How Josh Huff’s Wife Helped Him To Prevent Drops
INDIANAPOLIS — Jerrica Huff didn’t like what she was seeing from her husband. She has watched him play football for six seasons now, from his time at Oregon to his career so far with the Eagles, but she had to talk to him about her concerns on Wednesday last week.
Her message? Since I began watching you play, I’ve never seen you this timid. Ever.
Josh Huff took the conversation to heart, and he hauled in two passes for 60 yards in the Eagles’ 33-23 win over the Colts, adding a 9-yard touchdown run on the ground culminating in his best game of the preseason.
“She was right. I was playing timid. I wasn’t having fun. With her telling me that, I had to make some changes within myself, and I was able to come out here and have fun with my teammates,” Huff said. “I think that’s the biggest thing missing for me in the past: Just having fun. I was taking it too much as a business, and that took away from me having fun.
“A lot of (my improved play) goes to my wife. She saw that I wasn’t playing like myself and she was able to tell me. I just had her in the back of my head the whole game, and it was fun.”
Huff, who led both teams in receiving yards, cured his case of the drops — at least for one game. He caught his two targets from Sam Bradford, and he extended both plays after the catch to help set up a pair of scoring drives.
Bradford said he noticed a difference in Huff’s confidence in the last few days, while Pederson made a concerted effort to play to his receiver’s strengths. Pederson called a jet sweep for Huff, which led to an easy touchdown after Huff used his speed to get around the edge of the defense.
“Went into tonight wanting to get certain guys in certain situations and he was one of them,” Pederson said. “He did a nice job tonight, obviously putting the ball in his hand running it, and throwing him some slants and some intermediate stuff that he is very good at. It is something that we will continue to evaluate in his situation and keep putting him in those spots.”
Huff noted Pederson’s game plan “definitely” played to his strengths and how the Eagles’ new head coach has done a “great job” of getting the team’s skill players the ball in situations best suited for them. Huff added that receivers coach Greg Lewis has been “excellent” because he’s been able to “dig deep” into the receivers to get the best out of them, while the fact that Lewis played in the NFL helps guys take things from the classroom and apply it on the field.
But ultimately, Huff knows he’s the one responsible for whether he can surpass expectations and contribute to the team when the games actually matter.
“It’s just a mental game for me. I know I can make all the plays I made today. It’s just about doing it on a consistent basis,” Huff said. “Just get back to being me. Get back to being myself. I know every receiver is going to drop balls in this league. I just can’t beat myself up over that. I know that I belong in this league. I know that I’m able to make plays in this league, so I just got to play my game, by myself and let the rest sort itself out.”