Jerry Jeudy’s performance last week in which he dropped five passes has made some in Broncos Country seriously doubt his credentials. Natural talent can be squandered when it doesn’t meet with the proper levels of dedication to the game or craft.
The Denver Broncos’ rookie first-round wideout has talents too prodigious to fail. Amid the myriad of challenges that have confronted the Broncos, the season-ending knee injury to No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton has to be ranked at the top, or runner up, on the team’s list of misfortunes.
In Sutton’s absence, third-year wideout Tim Patrick, a former undrafted rookie, has stepped in to bridge the gap. Patrick’s career year has seen him catch 49 passes for 696 yards and a team-high six receiving touchdowns.
Patrick has positioned himself nicely for a pay-bump as he enters the offseason as a restricted free agent. In the wake of Jeudy’s butterfingers, the rookie would be wise to take note of just how personally Patrick takes it when he lets one get away from him.
“You have your drop—have that moment where you’re mad and frustrated about it because it’s obviously not something you want to happen,” Patrick explained. “So, don’t act like it’s just cool and everything, because it’s not.”
Don’t take that to mean that Patrick hasn’t been supportive of his slumping rookie teammate. He’s done his duty to be the hype man and try to encourage Jeudy.
“I just let him know, ‘Like man, you’re Jerry Jeudy at the end of the day.’ I let him know he’s probably one of the best route running guys I’ve ever seen before,” Patrick said. “The talent he has, and I think sometimes you just have to remind yourself who you truly are.”
Patrick had a trick up his sleeve to help his younger teammates get in the right Alpha headspace for gameday. It’s probably come in handy for Jeudy amid the slump.
“I told guys throughout the whole year, sometimes before a game, ‘I know stuff hasn’t been going our way all year, go back and watch your old highlight tapes. Just remind yourself who you are. Nobody can be you better than you, so just be yourself and just at the end of the day you have to be your biggest fan.’ I just do a little hyping up there,” Patrick revealed.
Patrick is predicting big things next season, but a lot will depend on Jeudy getting over his virulent case of the ‘dropsies’, and that will boil down to hard work and dedication as displayed by Patrick throughout 2020. But a big part of that is mastering whatever is going on between Jeudy’s ears.
“I just told him sometimes you just got to look the ball all the way in and he said he was, so it’s just a thing that’s in the head now at this point,” Patrick said. “The only thing that’s going to fix it is him going out there and making plays. I don’t think nothing somebody says to him or anything he does as practice is going to help. I think he literally has to go out there and make a big play in the game and he’ll forget that.”
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Patrick is extremely bullish on the potential of the Broncos’ receiving corps once they’re all healthy and on the field again together next season.
“I feel like we could be unstoppable,” Patrick said. “We showed it this year and we were missing out biggest part of our receiving corps. Just bringing Courtland back, I don’t think there’s no such thing as double-teaming us because I feel like we can all break out of any game and teams are going to have to play us straight up and it’s going to be very, very, very hard to stop us.”
The potential of the unit moving forward is exciting, and with Patrick growing in confidence during 2020, he figures to be a major part of the game plan should the Broncos front office accommodate him. Patrick knows that Sutton’s unfortunate injury afforded him the chance for more playing time.
But moving up the depth chart to be the X-receiver in Sutton’s stead, ahead of even Jeudy, boiled down to having the right attitude.
“Definitely opportunity plays a big part, but just my mentality coming into this year, “ Patrick explained. “After going into my second year, you just build more confidence the more you play. I got put in a situation where I was able to play a lot more, so I was able to learn a lot more. My whole mindset – I had a routine this year that I stuck to the whole year and I think that’s a big part of some of my successes this year too.”
Patrick’s practice routine has been old school, with the traditional jugs machine give way to Mark Thewes’ (Broncos’ Vice President of Football Operations & Compliance) more organic passes. Thewes has thrown with Patrick every day after practice, as many as 100 balls.
Patrick feels the random placement of the ball from a human arm gives him more authentic game-type conditions to best sharpen his receiving skills.
“I just know that’s how my mind works because in the game you never know where the ball is going to be,” Patrick said. “It’s going to be a surprise and you just have to react to it, and it’s the same way when I’m getting catches with him. He’s not perfect, so like, sometimes they’re going to be bad balls and I have to react to it. I feel like it’s been helping me so far this year.”