Seattle Seahawks rookie receiver D.K. Metcalf has been the center of attention a few times this summer, not just locally but nationally after some video of his route running in practice hit Twitter.
In May, it was this video:
DK Metcalf, runner of routes pic.twitter.com/9FyU6WsNqw— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) May 29, 2019
People didn’t know what to do other than roast.
This is a hi-hi-hi-hi-hitch route— Jacson A. Bevens (@JacsonBevens) May 29, 2019
No, actually it looks like a horrible route.— Dan Viens (The Dan Cave Podcast) (@SeahawksForever) May 29, 2019
Though I think the truth for most people is closer to “I don’t even really know what I just watched but people say it’s a bad route, so it’s a bad route.” And I mean, it very well could be a bad route though practice is still just practice. We can never take that away from Allen Iverson.
This week, new video surfaced and it came from Russell Wilson and Metcalf, signaling that he was ready to boast about his improved route-running abilities. The internet, not forgetful of what happened in May, went back to the grill. But a few current and former professional athletes quickly stepped in (this IS a pun) and defended Metcalf.
Twitter mostly had fun with the side-step dosey-doe that Metcalf incorporates at the top of the route and also wanted to sign the cameraman to the practice squad. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report had this to say but he had a few people respond to him that he simply couldn’t ignore.
I’m sorry, but that stutter-step karaoke belongs on a dance floor. That’s not working in the NFL.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) July 10, 2019
But let’s all get excited over videos that have no context! https://t.co/TIkc7CGfRU
Namely, Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley saying “That will work”:
That will work— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) July 10, 2019
When asked if he’ll do it in the future then, Ridley responds that he already does and he’s working on it today.
Former NFL defensive back Eric Crocker also chimed in to defend Metcalf’s hitchy hitch step.
“You use the half step when the db is even (typically from press)...” says Crocker. It at least helps explain to the layperson what is going on here in Metcalf’s route and that he’s not just going off book and improvising like Ichiro. Not that improvising like Ichiro is a bad thing.
It’s just not what is happening here. This also isn’t to say that Miller is wrong either, his opinion is valid too and questioning or calling out what is happening in the video is helpful for us to get a conversation going and some understanding to the rest of us.
Former Washington State receiver Michael Bumpus chimed in as well, noting that it “gives the DB something to respect.”
Why the back step you ask?— Michael Bumpus (@michaelbumpus5) July 10, 2019
Gives the DB something to respect. The movement of the hips & the footwork requires attention. It can cause a false step by the CB, and it can be used to gain leverage.
Here’s my why, but somebody gonna hate though
I guess not everyone agrees with Bumpus, D1 experience as a receiver or not.
Metcalf’s ability to run a route tree instead of a route sapling has been called into question before this video and before the draft. Here he is talking to USA Today in April about if he can “only run the 9”:
Whether or not Metcalf can run routes or be successful at the NFL is something we can only speculate about today anyway, especially the latter of those two things. It is true that what he was asked to do at Ole Miss wasn’t as challenging as it could have been and perhaps he won’t be a complete receiver at the pro level but he’s not even months into his NFL career yet. Wilson released this video to show how fast Metcalf is, that they’re working well together, and that he’s excited for the rest of the league to see Metcalf on a regular basis. And so are we ... it’ll be a lot more telling than these videos.
But the debate around them is still a fun way to kill some time in July.