A day after suffering a tough loss on the road to the Cleveland Browns, Cam Heyward jumped on the podcast Not Just Football with Cam Heyward to talk about Thursday night’s game and addressed the topic of the defense being tired after playing a ton of snaps the first two weeks, as well as his thoughts on the offense and if he sees the unit improving.
When asked about WR George Pickens and his incredible grab, Heyward commended the rookie WR for making such a difficult play in coverage and hopes to see a lot more of that the next several weeks.
“I know everybody is going to talk about the George Pickens catch,” Heyward said on the podcast, which also aired on YouTube. “Man, OBJ’s catch was pretty spectacular, but the thing I loved about George’s, he had to fight for position and then he just had to reach back. It’s unbelievable. Both plays are really cool to see. He definitely gets the team hyped and you get excited for a young guy like that. George, we’re going to need some more of that. Hopefully this is just the welcome party.”
Heyward is referring to the 36-yard catch Pickens made along the right sideline with fellow rookie CB Martin Emerson Jr. in coverage. Pickens got an outside release on the defender and turned his head around while giving Emerson a subtle push-off to get the defender off his frame. Pickens then managed to reach out and snag that thing with one hand while getting parallel to the field, corralling the ball to his chest as he survived the ground and secured the catch for the explosive play down the field.
Pickens may have only finished the game with three receptions on seven targets for 39 yards, but that 36-yard reception will go down as one of the best, if not the best, play of the year. Being compared to Odell Beckham Jr., who arguably made the best catch of the decade back in 2014, is no joke for the rookie second-round pick out of Georgia who just finished his third career NFL game. Heyward recognizes the talent and execution it took to make a play of that difficult, stating it energized the entire team and get him personally excited for what’s in store.
For an offense that is near the bottom in total YPG and passing YPG, getting Pickens more involved in the offense should be a key focal point going forward. While spectacular catches don’t necessarily win football games, Cam Heyward realizes the momentum those plays bring a team, and if Pickens truly is just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of, he could be the catalyst to help jump start this stagnant passing game.