Back in the Summer, Titans' fans were left daydreaming at the thought of Marcus Mariota tossing jumpballs to Dorial Green-Beckham. Ruston Webster's first and second round picks from the 2015 NFL Draft were expected to explode onto the NFL scene. One did -- but the other has gotten off to a slow start.
So why has Green-Beckham gotten off to a slow start? It could be a number of things. First off, his slow start shouldn't come as much of a surprise. He didn't play live football for over a year, during his stay at Oklahoma. He went from the Sooners' scout team to an NFL training camp. Even at during his time at Missouri Green-Beckham wasn't the most polished guy. Most of his big plays came because of his freak athletic ability.
Athletic Ability is great and all, but the talent jump from the SEC East to the NFL is a big one. Green-Beckham didn't win with his routes at Missouri, he instead won with speed and leaping ability. He's finding out the hard way that the NFL is a much different scene.
Green-Beckham (Bottom of your screen) is running what looks to be a 15 yard dig route. The corner allows him a free release, but maintains contact with him throughout the route. The contact slows Green-Beckham down just enough to dismantle the play. He had inside leverage, but tried to keep pushing his route to the outside. Mariota had to get rid of it because of pressure, but Green-Beckham came open right after Mariota's delivery.
Here's another angle.
This play is a microcosm of what we've seen out of the two rookies so far. Everything looks great on paper, but the timing has just been off. There's a chemistry issue there, which is to be expected from a couple of rookies who have already been through a coaching change. This snap could have easily ended up in a touchdown.
The Titans' haven't asked Green-Beckham to do anything too technical yet. A lot of his targets have come on straight ahead back shoulder throws like this one.
This is something that Dorial should excel at routinely. His massive frame allows him to cover a lot of area around him and makes it tough on any cornerback. However, this hasn't always been the case. It hasn't all been on Green-Beckham, either.
This is the same concept, but the ball is too far out in front of Green-Beckham. It's too flat to give him an opportunity to go after it downfield. There are plenty more examples of just this play that I could show you, but you get the picture.
One of my main issues with Green-Beckham in the draft process was his inconsistencies attacking the football. We saw a big example of that against the Carolina Panthers.
Let me start by saying that this is a total panic throw by Marcus Mariota. It probably shouldn't have been thrown, but it actually turns out to be on target. Green-Beckham pulls up on his route, causing the pick. If he keeps going, it's probably a completion. If you're Dorial Green-Beckham here, this is what you were brought in for. You're supposed to go win those 50-50 balls for your quarterback.
What's the solution?
If you're Jason Michael and Mike Mularkey, you've got to find more ways to get Dorial involved. Nearly all the routes that we've seen from him so far have been streaks or slants. He's staying on the outside, usually drawing the opponent's top corner. Green-Beckham isn't to the point of where he can consistently gain separation yet, so why not move him around?
Send him in motion, get press coverage off of him. Line him up in the slot and let him go eat up a safeties cushion. He can stretch the field, if you'll let him. That means good things for all parties involved.
In the end, Green-Beckham had some unfair, lofty expectations placed on him. I think we are all a little sensitive to receivers, due to the numerous swings and misses from this franchise. But in the case of Dorial Green-Beckham, let's see what a new staff has in store for him before we totally write him off.