There are a lot of people who believe quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs a No. 1 receiving option to really be able to take the next step forward in his development. He has been good his first two years, but not great, and many are hoping Treadwell could be the solution to Bridgewater’s evolution.
The rookie receiver has had his ups and downs through the team’s offseason workouts, though. It started out with him tweaking his ankle during rookie minicamp and then appearing to be limited during the first week of organized team activities. He then continued to get back on pace, working for the entirety of practice, but you could tell he was still getting used to everything.
He still seemed up and down for the remainder of OTAs, making some good plays, but then also making some drops that left observers scratching their heads (to be fair, the media only saw one day of practice each week during OTAs). But head coach Mike Zimmer also seemed to allude to this on the final day of media availability during OTAs on June 7.
“You know he had three really good days,” Zimmer said of his rookie wide receiver. “I don’t know if today was his best day, but he’s had three really good days.”
The team returned to work a week after that press conference for minicamp and Treadwell seemed to be more comfortable during practices. He continued to work with the second-team offense during full-team practices, the same as he did during OTAs, but Zimmer never likes to rush his rookies into starting roles.
The thing with Treadwell, though, is he appeared to become more comfortable during the minicamp workouts. He caught the ball better and seemed to be running cleaner routes, though part of that could be because of wide receivers coach George Stewart being on him if he did anything wrong during individual workouts.
Stewart watched over Treadwell with a discerning eye and if his route or release was just a little off he would make him do the drill over again, and do it the right way.
Another thing that likely played a part in Treadwell being able to turn things around was his work ethic. He was always one of the last, if not the last, players off the field after every practice. He had the habit of staying late and catching extra balls off the JUGS machine. He would catch balls from his left, right, straight on and even with one hand, just as a way to get more comfortable doing it.
The biggest thing for Treadwell now as the team is on a month-long break before training camp is to continue to develop and not lose the progress he made.
“I think he had a good spring. He has a chance to help us,” Zimmer said. “These next five weeks for him will be big. When he gets back in here, he has to be in shape, he has to be perfecting the routes, things that he has learned in these OTAs. I think he has got a chance to be a good player.”
Coaches, teammates and fans all are expecting big things from Treadwell and so far his improvement has been trending in the right direction. The next big thing for him to do is show up at training camp ready to go, and then try to work himself into the starting lineup.