LeftyAugust 19th, 2014
One reason rookies don’t always shine when they get to the NFL is the much tougher competition. That’s a no-brainer. But there is yet another big reason.
In college, often, stars are going against children, freshmen or sophomores who can’t yet buy alcohol (legally). In the NFL, you are going up against grown-arse men. No boys, here.
Playing against lesser opponents, college stars can often get by if not dominate just on their physical abilities alone. Fundamentals? Who needs fundamentals?
Well, when you are playing in the NFL, you will need fundamentals, that’s for sure. This was evidenced Saturday night when Bucs rookie wide receiver Mike Evans, after catching a Mike Glennon offering over the middle, broke a tackle and raced up the left sideline holding the ball in his right hand, which exposed the ball to a potential strip and fumble.
That is exactly what happened when Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes punched the ball out of Evans’ hands at the one yard line. The ball rolled into the end zone for not six points, but a touchback and Miami’s ball. Had Evans held the ball in his left hand, away from defenders, he likely would have scored. Then again, this was foreign to Evans, as Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger unearthed.
It was a factoid about Evans that is, in part, alarming.
Wow! #Bucs WR Mike Evans said he has NEVER held the ball in his left hand after a catch. That’s kinda amazing.
— Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) August 19, 2014
Note that this is only Evans’ fourth year of organized football. He played just his senior year in high school and two years at Texas A&M. What most football players learn in grade school much less high school, Evans is just now learning. In the NFL, no less.
Not only is this an example of how rookies often are unaware of the basics of football, but it shows just how dominant of an athlete Evans was on the football field.
Good thing he is getting a crash course in OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and now the preseason.