Excuses were built in for Giovani Bernard. His first professional game first professional snaps all at the young age of 21. Days before the second-round pick admitted holding no idea what the first preseason game of his career would feel like.

Bernard didn’t play as well as he envisioned. His 10 carries for 28 yards and three receptions for 16 yards don’t exactly jump off the page.

As for those excuses easier to grab than a cup of water on the sideline he’ll pass.

“For me if I were to give myself a grade I wouldn’t even want to put the grade out there” Bernard said. “I am really hard on myself. That’s just how I am. That’s how I’ve always been.”

The 5-foot-9 208-pound Bernard may resemble Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew but to expect him to play like them the first time he steps between the lines in the NFL would be as unrealistic as it is unfair.

“I wanted to do a little bit more” he said. “I wanted to be a little bit more productive with the amount of touches that I had. For me I just want to be able to kind of do everything on the field. I did miss a blitz pickup. That’s the only thing really going through my mind. I’ll get better at it. It’s a day by day kind of process.”

Though Bernard focuses on his improvement one of his contributions stood out among a generally productive debut for the 2013 running game. Bernard showed off elite speed gaining the edge on a third-and-1 for two difficult yards and got out of bounds to keep alive a touchdown drive just before halftime.