Colts CBs coach Jonathan Gannon praised CB Rock Ya-Sin‘s performance last season after being asked to line up against other team’s top receivers at times as a rookie.
“Obviously, we put (Ya-Sin) in some spots where he was covering the other team’s best receiver at times,” Gannon said, via Kevin Bowen of 1075TheFan. “His character is through the roof. He always stayed positive, even when he didn’t play up to his standard, per se. On Monday, he’d come back, ‘Hey, how could I get better?’ Never shied away from having a tough matchup which was really good to see because a lot of times you see when you start giving guys tough duty, week-to-week, they might struggle in a game and might not want that tough duty the next game. He’s not one of those guys. It was a great pick for us. I thought he graded out about average as far as a starter level. I think the sky is the roof for him. He’s going to play better next year. That spot, there’s a lot of mistakes that you have to make and go through to improve your game from one game to the next and even from a rookie season to his second year. I think he’s really going to hit his stride this year and get going.”
Gannon said Ya-Sin’s biggest improvement throughout his rookie season was the use of his eyes in their multiple defense scheme.
“What we ask him to do with his eyes,” Gannon said. “In college, he would just play with man eyes all the time, looked at his guy and covered his guy all the time. Well, in the NFL, the game is not that, when you are a multiple system like we are. So there’s a lot of times that you don’t know what you are going to do until the ball is snapped. There was just some transition from that.”
Ya-Sin said focusing on his footwork led to more success last season.
“The biggest thing I worked on this offseason wasn’t my hands, it was more so my feet,” said Ya-Sin. “If you win early with your feet, you won’t have a tendency to use your hands. A lot of the times we use our hands when we panic and we think we are in trouble as a corner, when we think we are beat. But if you win early with your feet and use your hands early, when it’s legal, within the five yards, then you’ll be in control of a route where you don’t have to grab a guy and you won’t think you’ll have to grab a guy, or penalize a guy.”
Gannon added that Ya-Sin has proven receptive to coaching and shows a clear will to improve.
“We had a post eval meeting (after the 2019 season) and the thing that kept coming up is he’s going to will himself to be a really good player,” Gannon said. “And you saw that this year even when he had a couple of games when he had a couple of penalties. He’s got a short memory which you need as a corner. He’s all about how do I improve and how do I get better.”
Jaguars TE James O’Shaughnessy said he is “on track” with his recovery from a torn ACL and has been at their team facilities “every other day.”
“Obviously, it’s a slow process,” said O’Shaughnessy, via John Oehser of the team’s official site. “It can be a little frustrating at times watching everybody else do things I wish I could do, but I’m right on track. I missed a week because of Covid but every other day I’ve been in the facility.”
New Texans’ S Eric Murray said his “versatility” and ability to play in multiple defensive back roles are among his strengths.
“As a football player, I pride myself on versatility and ability to do whatever is asked of me,” said Murray, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “When I first came into the league, my position switched. It’s always been a learning curve I had to deal with. I’ve proven I can be a versatile player and provide toughness in many positions on the back end. That’s what I’ve staked my claim on and what I plan to do.”
Murray, who missed time last year due to a knee injury, said he is “doing everything I can” to stay healthy for all 16 games next season.
“I definitely feel like I can make a lot of plays. Wherever they call me to be, that’s what I’m going to do. Being able to play the full 16 games, that will really be a game-changer for me. I’m doing everything I can to be healthy for the season.”
Murray added that Browns DBs coach D’Anton Lynn seems “very knowledgeable” and expects to blitz “a lot” in their defense.
“Coach Lynn seems like a very knowledgeable guy. I love the way he explains the material. I look forward to getting in there and blitzing a lot. It’s an aggressive style of defense, and I love to create chaos for the offense.”