- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Guys who drop passes tend to downplay it. That approach may help them, as it's supposed to be in their nature to expect to catch the next one.
Jaguars right end Marcedes Lewis drops passes. And he's not in denial.
Here are last year's drop numbers from Elias, the league's official statisticians. (Thanks to Pete Newmann at ESPN Stats & Information for getting this for me.)
Lewis dropped more passes than any other tight end in the NFL.
"A lot goes into it," he said following an early June OTA session. "Timing. Being on different pages. Of course I was disappointed. When I drop a ball, it's because I am looking and trying to run first. It's one of those things I've got to focus on. Right now, my focus is catching the ball first, running second. You've got to crawl before you walk. I haven't dropped a ball all camp."
Dirk Koetter was head coach at Arizona State while Lewis played at UCLA. Now the Jaguars offensive coordinator, Koetter said in college Lewis was regarded as a pass catcher and not at all as a blocker. But now Koetter said Lewis rates as one of the league's best blocking tight ends.
That's admirable, but the Jaguars need more.
I believe to get the sort of big plays they have lacked, the Jaguars will need significant yards after the catch because David Garrard isn't the most accurate quarterback with the deep pass. Lewis is a guy that should be able to run after the catch, provided he can make the catch.
Koetter said there are certain throws Lewis gets a better read on than others, and that plays into the drops.
"Overall, total body of work, Marcedes make more one-handed, spectacular catches than anybody we have," Koetter said. "He is better when he's on the move and can see the flight of the ball the whole way, coming out of Dave's hand. I think he needs to continue to work on routes where he has to go down and break in and out and lose sight of Dave and then pick the ball up in the air. I think that's one of the easiest things to correct, that's one thing you can correct."
That is some quality stuff there, and we should all be on the lookout to see if Lewis continues to do better with passes where he's locked in on Garrard for the whole route as opposed to those where he has to find the quarterback and the ball.
Koetter sounds determined to get the 6-foot-6, 275-pound tight end more involved in the passing offense. With only one truly proven receiver on the roster in Torry Holt, Lewis can help relieve pressure on Mike Walker, Troy Williamson and the three draft picks.
"Now, we need to get his involvement in the passing game on par with that blocking," Koetter said. "I don't think Marcedes and Dave [Garrard] have ever really bonded, if that's the right word. It's not that they don't like each other, they are both great guys. But I just don't think they've ever had the right chemistry to play the game through each other's eyes...."
"We're trying to push the envelope by purposely looking for things on the script where Marcedes gets more involved. As players, those two have got to do a better job of not just saying, 'Well I thought he was going to do this' and 'I thought he was going to do that.' This guy can win [matchups], and we've got to be on the same page to get him the ball."