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Jun. 19—Diontae Johnson purchased a tennis ball computing device within the offseason. It wasn’t so he might enhance his volley or sharpen his backhand.
After leading the NFL in drops remaining season, the young Pittsburgh Steelers extensive receiver bought the computing device so he may enrich his attention and hand-eye coordination.
“it be a smaller goal so you need to definitely focus on the ball and the object coming at you,” Johnson mentioned this past week on the team’s minicamp. “that’s what i’ve been honing on to. Now, when I seize the soccer it be convenient.
“it’s at all times been effortless to me, however it’s protecting that focus and that self assurance.”
each qualities had been shaken within the 2nd half of remaining season and even resulted in Johnson being benched for the last 25 minutes of the first half in a December video game at Buffalo. Regardless of improving upon his rookie numbers and main the Steelers with 923 receiving yards on 88 catches, it became the variety of drops amongst his team-high one hundred forty four objectives that gnawed at Johnson.
Calculating a drop is an inexact undertaking, which is why it is a subjective and unofficial statistic. Sports information solutions estimated that Johnson dropped 16 passes. Pro football Reference pegged the quantity at 13. Different capabilities decreased the quantity to 10.
No depend, it changed into too many for Johnson and the Steelers to accept.
“It was simply center of attention,” mentioned Johnson, who additionally had a group-excessive six drops in 2019 as a rookie. “just taking my eye off the ball that one split 2d. Drop the ball correct there and it goes in the lower back of your mind and also you invariably suppose about stuff like that. That is the leading element — center of attention and making sure you seem to be at the ball all of the approach in before you run. Center of attention on the trap first, run 2d.”
Too commonly it changed into the other way round, in particular on the quick passes from Ben Roethlisberger. Activities data solutions calculated that 14 of Johnson’s 16 drops had been on passes inside 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
The challenge, besides the fact that children, wasn’t singular to Johnson. One stat service estimated the Steelers at the same time accounted for 30 dropped passes, second-most in the NFL. Tight end Eric Ebron had seven drops, and rookie receiver Chase Claypool totaled six.
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“Drops are a part of the video game, but surely we had too many balls on the floor,” stated Ike Hilliard, who’s getting into his 2d year as Steelers large receivers instruct. “it be been mentioned, and our group understands and knows we should do a far better job of no longer inserting the ball on the ground. Work at it day by day and be cognizant of limiting drops as we go forward into the season.”
The errors had been magnified in a 23-17 loss to Washington, the primary for the Steelers following an eleven-0 beginning. Johnson accounted for three of the drops, prompting instruct Mike Tomlin to declare: “they can catch the ball or they can get changed with the aid of those that will catch it.”
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