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It’s Kelly’s turn

Aug 18, 2009, 8:23 AM EDT

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Malcolm Kelly is on the spot

Malcolm Kelly is on the spot

Last week it was second-year cornerback Justin Tryon in the spotlight. All week long he received praise and there were indications that he would at least justify his fourth-round selection if not start to look like an outright steal.

Then, on Thursday, they had to call the Baltimore City Fire Department to put out the flames after Tryon repeatedly was torched.

This week while Tryon licks his wounds, Malcolm Kelly is the second-year player who is receiving all of the attention. He got feature articles in Fredericksburg and in the Times.

He’s getting praise from the head coach:

I’ve seen him continue to come on.  He’s catching the ball very well.  He’s getting better at his route running, which is one of the things he’s been behind because of all of the rehabbing.  And virtually, he’s been rehabbing all summer.  So, that part is improving and that’s where he’s getting up to speed and becoming more and more confident in what he’s going to do on the field.

He’s getting praise from the quarterback:

He is doing a really good job of reaching out and catching the ball.  He is staying after practice catching balls from the JUGS machine.  That is something you expect because he has extremely strong hands.  The way he can reach out and catch a ball gives a quarterback a lot of comfort.

A lot of the accolades came as a result of one play. It was a 13-yard second-quarter reception of a Todd Collins pass. Pathetically, it was the Redskins’ offensive highlight of the game. It’s also somewhat disturbing that, according to Ryan O’Halloran’s article he ran the wrong route on the play.

Malcolm Kelly’s instructions were clear when he lined up on third down Thursday in Baltimore.

Press man coverage: Run 11 yards and break inside.

Soft man coverage: Run 11 yards, stop and turn toward quarterback Todd Collins.

At the snap, Kelly misread the coverage, thinking it was press. He saw the middle of the field open, knifed through and jumped to snare Collins’ pass for a slick 13-yard gain, one of the few offensive bright spots for the Washington Redskins.

So the choices were A or B and he chose C. It’s good that he made the play but for him to reach his potential the quarterback has to be able to have sufficient to throw to a spot before he makes his break. He’s not there yet.

Although I like the fact that Kelly is making plays and it’s encouraging that he appears to have recovered from the microfracture surgery he had in the offseason, he still has much improvement to do. Just like Tryon needs to defend the inside routes as well as out patterns, Kelly needs to make the proper reads and run the proper routes.

Without getting down the fine points of his crafts, Kelly might be an OK NFL receiver. If he wants to be something truly special, he needs to get to work. Archives

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