NFL: Athletes, and the Third Year

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We often hear about the third year being the golden year for players. Well it just so happens that the same rules apply to everyone at least once in life. It's a natural process, you just have to let nature take it's course.

Imagine having to learn how to walk and talk all over again. Now, imagine having to learn how to do these things at a very fast pace with other bodies moving at an equally rapid pace, if not faster. Now sprinkle into that imagination a little physical contact. You have just successfully created a small simple size of an idea, of what it's like for a young NFL player.

The "average" child does not really learn to walk naturally - as well as process information and talk complete sentences - until the age of 3. Now, of course you have those "superhuman" babies that are walking and talking long before their peers. But for the most part everyone else stays on course. And sometimes the child will excite you by doing things early on. Then they enter those terrible twos, and leave you impatiently waiting for that golden third year. Year two can be a real hair puller. In year three though, the child is now able to do puzzles (process information), run with "confidence", kick-throw-catch a ball, and develops balance. Sounds a lot like a more comfortable NFL player.

In fact, aside from those "superhuman" players, almost no one is really that comfortable before year three. In year three players begin to see a defense or offense and understand their alignments While applying their responsibilities for the current play (process information). Doing this is almost like second nature, which allows for the player to run faster and with more "confidence". Players can now kick, throw, and catch a ball without thinking twice. And due to their new found comfort from less thinking, their balance seems more natural and less forced.

The Jeff Fisher and Les Snead regime will now be entering year three. This means their first draft class (first born) should be entering their golden years. A lot was made of players like Janoris Jenkins, Daryl Richardson, and Chris Givens second NFL seasons. Much like a young child, these players did things to get everyone excited only to enter those terrible twos, and make people want to pull their hair out.

Instead of hair pulling, look at it like this: most of their young success have come off of instinct, and natural physical skill. But now -three years in- there should be a better understanding, which will slow down the game. By slowing down the game they can now dictate their pace, and play a really good game of football, with a lot less thinking. Too much thinking is called over thinking. When you over think, you usually mess up. It's like that test we all have taken and we come to that one multiple choice question, know the answer, but over think it and switch to the wrong answer.

Here in year three, I expect to see Janoris Jenkins, Daryl Richardson, Chris Givens, Trumaine Johnson, and Michael Brockers all make massive leaps. Daryl Richardson's leap may be a bit more difficult playing behind Zac Stacey. Each player has shown some amazing skills, and produced some very exciting plays. Now with a better understanding, there's reason to believe those plays can be seen on a more consistent basis.

Just like there are those "superhuman" babies that figure it out before their peers, there are also those late bloomers. In other words, believe it or not there is still hope for Brian Quick, and even Isaiah Pead. Remember, Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old...

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