Antonio Brown and the Jugs Gun (Steelers Training Camp Blog 2010)

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I took in my last training camp practice of 2010 at Saint Vincent this afternoon. So after practice I settled into a chair sitting ringside on the field because I like to check out who’s doing something extra. Who wants it bad enough to put in a little non-paid overtime work after Coach Mike dismisses them from practice.

I know the usual suspects. Hines Ward, James Harrison, Chris Hoke…yada, yada, yada. You expect it from these dudes, that’s why their pro’s. You can be sure the second year guys who are making the jump like Ziggy Hood is going through his hand fighting techniques with Brentson Buckner. And there’s Keenan Lewis working on his backpedal.

But who among the rooks catches my eye? It happened that I took up a seat by the Jugs Gun, a device ripped off from baseball used for batting practice. An assistant loads the “Gun” with a football and the wide receiver stands 8-10 yards in front of it. Blip! and a mini-howitzer is fired at the WR.

Antonio Brown was first in line. He caught 50 balls before he took a break. Facing the gun, sideways to the gun, three-quarters to the gun. Simulating running in place by moving his arms, then with his hands held behind his back as if a defender was holding an arm and he had to quickly raise his hands to snag the bullet. After a turn by Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio was back at it, this time picking the ball out of the air one-handed. All done from the left side, then the right.

And here’s what’s important. Every time he caught a ball, he quickly tucked the ball into his side and held the ball correctly. Only after he had secured the ball did he throw it back. All the other young guys “slurred” the tuck into the side and threw the ball back in one continuous motion without properly securing the ball.

What have you been hearing from Tunch up in the booth? How about on our radio show? “Antonio Brown has a quick catch and tuck.” Now we know why. Good fundamentals are never an accident.

I think we just might have a player here.