The broadcast angle kind of cut out what happened at the top of your route. Did the linebacker get his feet tangled or did you break at the right time, or what happened there to the guy with inside leverage? Did he go to jam you and fall?
“Yeah, exactly. I think if I remember correctly what happened was I pushed upfield and made an inside move and kind of broke him off a little bit and took it underneath.”
For you, what’s different about going against a linebacker in space versus a defensive back?
“Those guys are usually nontraditional cover guys. They’re on their toes more; they’re looking to come downhill, so they’re obviously not as fast. They’re a little more physical but their hips aren’t as loose so it’s a little easier definitely in man coverage.”
Once you make the break, at what point do you know the ball’s coming your way?
“Well, we’re taught as soon as you make the break, get your eyes around. So it came right at me and I kind of had a feeling that I was open so I got my head turned around right away and it was just right there. It was already in the air and it was a perfectly-timed ball by Wilton.”
What led to the decision to keep running toward the sideline instead of turning upfield? Could you feel that bunch of DBs that were back there or were you just going?
“Yeah. When I caught it and turned my head upfield I could see some white jerseys in my peripheral and I knew that they were just going to try to edge me out to the boundary, so I just kept going upfield and Ty got a nice block that I was able to get around and take it to the sidelines.”
Is Ty being there and knowing that you have him on the outside influencing your decision to run that direction, knowing that he can block for you and give you some space?
“Yeah, definitely once I saw his leverage on the defender and saw that his back was to the sideline, I knew he was going to keep him out and I just took it right off his butt.”
Once you get near the sideline and those guys all start to bear down on you, can you see them in your peripheral and feel that or are you just going up the sideline and whatever happens happens?
“You can definitely feel those guys, and there were a bunch of them on that play, too.” [laughs] “I could definitely see that and knew they were closing in pretty fast.”
What helps you most being a former quarterback as a tight end?
“I’d say just being familiar with identifying defenses and the coverages and things of that nature and understanding matchups; like we talked about, tight ends and linebackers and things like that.”
As a tight end, where do you think you’ve made the biggest strides purely in receiving?
“I’d say overall just route running, getting in and out of breaks and my routes. Catching the ball was something that always came a little naturally to me but just working at that.”