With New WR Coach, Josh Huff Using Training Camp to Work on Inconsistency Issues

Josh Huff drives you crazy.

Let’s be honest, he drives everybody crazy.

Because we all see flashes of his ability. Like a 107-yard kickoff return against the Titans two years ago or a 41-yard TD against the Saints last season or a 39-yard TD against the Bucs in November. And then we see a mistake or a drop or a fumble and, yeah, it drives us crazy because we know how good Huff would be if he could ever develop some consistency.

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Guess what.

Huff drives himself crazy too. For the exact same reason.

“Definitely,” the Eagles' reciever said. “Because I know the type of player I am with the ball in my hands.

“I beat myself up day in and day out for the plays I don’t make. But I can’t let myself do that. Because if I continue to think about the plays I don’t make, I’m going to continue to think about it and not make the next play.

“So I’ve got to know what I did wrong, know what I did right, and move on. Dwell on it for three seconds and then forget about it.”

Huff, a third-round Chip Kelly pick out of Oregon in 2014, caught just eight passes for 98 yards as a rookie and had 27 catches for 312 yards with three touchdowns last year.

He knows it’s not good enough. He knows unless he catches the ball consistently he won’t be here.

“Definitely have to be consistent,” he said. “I know I can be great, I just have to bring it all in. Not to make an excuse or anything, but I haven’t been playing receiver that long. I just moved to receiver permanently sophomore year of college, so I’m still learning the ins and outs of playing receiver.

“I have a great coach in Greg Lewis teaching me that. I’m not going to make every play, but I know that my coaches and my quarterbacks have the trust to me to come back to me if I don’t make a play so I can try to make that play the next time.”

Huff’s 410 receiving yards are the third-fewest after two years since 1960 by a wide receiver the Eagles have drafted in the first two rounds.

Only 2004 third-round pick Billy McMullen (26 yards) and 2001 first-round pick Freddie Mitchell (388 yards) had fewer after two NFL seasons.

That’s not the company any wide receiver wants to be in.

“I’ve been working on the things I’m doing well and also working on my weaknesses,” Huff said. “I have pretty good hands, fair to say, but sometimes I take my eyes off the ball before I even catch it because I’m trying to make something happen.

“So I’ve just got to stay with the ball a little bit longer and once I catch the ball I can break tackles and keep moving.”

If Huff is concerned about his future, he’s not letting on.

Huff’s roster spot is probably safe at the moment, simply because the Eagles have so little depth at wideout.

Assuming they keep five, they'll likely be Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Chris Givens, Rueben Randle and Huff.

But nothing is etched in stone. Huff is in Year 3 and the current administration is not the one that drafted him.

Does he need an exceptional preseason to secure a roster spot?

“I’m not going to put that much pressure on me,” he said. “I’m not going to put pressure on me at all. I know when I get my opportunity to make a play in the preseason or the season and the coaches call my number, I’m going to make that play. And if I don’t make that play, I know the next time they’re going to come back to me I’ll make that play.

“This is the NFL and you have great players all over the field, and they’re going to make plays and you’re going to make plays. But you’ve just got to learn to balance it. You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some.

“It’s a boxing mentality. Who’s going to last the longest? And at the end of the day, I think I’m going to last the longest.”

How’s Huff summer gone?

Sunday’s open practice was typical of his camp and of his career. A brilliant play – like his double move to beat JaCorey Shepherd for a touchdown from Carson Wentz – followed by a bad drop on a 12-yard out.

“I’ve made some mistakes here and there since training camp started but that’s what training camp is for,” he said. “You make those mistakes now so you don’t have to make them during the season. My coaches understand that and they keep encouraging me to move forward.”

The good news is Huff has a new position coach, and it sure seems Lewis, a former Eagle, is an upgrade over Bob Bicknell, Kelly’s receivers coach the last three years.

And nobody can question Huff’s work ethic. If he struggles, it’s not for lack of effort.

Huff knows fans want to see more from him. He knows the occasional big plays aren’t enough. He knows he drives Eagles fans crazy with his inconsistency.

“They’ve got to understand it’s a work in progress,” he said. “They’ve got to stop comparing me to Jordan (Matthews), they’ve got to stop comparing me to Odell (Beckham). Because I’m not those guys. Those guys are excellent at what they do.

“I’ve just got to keep moving forward, and consistency is the biggest thing for me right now. Once I become consistent with the details of the offense and everything like that, I think I’m going to take off, man. And once I take off, it’s going to be impossible to stop me.”

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