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The NFLís Wide Receiver Crisis

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; It’s the first day of organized activities and the quarterback enters the huddle with a play call: Twins right, scat right, fake zoom, seam 678 Y flat drag. For a coach working with rookie wide receivers, it’s a thrilling moment ...

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Old 04-14-2018, 08:49 AM   #1
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The NFLís Wide Receiver Crisis

It’s the first day of organized activities and the quarterback enters the huddle with a play call: Twins right, scat right, fake zoom, seam 678 Y flat drag.

For a coach working with rookie wide receivers, it’s a thrilling moment to see a new dimension in the offense. It’s also a common frustration to see them bailing out after the first section of the first play call.

“They’re sitting there going, ‘What the hell is that?’” says Ricky Proehl, a 17-year NFL wideout and Panthers position coach from 2011-16, who currently trains college prospects. “They’re sitting there, they heard twins right and are still trying to line up. First thing they say: Twins right? O.K., I’m the Z, so I line up on the right. They didn’t hear any of the other s--- because they’re trying to figure out, ‘Where do I line up?’”

Proehl is definitely buying into the theory that the wide receiver position is in a bit of a crisis at the college level. It’s hard to believe, just four years removed from the Sammy Watins/Mike Evans/Odell Beckham Jr./Brandin Cooks/Kelvin Benjamin class, we are entering a draft that may only contain one or two first-round picks at the position. Since 2014, only Amari Cooper has been picked in the first round and gone on to a Pro Bowl. Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Nelson Agholor, Phillip Dorsett, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson, Laquon Treadwell, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross have all been slowed by injuries or slow to lift off.

The reasons are three-pronged, and could be why some of your favorite NFL teams are drafting receivers specifically out of the few pro-style offenses remaining in college, like Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida State (under Jimbo Fisher, who took the Texas A&M job last winter).

1. Collegiate offenses reduce wideouts to one side of the ball with limited responsibilities.

“They say hey, you’re going to be the A receiver. The A receiver lines up on the left. The B receiver lines up on the right. And then this receiver lines up slot right because the tight end is on the left,” Proehl says.

The issues at play: The receiver is often in his own world. He splits out and checks with his coordinator or position coach, who reads the coverages for him, and then directs the receiver to one of a few routes that correlate.

“They don’t worry about motion,” Proehl says. “They don’t worry about snap count. They don’t hear anything else and the coach holds the board up and they know I got one of five plays where I’m running a go, post, slant or a comeback. That’s all they’re running. If he’s off I’m running a hitch. Man, I’m running a go.”

2. Coaches are starting to teach routes differently, and perhaps less effectively.

Take one of the most basic components of the NFL route tree: the curl. For years, the receiver was taught to run 12 yards, plant hard and work back to the quarterback at a 45-degree angle. This allows the quarterback to throw a split-second early—like when the receiver digs his heel in to turn.

Now, receivers are coming out of school running the curl as a continuous semicircle, which creates myriad problems at the next level.

“When you’re running a semicircle, you’re keeping your arms moving and chopping, some coaches think its great because you’re playing fast, you’re not stopping,” Proehl says. “But a guy running a semicircle, if I’m running it and a guy like Kelvin Benjamin is running it, our circles are going to be different. The quarterback has to wait for you to come out and square your shoulders. That takes more time.”

That extra time means defensive backs have a window to undercut the route.

“When you come to him, plant your foot in the ground and come back at an angle, you’re boxing him out. He’s behind you. You create and maintain separation with your angle coming back to the QB.”

3. The use of the ‘fingertip method’

Proehl says some receivers are now taught to catch the ball with their fingertips, or are at least enamored by the prospects of it—the silent woosh, the aesthetic of it.

The problem is that there is little strength in those muscles, which could cause a batted pass from a defender or an outright drop. Proehl, who now works with agencies like powerhouse Rep 1 sports to prepare their draft-eligible wideouts and maintains a stable of NFL clients at his PSP training facility in North Carolina, prefers an attacking method.

“Try and hold a ball with your fingertips and see how easy it is to strip out of your hand,” Proehl says. “Put your whole surface of your palm and your fingers on the ball. That’s how you catch a ball. Every part of your hand. The more of your hand you have on the ball, the more you have to maintain an attack from a DB when he tries to strip it.

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Old 04-14-2018, 09:02 AM   #2
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Re: The NFLís Wide Receiver Crisis

They need to go back to the proven method "Bill, you're the rock, Mike, the bottle cap and Steve, the stick............CHAMPIONSHIP!!!
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:55 AM   #3
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Re: The NFLís Wide Receiver Crisis

Goog article that points to a big reason why I have almost stopped watching colle ball. they dumb it down something fierece. QBs only read half the field, WRs can't run jack ****. DL that play completely without technique and so on. Sound fundamentals seems to be out the window.
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