Strong safety Jeff Heath might as well have a target on his back rather than No. 38 emblazoned on his jersey when Dallas Cowboys take the field in Sunday's season opener against the New York Giants.
It's his first official start in place of the departed Barry Church.
And while his coaches and teammates believe in his abilities, his pedigree as a primarily a special teams player after making the team as an undrafted free agent from tiny Saginaw Valley State in 2013, some Cowboys fans are certainly leery.
There is no question Giants quarterback Eli Manning and vaunted receiver corps of Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall will certainly look to exploit the unproven neophyte.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
So Heath is balancing the excitement of finally getting his chance to start with the burning desire to prove people wrong.
"Absolutely man," Heath quickly responded with when asked if he felt he had something to prove Sunday. "I'm not dumb. I know the general feelings are about me as a player. I don't share those same feelings. And my teammates don't and the coaches don't and the organization doesn't. I don't want to say my main goal is to prove people wrong. But I like to have that edge. It keeps me motivated. It keeps me grounded. I like that."
But there is no question that he is savoring the moment of being able to walk out on the field with the starting lineup.
When he joined the Cowboys in 2013, he was the seventh safety on the depth chart going into training camp before coming out of nowhere to make the team.
He has improved and grown, while becoming one of the team's best special team players.
So Church's departure in free agency opened a door for him that he's held on to throughout the off-season and training camp, despite the presence of rookie draft picks, veterans holdovers with drafted pedigrees and free agent signees.
He feels a sense of accomplishment to go along with that excitement but no complacency
"It's everybody's goal in my opinion to have a starting role," Heath said. "You always want your role to be bigger no matter what it is. So I'm super excited. But it's important to channel that excitement. You can burn yourself out if you think about it too much. I have to take it one day at a time and focus on practice each day. The best way to be confident and play good is to prepare the right way. That's my focus right now.