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Week 17: Packers at Bares


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There's a pretty noticeable difference between guys who have natural "hands" and guys who've been taught to catch.  Guys who catch naturally actually catch with their whole body, using body control, timing, eye placement, etc. all together to soften the impact as the ball comes in.  If you watch Davante catch that absolutely absurd shot downfield against the Eagles, beyond the incredible discipline and late hands you see that he falls backward at the same time as the ball arrives, even before he takes a hit.  It gives him a fair amount more time to react to the ball hitting his hands, because the pressure doesn't need to come more or less the same microsecond the ball arrives.  Everything he's doing increases the window he has to secure the catch.

Now Tae is one of the best to ever do it, so it's a bit of an unfair comparison, but it's not my fault they play on the same team.  Looking at MVS, he's clearly put a lot of work into his ability to find the ball and secure it, but it's learned movement not natural.  On his TD catch against the Bears, he does a nice job catching it with his hands at eye level, but he also stops the ball dead and pulls it straight to his chest.  There's no one in front of him, no contact to avoid, so why does he not cushion the ball by letting his hands continue with its path?  It's a catch here, but it puts unnecessary pressure on him.  On his drop, he forgoes the better but tougher hands catch by throttling down a step and trying to catch it in a low basket, but he doesn't even commit to that.  He tries to make the basket catch both in stride but still by curling his body around it, and the result is he's not sure where the ball is as he goes to squeeze it.  If he had simply gone to the ground he almost certainly makes this catch - sure he gives up the TD, but if he wanted that he should have kept speed across and caught it high.  

These are split second micro-decisions that are engrained through a combination of practice and some level of natural instinct.  I do think you can make up for a lack of natural instinct with enough practice.  There's nothing mystical about the concept of increasing your impulse on the ball (grip strength is pretty much a constant, so it's all about increasing the time your hands are making contact), but it's a tougher mindset because you're training to ignore and override your natural instincts rather than work with them.  MVS more or less needs to practice and then attempt repeatedly every kind of catching motion he may need to make, and do it enough that the practiced motion is automatic.  He seems like a hard enough worker that if he sticks around long enough with enough reps that I think he has a chance at it.

Edited by MrBobGray
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4 hours ago, Pugger said:

Another thing MVS does is he doesn't look the ball in.  Sterling Sharpe always said if you don't look the ball in and catch it before you begin to get YACs you're gonna drop it more often than not.

Oh for sure, Pugger. His head seemed right on the big drop, though. Hard to say about his eyes in that moment. A human brain doesn’t actually “see” continuously. It combines discrete, episodic flashes of light and color with similarly episodic— though not necessarily synchronized—bursts of cognitive processing that ultimately seem fluid and uninterrupted to our minds. Surely you’ve seen the spokes of a wheel appear to be spinning backward? That is the processed result of the episodic physical input. Consciously we know the wheel moves forward. Though our perceptions process the rapid movement as best it can, the repeated lagging suggests the wheel spokes are moving backward.

The brain can train itself to process visual information more quickly when called upon to do so. This explains Christian Yelich being able to hit a 98 mph fastball. His brain may process an additional two or three episodic images compared to a less skilled player, allowing his brain to predict the position of the pitch as it reaches the plate and his bat.

You suggest one plausible explanation—MVS took his eye off the ball, breaking the perceptual train of visual input. Another explanation is that he is deficient in the hand and eye coordination required to be an NFL receiver. But he does catch the ball really well sometimes. Honestly, I do believe the pressure of the game can be too big for him at times.  Good habits of thought and attention can veer off into doubt and fear of failure, interrupting the essential cognitive flow that underlies the catching process. He gets the yips. And he damn well better stop or he’s in the last 24 months of his career.

No pressure.

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7 hours ago, Uffdaswede said:

Oh for sure, Pugger. His head seemed right on the big drop, though. Hard to say about his eyes in that moment. A human brain doesn’t actually “see” continuously. It combines discrete, episodic flashes of light and color with similarly episodic— though not necessarily synchronized—bursts of cognitive processing that ultimately seem fluid and uninterrupted to our minds. Surely you’ve seen the spokes of a wheel appear to be spinning backward? That is the processed result of the episodic physical input. Consciously we know the wheel moves forward. Though our perceptions process the rapid movement as best it can, the repeated lagging suggests the wheel spokes are moving backward.

The brain can train itself to process visual information more quickly when called upon to do so. This explains Christian Yelich being able to hit a 98 mph fastball. His brain may process an additional two or three episodic images compared to a less skilled player, allowing his brain to predict the position of the pitch as it reaches the plate and his bat.

You suggest one plausible explanation—MVS took his eye off the ball, breaking the perceptual train of visual input. Another explanation is that he is deficient in the hand and eye coordination required to be an NFL receiver. But he does catch the ball really well sometimes. Honestly, I do believe the pressure of the game can be too big for him at times.  Good habits of thought and attention can veer off into doubt and fear of failure, interrupting the essential cognitive flow that underlies the catching process. He gets the yips. And he damn well better stop or he’s in the last 24 months of his career.

No pressure.

I"ve seen other top NFL WRs sometimes not look it in and drop the pass because they are thinking of where they are going to go before the ball is secure so it isn't just him.  In the SB in 2010 Jordy did this a few times.  James Jones was notorious for this early in his career as was Davante.  In Adams' first couple of years a lot of us were ready to ship his tail out of town.  I doubt MVS will ever be the elite WR Adams is today.  Will MVS become more consistent like Jordy and Jones did?  Hopefully with coaching and experience he will.

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