Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens showcases a touchdown reception by Detroit Lions receiver Marvin Jones against Xavier Rhodes that is a product of an advanced technique.
Wide receivers showing off. It’s easy to think this is what they’re doing when practice one-handed catches with a jugs machine. After all, Cris Carter and Michael Irvin have done it for the cameras in recent years. It’s the equivalent of trick shots and acrobatic dunks for basketball players.
The articles that often accompany videos of these drills give the impression that the receiver is showboating. However, it’s an exercise. When you catch the ball with one hand, you have to use your fingertips. If you don’t have massive hands, you also have to catch the ball at its point. Because the drill activates a fingertips technique, regular practice will help the receiver develop the hand-eye coordination to make fingertip catches.
There’s also an ancillary benefit: Developing creative and technically-sound variations to catch the ball when the traditional high/low methods aren’t possible based on the angle of the target and/or the coverage.
Here’s Marvin Jones scoring on Xavier Rhodes with an advanced technique rooted in the drill you see above with Terrelle Pryor. This is an improvised catch method, but there’s a technical underpinning to the process.
When we zoom into the technique and examine it frame-by-frame, you see Jones uses the same technique as Terrelle Pryor with his sideline hand as his inside hand is in position to address potential recoil of the ball if it strikes some of Jones’ palm.
Because Rhodes has a hold of Jones’ inside arm as the target arrives overhead and the ball is arriving over the inside shoulder, Jones isn’t in a position to use the standard diamond technique and has to improvise. Even so, that improvisation is rooted and a logical and technically-sound process.
You will see targets where receivers can’t decide which technique to use (there’s one play that Laurie Fitzpatrick and I discuss in the RSP Film Room on D.J. Chark) or like one of the plays discussed in this RSPO Boiler Room on Quincy Enunwa before he worked with a jugs machine, their attempt has no technically-sound rhyme or reason. This isn’t one of them.
An exposure to practice drills has value when evaluating players because it helps you see how these exercises influence play on the field.
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