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Derek Combs: NFL Europe Diary, Part II


*Derek Combs' second tour of duty in NFL Europe hasn't started quite the way he had hoped.

Although Combs has enjoyed individual success, his Amsterdam Admirals team is winless in two tries after falling 34-11 to the defending NFL-E champion Frankfurt Galaxy in Week 1, before losing to the Berlin Thunder last weekend, 28-17.

The former Ohio State University running back first suited up for the Admirals in NFL-E two summers ago -- then with the Oakland Raiders -- when he began his conversion to his current position of cornerback.

In 2003, Combs played eight games for the Packers, making significant contributions on special teams with six tackles.

Now the speedy athlete, who in training camp last season beat out teammates Najeh Davenport and Herbert Goodman in a post-practice footrace, continues the NFL Europe Diary:*

Derek Combs: Dropping our first two games isn't the way we wanted to start the season, but everyone here is really focused on getting back on track.

We're all here to win jobs on NFL teams, but for the time that we're together in Europe everybody wants to win. If you win as a team, everybody looks good individually, so the guys are really motivated to turn things around.

The first game against Frankfurt we lost by a lot, 34-11, but we improved a lot in the second game.

Against Berlin we forced three turnovers. They didn't force any turnovers, but they still won. Usually when the ratio is in your favor like that, you win the game, but we gave up some big plays and that didn't help.

Personally, I played pretty decent. The first game it took me a while to shake off some of the rust, but by the second game I was really comfortable and led our team with five tackles.

That surprised me a little bit, because I've never led the team in tackles before, but it felt good. It was the first time I've been really aggressive and just broke down on guys right after they caught the ball, whether it was a receiver or a running back or a tight end.

The only bad thing about leading the team in tackles is that I was sore as hell the next day. I've never felt so sore. But it was all worth it.

Another positive thing from last week was the Amsterdam crowd. There were over 10,000 fans out there, and they're a lot more knowledgeable about the game than the last time I was here two years ago: knowing when to be loud and help the team out, and when to stay quiet. That's very encouraging.

As far as the living situation is concerned, Amsterdam is a pretty good place to be. We're in a nice hotel and they do an okay job getting us some American food that we can fill up on, plus some local cuisine if you want to give that a try. I like the food better in the States, but the stuff over here isn't terrible.

This weekend we play at Scotland, and from what I've heard it's one of the hardest trips we'll make all year.

In our first trip this season to Frankfurt, the traveling was actually pretty smooth. We took a three-hour train ride followed by a 15-minute bus ride to the hotel. But this weekend we have to fly, and that's a pain.

In the NFL, you fly on a charter. In NFL Europe, you fly commercial. Plus, I've heard that the hotel and the food in Scotland might be the worst we'll see, so I guess I'll be updating you on how that goes next time.

We showed a lot of improvement from the first to the second game, so if we continue like that we're going to pick up our first win this weekend.

Scotland is 0-2 like us, so they'll be hungry for a win, but I think our team is going to go out there and fight. Personally, I think this is going to be my week to go out there and get my first pick, but I'd be just as happy if we go out there as a team and blow those cats out.

The Amsterdam Admirals-Scottish Claymores game will be televised live on DirecTV, Sunday at 8 a.m., CT, with a delayed broadcast on NFL Network at 7 p.m. CT. The NFL Europe Diary will continue throughout the season.

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