Braylon is tall and fast and has all the physical attributes needed to make him a perennial Pro Bowler in this league. He can out leap 95% of the defensive backs in this league. So why doesn't he catch the ball? His problems are between the ears.
Problem 1: He hears footsteps. The only routes a receiver that hears footsteps likes to run are routes that take him away from the defender. Routes like corner routes and fly routes. By far, Braylon’s favorite route always ends in the corner of the end zone. This route allows him to not only run away from the cornerback, but the safety as well.
These routes are, coincidentally, the routes Derek Anderson throws the best. For this reason, Derek and Braylon celebrate a higher completion percentage than does Brady and Braylon.
Problem 2: As a result of hearing footsteps, he looks up field before he secures the ball. He is afraid of the hit and wants to get moving too soon, resulting in dropped balls.
Problem 3: Because of his fear, he is limited to running certain routes. A receiver that hears footsteps hates running comebacks, buttonhooks, and routes into the flats. They simply don't like turning their back to the defender to catch the ball. They also hate running into linebackers so forget about a slant route or anything across the middle. Who remembers the last time Edwards ran any of these routes successfully?
Where does this fear come from? As with many of our problems; this too can probably be traced backed to early childhood. At one point in middle school, after Braylon had started growing taller and before he started filling out, he got cracked in the middle of the back by a cornerback and it hurt. His head probably felt like it was going to touch his butt and his arms snapped back like he was learning to fly. After that, it was fades and corner routes for Braylon. Routes that allowed him to run away from the foosteps and the pain.
Problem 4: Braylon is a Diva. He is more concerned with jetsetting to Miami for drinks with Dante, or acting in commercials, or being a celebrity at college football games, than he is in leading the league in reception yards. I think he will always be more concerned with the love of the fans than helping his team win.
The question is, of course, what to do with him? Do we get rid of him now? Trade him after the season? Franchise him? Or, do we hope the new coach can whip him into shape? The answer is, obviously, we cheer and hope the guy can put his dropsies in the past. His upside is obvious. And if he nose dives, we can always trade him or franchise him.
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