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Social media is making life tougher for NFL rookies.
Any mistake that surfaces from OTAs or in-season practices gives rookies trepidation to never slip up. Or else.
One guy that recently saw a swell of criticism from his first week of OTAs is new Titans quarterback Will Levis.
Despite already facing a tough journey after a brutal first round of the NFL Draft — where Levis waited for ages to get picked, settling for a second-round selection — the criticism against Levis piles on as more footage from his OTAs surfaces.
J.J. Watt Stands Up For NFL Rookies
Yes, Levis should be playing better … but which NFL player is mistake-free? None.
(Posted for educational purposes.)
Newly retired J.J. Watt, who dominated offensive lines for 12 years, is speaking up to defend rookies in the age of social media.
Without directly naming Levis or other NFL rooks, Watt spoke up to defend the 2023 class for all the critiques they’ve faced just based on social media. Watt said that rookies aren’t allowed to mess up anymore.
Here’s what Watt had to say:
Rookie has rough practice in his first week of OTAs.’ Yeah, that’s called being a rookie. It’s called first week of OTAs. I had rough practices every single year in my 12 years. I’ve had rough games. I’ve had multiple rough games. S–t’s hard. It’s the National Football League.
This is part of the reason why it’s tough for guys to develop. Because we’re judging everybody on every single individual rep every single day,” he continued. “We’re posting videos online of practice reps and guys working on their craft and guys trying to do new things. It’s one of the reasons that guys are scared to try a new pass-rush move in one-on-ones in practice, which is when you should be working on your pass-rush moves, because they’re scared that somebody’s going to film it and put it online, and because they got blocked, now they look like an idiot. Let guys develop. Let guys grow.
I understand, this is a business. We’re paid millions of dollars, and you expect greatness right out of the gate out of every single guy, and you’re going to say, ‘Suck it up and deal with it.’ But let’s let guys develop. Let’s let guys get some practices under their belt. Let’s let guys get into the league. Let’s let them grow as a player. Let’s let them get some NFL coaching. We don’t need to be sh—ing all over guys on their first week of practice in the National Football League. Just let them grow.
Watt makes a strong point. With social media more reactionary than ever, rookies are under a microscope by defenders and critics. Not everything from OTAs is noteworthy… but the NFL media has to eat.
Is Watt right or wrong about the NFL media?