Monday, December 10, 2012

Elliott has humble debut in his first NFL start

Former FAMU wide receiver Kevin Elliott, now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, made his first NFL start yesterday in a 17-10 loss to the New York Jets.

The Orlando native got the nod from Head Coach Mike Mularkey less than 24 hours before the start. A rash of injuries in the receiver corps switched the rookie from understudy to starter just like that.

In the end, it was not the performance he wished for, but it was enough to show on this day at Everbank Field, that with a little work and experience, Elliott could be a solid professional player.

Elliott snagged three receptions for 38 yards, including a crucial first down of 22-yards early in the game. He dropped two passes, with one of those clearly a case of he and quarterback Chad Henne not being on the same page. Even the final offensive play of the game for the Jaguars seemed to be clouded in confusion. Elliott broke on an out pattern and was wide open near the goal line, but Henne threw the ball for a corner route. It underscores the work it takes for a quarterback and receiver to get on the same page.

Elliott, squatting on the sidelines after the game with a look of reflection, soon came around with the encouragement of teammates.

"It's always hard when you work hard all the way to the end and you don't get it done. It's another week we've got to put in the work and go back to the drawing board," Elliott said.

Mularkey told the Florida Times-Union that the experience Elliott picked up on Sunday will help him become a better player.

"We are averaging four to five drops a game," Mularkey said. "That’s not acceptable no matter who it is. Kevin has had too many drops. He hasn’t had as many opportunities as some of these other guys, but he has had drops. Those are uncontested plays that he should make and I know he knows he should make. You’re talking about not a lot of playing time. He’s a rookie. The experience is invaluable."

In the end, even with the tough loss, Elliott managed to smile as he looked to tomorrow.

"It's been a dream and a blessing to be on the Jaguars and in the NFL," Elliott said. "At the end of the day, it's a production league and you have to produce. You have to work hard every day to prove that you deserve to be on this team. It's been a lot of learning experiences and a lot of firsts this year and it's definitely a great experience."

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