In the Titans game, AJ jumped TWICE to catch touchdown passes in his gut, instead of just reaching up to catch them in his hands. I don't really blame him for that for several reasons. Being in the endzone makes a difference, because he could cradle the ball and not worry about running, and catching one in the gut is always easier than with your hands, if you're just going to cradle it and fall right there. They just don't want you to make a habit of it because the next thing you know you're catching them higher and having them bounce off your chest, like the time you just mentioned. If he had not been in the endzone, he could drop the ball trying to get it up to a running position after the catch. More likely, he could also get NAILED while coming down with it. This scenario always reminds me of Ernest Givens going over the middle, jumping and catching one in the gut, and then getting his head knocked off on the way down, although that wasn't all just about him catching it that way.
That's one reason I think receivers should ALWAYS, ALWAYS practice with shoulder pads on. Even if everyone else is practicing without pads, I think the receivers should have to wear the shoulder pads, because that way they will see their mistake immediately if they ever catch one in the chest (or don't catch it, I should say). It's also harder to get your hands up when you're wearing pads, so it's not something you can just mentally tell yourself you'll switch to when it's time.
On those rare occasions, when you just want to suck the ball in and envelope it, not looking for any more yardage and you know what you're doing, OK take it in the gut and hug it to death.
In answer to your question, I don't know if they actually go so far as coaching him to use his hands or if they will actually tell him he's beein doing it wrong some lately, but I'm certain that he knows full well that he should be using his hands and any receiver that lets a ball bounce off of his chest knows he just made a fundamental mistake. They probably know that he doesn't need to be told. He just needs to concentrate on that one thing a little more.
Last edited by HJam72; 12-01-2004 at 11:10 AM.