NFP: Rookie Guidelines for a Final Impression

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Lanky Livingston

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Pretty interesting article from Matt Bowen of the National Football Post on what coaches are looking for.
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For most rookies (outside of the top draft picks), tonight is one of the biggest games they will ever play in. For starters, it is their final audition to make the club, see their locker on Monday and join that opening day roster. In addition, it is one final chance to get on tape. The same tapes that are passed around to every pro scouting department in the league. In reality, you are playing for the entire NFL tonight. A big audition. With game checks on the line.

The starters will play a series or two and then shut it down. The rookies will then help finish out the last preseason game before final cuts are made.

I’ve been there as a sixth-round rookie for the St. Louis Rams in the 2000 season. Final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys in the heat of Texas Stadium on the old turf. Played the entire game — as well as all four core special teams. Threw up twice, got to line up against Troy Aikman and also received a $5,000 fine for hitting Dallas RB Chris Warren out of bounds. It was all worth it not to get a phone call over the weekend from head coach Mike Martz asking me to come in — with my playbook.

For tonight, think like a coach, a GM and a scout — and focus on these six key areas. Who do you cut? Who do you keep? This is what they are looking for...

Kickoff coverage

Special teams coaches in the NFL have more say than any coach on the staff when it comes to cut day. They control the fate of the entire roster. That’s why we want to see who makes the big hit tonight, who is in on the tackles and who can blow up blockers on their path to the football. Kickoff coverage is the most important aspect of any football team in this league — bigger than both offense and defense. And, coaches want players who will sacrifice their bodies to sell out and make a play.

Turnovers

A killer tonight. As a RB or a WR, don’t put the ball on the ground. Coaches can’t live with it because they lose games in the regular season. If you fumble the ball, you will not make the cut. Forget that extra yard, because ball security is what coaches are looking for. And, as a QB, if you throw picks, you are telling the coaching staff that they can’t trust you in a game that has meaning in the standings.

Deep balls

If you play in the secondary, you can’t give up the deep ball. That gets you beat in the regular season and sends you home in the post season. For tonight, it gets you fired. Coaches want to see their defensive backs challenge receivers and drive downhill on the football, but don’t get beat on a double move at the CB position or over the top as a Cover 2 safety. You give up the deep ball tonight and there won’t be a locker for you on Monday.

Click link for rest of article.
 

Jimbo

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Great article! Some of the stuff is a no-brainer but it helps young players to have a checklist like this. One of my sons just started playing 8th Grade football. I'm gonna show him this. Hopefully it will help him going forward into high school.
 

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