Pat Freiermuth made his NFL debut Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. And he admitted he received his “welcome to the NFL” moment on his inaugural snap, getting called for holding against DE Derek Barnett.
In a quick film room today, I want to revisit that play and more importantly, the same one run later in the first quarter. And how Freiermuth changed his technique and corrected the issue.
But first, here’s the failure. Freiermuth is the backside cutoff block on this run. But he’s not able to cross Barnett’s face, his base gets narrow and he’s forklifted to the ground. Desperate, he grabs on to Barnett’s shoulder pad and yanks him down. It’s an obvious hold and the refs don’t miss it.
He is #88 on the left side of this clip.
The Steelers run the same pin/pull scheme later in the first quarter. And again, Freiermuth is the backside cutoff player. Instead of trying to cross his face, Freiermuth opts to cut block him and take out the defender’s legs. It’s much more successful and takes the defensive lineman out of the play.
No other differences here. A drop step initially to set his hips, driving off with his outside foot. He just rolls into the cut block instead of staying of his feet. And a nice job of getting your nose dirty, sacrificing your body against a bigger man to make the play.
It’s a small thing and I’m not going to pretend this is the greatest block in the world. He’s just doing his job. But that’s the point. It’s always interesting to see how rookies respond when they make mistakes and when they’re given the same chance later in the same game. Freiermuth adjusted, probably with the help of TEs Coach Alfredo Roberts, and used a more effective technique to get the job done.
Overall, Freiermuth’s debut was pretty quiet, catching one pass for six yards. But I like to see him adjust here. Making a mistake is fine. It happens to everyone, especially rookies in their first game and very first snap in the NFL. He didn’t make the same mistake twice, a really positive sign for his development and ability to correct mistakes. That’s as important as any physical trait you can have.