DAVIE, Fla. -- Catching the football looks easy on television. But when you’re an NFL wide receiver trying to catch in traffic -- often in front of huge crowds -- it’s a rare skill that not many people have.
Miami Dolphins rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry is one of those players. Many scouts believed Landry has the best hands in this year’s rookie class, and he’s already made some impressive grabs in Dolphins’ training camp.
Landry spent time with me this week to share his philosophy on catching the football. He covered everything from his favorite catch to how much it bothers him to drop a pass.
James Walker: Jarvis, in your opinion, what defines a good pass-catcher?
Jarvis Landry: First off, it’s having the hand-eye coordination. It’s also having soft fingers and soft hands. I also think when you have the ability to extend your arms and not catch the ball in your body, it makes you more of a reliable target. You build trust with quarterbacks that way, when they see you plucking the ball out the air. It’s absorbing the ball, squeezing, catching and securing it. Those are the key points.
Walker: Your hands are your tools of trade. Do you do anything special to take care of them?
Landry: Nah, man. I’m from the country. All I’ve even done was use my hands. I guess that’s how I’ve strengthened them over the years.
Walker: What are some of the tougher catches to make? Over the shoulder? Back shoulder?
Landry: I’ve tried to put myself in every position possible to be able to catch the football. Until you challenge yourself at a particular catch, or a particular area of the field to make a particular catch, you would never know if you can make that catch. So I try to challenge myself with over the shoulders, behind, back shoulders, whatever. I challenge myself so when the games happens, I’ll be prepared for it.
Walker: What was your most impressive catch? Something that even surprised you?
Landry: In college against Arkansas. I had an “Action 926.” I had a “Big 2” and the quarterback threw the ball. I kind of went over the defender with one hand and pulled it in. It’s on YouTube.
Walker: As a person with good hands, are you the type who remembers your drops?
Landry: Always. One of the guys on the team just asked me if I thought I had a great scrimmage. Even though I scored a touchdown and had a couple yards, no. I had one drop and I take that to heart. So I’m doing extra jugs and catching extra balls to try to eliminate that mistake.
Walker: Finally, are good hands something that’s natural or can be developed?
Landry: It’s a little bit of both. But at the same time, as a receiver it’s one of your best tools. One of your best tools is being able to catch the football. But I think you can throw all that out the window when the ball is in the air. At that point it’s all about the attitude. It’s about, ‘It’s my ball, and go and get it and make that play.’ That’s what separates guys.”