In an extra point on the tight ends, here’s what position coach Jerry Fontenot had to say about Richard Rodgers, Justin Perillo and Kennard Backman.
On Richard Rodgers’ blocking, which was his obvious weakness as a rookie:
“You know, not entirely (pleased). There’s a couple of things – I think our pad level can improve. In certain situations, I’d like to see us utilize some better footwork. But I will say this: He’s blocking stronger than he did last year. He knows how to use his body now. He understands leverage – isn’t always using it, which I’m always going to be fighting with him over because it’s going to help him be a better blocker. I think our development has been a positive. Is it where we want it to be? Not quite yet.”
On Backman’s catch vs. Philadelphia, when he held on despite a hard hit. Does that mean anything extra after dropping too many passes this summer, or is it just one play and nothing more:
“Yeah, it’s just a snapshot. Just like everything else. It’s one opportunity that he maximized. In this game, you know how quickly things can change. You’ve got to keep moving forward, keep inching, climbing, keep improving. That’s the most important thing. You can never relax. You just can’t get comfortable and rest. You’ve got to stay in motion because this game is about staying in motion and everybody else is staying in motion.”
On Backman’s performance, which included a touchdown:
“It was big. It was a big step in the right direction. He’s not doing things great in other areas, and we need some improvement. The pass game, he happened to make two nice plays in the pass game. Those were his opportunities for that day. Fortunately, he made the most of them. I think it was a big confidence booster for him. it’s nothing that I didn’t expect him to do, but I think that his confidence is probably boosted up just a little bit.”
On Perillo missing two weeks with a concussion:
“We weren’t able to evaluate him for a couple weeks. It’s a factor. How much of a factor at the end of the day? I probably won’t know until the end of the day, but it’s certainly a factor. I have certain expectation level for Justin to produce, and as far as my recollection serves me, I think that he’s done a decent job of getting better in the department of run blocking, pass protection and pass game production. I think that he’s continually, based on the practice that I’ve seen him in the past day or two, he hasn’t been set back much at all. Yeah, he’s kind of picking up right where he left off.”
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