Why Jerry Jeudy's NFL debut was "just not Jerry Jeudy"

Zac Stevens Avatar
September 16, 2020

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Jerry Jeudy’s NFL debut didn’t go exactly the way he had planned. When Courtland Sutton was ruled out just hours before kickoff, the stage was set for Denver’s first-round pick to shine in front of the entire nation on primetime Monday Night Football.

But then he dropped a third-down pass in the first quarter.

And then he dropped a pass on what would have been a big gain in the fourth quarter.

“It was two critical drops — one on third down and one that could have changed the momentum of the game,” Jeudy said on Wednesday, owning his mistakes. “I failed my team on those two plays.”

While Jeudy’s confidence didn’t appear to be shaken 36 hours after his debut, one thing that was certain was his quarterback’s confidence in him hadn’t wavered one iota.

“See the thing is, that’s not a Jerry Jeudy thing to happen,” Drew Lock said firmly. “And he’ll say the same thing. Those were unacceptable to him and to me. It’s nothing that we should really take our time on more than we already have addressed it. We talked about it. He apologized. He was upset. He was hurt.

“That would be like missing layups in basketball. Yeah, okay I missed a couple and that’s just not going to happen again. You don’t go address a guy about missing layups. It’s not a thing you do,” Lock continued, passionately defending his receiver. “And that’s not a thing we would overly address with Jeudy. Yeah, he made some drops, but let’s go out here next week and keep getting better. That’s just not Jerry Jeudy. That’s not a Jerry Jeudy thing to do.”

Jeudy agreed with his quarterback, stating, “those are the plays I make usually,” but adding “drops happen.” On those two plays, the rookie dropped the ball because he took his eyes off the ball.

“I was too focused on running than catching the ball,” Jeudy explained. “I took my eyes off the ball and dropped it.”

On both passes, Jeudy had room in front of him to make something happen after the catch. His focus was on making a play instead of catching the ball.

“Got to come back and go out here and practice and really focus on catching the ball and focus on the little details of catching the ball to help me,” Jeudy said, explaining what he’ll be focusing on in practice this week to help eliminate the drops. “I just got to be a little more relaxed and focused on the little details of doing things. Making sure that I catch the ball first before I run, instead of running before the catch.”

Going back to the fundamentals is something Jeudy believes will help him in the long run.

“Those two drops probably helped me not drop passes for the whole season,” he added.

On Wednesday, Jeudy owned the two crucial mistakes he made in his NFL debut. But he wanted to make one thing very clear.

“Two dropped passes made it seem like I was nervous, but that wasn’t the case. It was just not really concentrating on the ball, trying to make a play after the catch. It doesn’t really mess up my mind,” the 21-year old said, insisting he wasn’t nervous for his first game in the NFL. “There was never jitters. It wasn’t because it was my first game… I’ve been doing this my whole life. To people, I’m a rookie. You probably think I’m nervous with jitters, but I’m ready for the next game. I’m off to the next game.”

Outside of the two drops, Jeudy believed he had a great first game in the NFL. He was proud of the separation he created and the number of times he was open. Heck, even with the drops, in his first game in the NFL he still finished with the second-most catches and receiving yards on the team, only training Noah Fant.

Yet, in 20 years from now, despite playing in front of an empty stadium in a game that went down to the wire, what will Jeudy remember about this NFL debut?

“Two drops,” Jeudy simply stated.

Jeudy believes those two drops will define his NFL debut because he doesn’t expect that to happen many more throughout the rest of his career, if ever again.

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