NFL Rookies Who Are Stumbling out of the Gate
Often, coaches will give their rookie class a much-needed vote of confidence during the team’s OTAs, regardless of how they perform on the practice field. Hopefully, the young collegians understand that they have plenty work ahead before the entire team gathers at training camp in July.
Coordinators will implement the playbook in classroom chalk sessions and then expect the players to execute what they learn on the practice field. Rookies will run continuous reps until their actions become automatic in simulated game situations.
Here are NFL rookies who are stumbling out of the gate:
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon
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You cannot blame the Jacksonville Jaguars if they regret drafting WR Justin Blackmon with the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft, as he was recently arrested on his second DUI charge in two years.
Sure, Blackmon said all right things in television interviews to help diffuse the situation. He apologized for his actions and pledged to change his reckless lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this incident has brought on more negative press to a franchise desperately looking to change their image with the public.
Sooner or later, the Jags will have to penalize Blackmon for his arrest. He’s fortunate that there is plenty of time to change the fans' opinion of him before the start of the season.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill
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Nice way to start a quarterback controversy.
Last week, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said that none of the quarterbacks in competition for the starter's position had distinguished themselves enough in the first week of OTAs.
All of them threw well in passing drills, but none caught the eyes of the coaching staff. Then, the Miami Herald announced that Matt Moore was their leader in the competition.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as no Dolphins fan can envision their first-round draft choice Ryan Tannehill holding a clipboard at any point next season.
Why wouldn’t you start him? Tannehill will get better over time, as the franchise has nothing to lose by starting him.
Dallas Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne
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The Dallas Cowboys aren’t too concerned about Morris Claiborne, as he’s on the field. But, Claiborne cannot participate in team drills until the start of training camp in July.
The Cowboys don’t want to risk damage to the ligaments in his surgically repaired wrist, so Claiborne can only shadow his teammates in on-field activities. If they’re going to the playoffs, then the Cowboys need Claiborne to have a mindset of a NFL player.
Missing significant on-field time at OTAs has hindered his mental development as a professional. Claiborne waited to have wrist surgery until after his participation in the NFL combine.