Sep 21, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Arthur Lynch (88) runs with the ball after a catch against the North Texas Mean Green during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated North Texas 45-21. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins 5th round pick, Arthur Lynch spent yesterday doing rehab work on a not-so-serious undisclosed injury. He needs to be on the field if he wants to impact the 2014 season or jump over Michael Egnew as the number two TE or Dion Sims as the third. Lynch is built in the mold of former Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano. A great blocker but only a mid-range threat WR. If he wants to make that aforementioned impact, he needs to get the reps when contact isn’t allowed.
TE’s are used to be knocked around so contact won’t make a difference in the youngsters game. What Lynch needs to work on is polishing his routes. Reading defensive schemes. Working on making the defender think he is going one way while going the other. He needs to work on using his body to shield defenders off of him. Those are all things he can do now while contact is non-existent. Once the pads go on, the finesse of his position becomes physical and more about catching the ball.
It’s a process. I used to find that coaching TE’s when the pads were off was much easier than when the pads were on. Technique could be honed much easier and repetition made it become second nature. Route running was a simplified process where if the CB or LB does this, you do that. If they do that then you do this. Backpedal off the line and then break into a route is not just about selling the physical contact to the defender. It’s about keeping your feet moving and selling the play with your reactions and movement.
Lynch has the tools and physical ability to become a steal in round five. He has more potential to be a long term answer at TE than both Egnew and Sims but make no mistake he is raw and his game has some hiccups. If it didn’t he would have been drafted much much higher.
I don’t put a lot of stock into non-contact practices simply because there is no contact. It’s not really real. It’s like pre-season games. They have no real baring on the season itself. To me RB’s need the contact, WR’s need the bump, run, and jams at the line. Defenders need to hit someone and offensive lineman need to block someone mano y mano. For CB’s and safeties it’s about position and hip turning and breaks on the ball while WR’s work on the timing with the QB. TE’s need the physical line play too but once the pads come on the middle of the field is a minefield.
It’s for this reason that TE’s need to work on their games when contact is off. For Lynch it could make a difference from practice squad to 53 man roster. Lynch needs to prove that the media pundits and draft nicks are wrong. That there is more to him than a good blocking TE. He needs to prove that he can catch in traffic, run the seam, and develop the timing with the QB. His best chances to do that are now. Hopefully he will get back on the field soon enough to work those issues out.