NFL update: Justin Blackmon finally has his breakout performance
By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
It’s been a rocky rookie season for Justin Blackmon. And that’s putting it lightly.
Legal issues popped up soon after the draft, contract negations spilled well into training camp and on-field production has been at a minimum.
Through nine games, the former OSU star had 26 catches for 250 yards and one garbage-time touchdown, not producing near the level expected from the fifth overall pick (and first wide receiver taken).
Blackmon was playing on a bad team, with a bad offense, led by a bad quarterback. And, fair or unfair, his effort and ability were being thrown into question.
“(Blackmon has) really hurt Gabbert,” one scout told NFL.com last week. ”I’m not sure his speed, or lack thereof, translates to the pro game — he can’t beat press man coverage. He’s just not explosive or quick enough.”
Oh what a difference one week can make.
Effort, ability, speed and explosiveness weren’t a question for Blackmon on Sunday.
Facing 9-1 Houston, one of the league’s best defensive clubs, Blackmon caught seven passes for 236 yards and an incredible 81-yard touchdown, nearly doubling his nine-game output in one explosive effort.
“Every press conference I’ve had in the last five weeks I’ve talked about his preparation, how he practices and how he’s taking another step in each game,’’ Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey told reporters after the game. “Whether it shows up on statistics with all the things everybody looks at, there’s a lot of things that go in watching a guy develop. He has gotten better and better and better every week and today was good for him and good for our team to see that. I’m sure it will carry over.’’
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