've played the same position instead of bouncing around. I'm starting to establish that position and work on some things that I definitely need to work on to make this team better."
Drafted in the second round (33rd overall) by the 49ers in 2005, Baas began at right guard as a rookie, but then played some center in 2006 before reverting to right guard in 2007. He manned the left guard position for the second half of 2008 and stayed there for 2009. But as the carousel went, an injury on the team moved him to center in his final season with the 49ers.
While it's that kind of versatility that brought him to the Giants in the first place, Baas is ready to stay put in his eighth NFL season as the Giants defend the title.
"Obviously it was a tremendous experience and it was a great ride for all of us," said Baas, who didn't meet his new team until late July last year because of the lockout. "But the truth of the matter is it's over. I don't know it firsthand, but hearing and seeing the facts – how hard it is to repeat – you've got to be focused on what you're doing here. Guys come and go, that's the nature of the business. When I came in, guys had been here for a long time. It's constantly rotating, but you've got to make it work, no matter what."
Drafting is also part of the business, and the offensive line room grew by two tackles this year with Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants. Baas approves and knows they will play a role this season.
"We've got some new guys that we need to step up," Baas said. "I think [the front office] did a great job in the draft, honestly. We've got a good group of guys here. Guys need to step up. There's plenty of room for improvement for us, too, though."