A second round pick out of LSU, Jarvis Landry has been turning heads in his first season in the NFL. When he was drafted, many had called it a solid pick but noted that he may take a year or two to get adjusted to the game. In addition, some had talked about the fact that there were better receivers ahead of him, including some that weren't even drafted yet.
57 receptions, 518 yards and 5 touchdowns later, the tune has changed for many and Landry is quickly becoming one of the best rookie receivers in the NFL. Joe Philbin recalls watching tape on Landry with general manager Dennis Hickey, noting that he jumped out at him with his play-making skills, his intangibles and so much more.
“He was tough. He was competitive on tape. He appeared to be fearless on tape. He would go across the middle and compete for balls. It didn’t matter if it was a linebacker, safety or corner covering him. I think his competitive nature is was what really stood out and he had, we thought, outstanding hands.”
One game that reallly caught Philbin's eye was the one against Georgia. In that game, Landry had 10 catches for a whopping 156 yards and 1 touchdown, averaging 15.6 yards per reception.
“I think the Georgia game he had a lot of production. I wouldn’t quote me on that. You’d have to probably go back and look at it. There were a couple of plays that stick out in my mind, (but) the opponent doesn’t necessarily, I think it might have been Georgia, I wouldn’t swear to it.”
It didn't take long for Landry to start making an impact and gain the trust of his coaches here in Miami. Philbin said that from the day they started playing, the energy Landry brought to the football team was something that couldn't be understated.
"We saw that right away I think in the first preseason game. It’s not that he’s been perfect. There has been some things he needs to develop and improve and get better at. Really since the first game we’ve played, we kind of use that term ‘football player.’ I throw that around sometimes and I think that applies to him. I think he’s kind of a football player.”
Over the past several weeks and especially on Monday, Landry has seen his snap count increase and has taken advantage of every opportunity that has been given to him. Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor said that part of this is because defenses have been doubling up on the outside a lot more.
“I think it’s a number of things. One of the things that happened [on Monday] when Brian (Hartline) came out, I think we do a decent job of rotating the receivers so that they are all fresh because we think they can all contribute. When Brian came out that changed a little bit of the rotation, so Jarvis probably stayed a little bit more in there. Some of it was what they were doing and giving us. Some of it was just what we call. Some of it is planned targets to him. I thought they did a nice job of doubling on the outside more than we had seen from some other people, and when that happens you have to go inside with the ball, so that happened.”
Jarvis Landry admitted that he didn't come in with any expectations his rookie season, saying that he just wanted to play the game, live within the game and help the team get better any way possible.
“In college, you go from being the guy at your high school, or even in your town, period. To being around a bunch of five-star recruits, guys who have been there and played before. I was fortunate enough to play with a couple of first round draft picks. At that point, it’s hard to base any success if you never really know. I think, in college, it was the same approach that I have now, which is to go out and show people that I can make plays," he said. "“I feel like, for me, my thing was always based off of the confidence that I have. It makes no sense to put pressure on myself or anything, but just trust in my ability, knowing that I was going to do things, knowing that I was going to make plays, just letting it happen. I guess that was the expectation. I expect do it, but it’s going to happened regardless."
Landry said he has heard back from his supporters back home and they've told him that they always knew he could make it in the NFL and be successful. He did joke though that they also have told him that he can't dance and should probably stop doing it on the football field. Landry's response? He's working on something to quiet them.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs
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