Pittsburgh Steelers rookie first-round safety Terrell Edmunds was made to look bad on two passes inside the red zone on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers, surrendering touchdowns on both plays, first to established Pro Bowlers and then to a pair of relative no-name novices.
In reality, however, in neither case was there much that he could do to change the outcomes of those plays, given the manner and placement of the throw and the performance of the receiver—tight ends in both instances—securing the ball at a high point that was out of reach of the defender.
The first one came on a pass thrown by former league MVP Aaron Rodgers and delivered to Jimmy Graham, regularly recognized as one of the very best receiving tight ends in the NFL alongside the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) August 17, 2018
The second pass was thrown by DeShone Kizer, who went winless as the primary starter for the Cleveland Browns last year, and was caught by Robert Tonyan, a tight end who stands a pretty good chance of not being able to make the Packers’ roster behind Graham, Marcedes Lewis, and Lance Kendricks.
Edmunds isn’t beating himself up over either one, though. And he shouldn’t. “It definitely doesn’t get me down”, he told the team’s website.
“At the end of the day I still know the type of guy I am. I know that I can play in this league. At the same time, regardless if I would have made the play or not made the play, you still can find small things you can work on because no play is perfect”.
While true that there is little he could have done on either play that would have resulted in them not producing six points, there are things that he knows that he could have played differently that would have put him in a better position to have a shot at stopping it.
“I had great technique on it; throw and catch”, he said of the second pass to Tonyan. “Gotta go out there and just try to work on getting the ball out of his hands”. He said that it is important to “go out there and learn from every play”, which is the exact right attitude to have.
Edmunds is going to play, make no mistake about that. He is also going to make rookie mistakes that are going to draw the ire of a malcontent fanbase that offers no quarter for a learning curve or anything of the kind.
But he’s also going to make plays, and he has shown that sort of potential, both during training camp and in the first two preseason games. He even forced a fumble on special teams that should not be ignored as a translatable skill. Don’t get too down on him for giving up a couple of meaningless touchdowns.