Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon hasn't made quite the impact most expected after the preseason, but it's still a learning process.
Justin Blackmon has been targeted 37 times through six games, but has just 14 catches for 126 yards and no touchdowns. Some of his lack of production has been on errant throws by the quarterback, but some have also been because of Blackmon dropping the football, running the wrong route, or running a bad route.
On Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, there were a couple of plays where Blackmon looked a bit lost and another couple of plays where he didn't have his head turned around to look for the football when he needed to.
"One, Justin has to get his head turned around quickly, and he might have been a yard deep on [his route]," Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey said on Monday about the 4th-and-1 play, where Blackmon was open but not looking back at the quarterback. "The second one, unfortunately growing pains in terms of a young receiver and trying to work him inside on some of those routes. But the ball still should have been completed."
The coaching staff isn't down on Blackmon however, as they shouldn't be, because rookie wide receivers typically come with growing pains.
"He did some things that maybe don't show," Mularkey said. "But will eventually if he continues on that same kind of path."
There have been times Blackmon has been open on his routes and the quarterback has missed him, but there are also way too many times that Blackmon struggles to separate at all and just doesn't seem to get open. Blackmon lacks the top-end speed most team's look for from a top flight wide receiver, and he doesn't appear as physically dominant as he was at Oklahoma State, but with time and hard work his route running should improve, which should assist him in getting open.
As should have been expected, the rookie wide receiver simply looks like a rookie so far.