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The VERY BASICS of WR play and why DK Metcalf’s continued sloppiness also continues to hurt the whole team


Well here I go again trying to help people understand football but finally on DK Metcalf and the deeply nuanced specifics about why his play at WR is sloppy and hurts both his own game and the team itself.

I jotted some things down yesterday, before the game today (against Tenn.), but I couldn’t watch the game in real time this morning but watched the condensed replay on NFL +, which is only 37 minutes long and leaves out a lot of context. I don’t need people citing specific highlights about any games, please, just read this if you like and if not then that’s okay too..if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you.

Next, PLEASE, folks, there is no argument here and if you’ve never played WR in full pads as a team sport then your OPINION doesn’t matter, so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE just take this in and keep your comments on an adult level without badgered up nonsense, fanboy love, petty insults. I also don’t need cherry picked statistics UNLESS you are ALSO comparing him to OTHER WRs that play his position.

And if you HAVE played WR before (on an organized team in pads, etc.) then please add to this or comment because I could certainly be leaving a lot out of it as well.

And if you have any questions, then, yeah, you can certainly comment with that stuff as well.

The basics on How to play WR:

  • Extend hands to catch the ball with the hands and NOT the chest or body. Then after the catch is made, bring the ball into the body tight to complete the catch, THEN run if possible.
  • “High point” the ball, which means to reach as high as you can, possibly on a jump, to catch the ball at the highest point. Again, catch the ball with your hands, not the body.
  • Look the ball in all the way to the body to ensure the ball is caught first.
  • As the ball is coming to you, look directly at the point of the spinning ball to catch it.
  • Hand placement => you’re going to have to visualize this ==> if the ball is coming in to the chest level or higher, then use the “4-prong method” (this is what our coaches called it so don’t kill the messenger here), which means to extend out the arms and with palms out and fingers extended and spread as much as possible, the touch both the index fingers and thumbs and spot the ball through the target hole between the index fingers and thumbs. Coincidingly, if the ball is coming in below the chest level, then switch your hands to “scoop” the ball out of the air with the pinkies touching.
  • Attempting to catch the ball with one hand EVER and for ANY REASON is really REALLY frowned upon, unless the defender is pulling your other arm, which is a penalty anyway (if called)
  • Fight the defender for the catch/ball and DO NOT ALLOW him to pull it out of your hands.
  • If the ball is errant in the air then ADJUST TO THE BALL to catch it.
  • Run perfectly timed routes per the play to ensure perfect timing in the predetermined progression of the QB so you will meet the ball at the spot on the field that the QB is going to throw it. HOWEVER, if the defense forces the QB/offense off schedule and he has to scramble with the ball, THEN, if your designated route on that play was to go long, instead come shallow, and if your designated route on that play was to go shallow, then instead, go long.
  • Always use soft hands and CUSHION the ball on the catch as you bring it in to absorb the energy of the pass.
  • On Routes, used chop steps, while pumping the arms, to stop and change direction…this keeps the route tight and on schedule, and allows for fast and slow movements to happen on specified routes or to shake defenders

This is all I could think of for now, so, again, if anyone who has played this position and learned from real coaches how to catch footballs, then please add to it or suggest changes, it’s been more than 35 years since I first strapped on a helmet, so I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot.

Bottom line here is that DK doesn’t really do any of these key basics of the position and really never has. Just because he’s fast as hell, and strong, and catches the ball once in a while using bad form, that alone doesn’t make him a great WR. IF he actually applied these basics, just like every other WR who has ever played the game (that I know of), then as good as his game might seem now, well, imagine how unbeatable he’d (we’d) be if he only did the small stuff, right?

And just so that people don’t think this is a personal thing with me, look, there’s a reason why his own peers of the game didn’t choose him to be a top 100 player in the league, and this really is the reason.

Why the coaches, especially Shane Waldren (it’s not really Pete Carroll’s job as HC to teach DK the BASICS of playing WR), aren’t forcing this stuff, I don’t know, but I’m personally at my end of it and because he doesn’t seem to want to change his ways, it’s really just hurting the team, organization, and us fans.

Football discussions only please.

By the way, my teenage years and playing days were in the 80s, so I really did study and learn from the best to ever do it…just really lucky, I guess (see pic)