Josh Huff loves contact.
Although the former Oregon Ducks pass catcher struggled as a rookie, he did flash at times by breaking tackles. According to Pro Football Focus (hat tip to Eliot Shorr-Parks), Huff forced six missed tackles despite catching only eight passes. For perspective, Jeremy Maclin made defenders miss eight times on 145 receptions and Riley Cooper made defenders miss three times on 55 catches. Here's an example of Huff being hard to tackle:
Huff's physicality isn't limited to when he has the ball in his hands, either. He's a ferocious blocker. Just take a look at him during this play from the Eagles-Giants game last season:
Huff talked about his love of contact in a recent appearance on the Eagles Insider podcast. His words:
"I love contact. Not many receivers will say that but I love contact. I feel like [defensive backs] get to take their anger out on us when we’re coming across the middle, why can’t we take it out on them when we have the ball in our hands?
I love to get hit. I love to give out hits. I think it was Marshawn Lynch … He was like, he’s gonna get got, but he’s give it more than he get got. So that’s how I see things.
There are going to be plays where I get hit but you best believe I’m going to remember that number. I’m going to remember that name. And I’m going to try to either get them on a crackblock or when I get the ball in my hands."
Huff also touched on new Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford:
“Sam, he’s an exceptional quarterback. He has great vision. He know what he wants in a defense, and when he sees something in a defense he’ll look one way. He has great eyes. That’s what I can say.
His arm is pretty strong. I’ve heard Zach [Ertz] say that a couple of times, but yes, his arm is definitely strong. Gets the ball out really quick.
I know during, I think we were doing seven-on-seven, and as soon as I turned around the ball was up on me. I was just like “OK, now I really got to get my head around.” He throws dimes. He looks out for his receivers. He has the perfect touch when you’re coming across, when you’re coming in, and on deep balls he has perfect balls. I’m excited to see this season and for our team and see if he can lead us to the promised land.”
And the team's wide receiver rotation:
“I’m pretty sure what you guys saw during [spring practices] is where we’re going to be lined up. But again, it’s all about matchups and creating mismatches.
Sometimes you may see me on the inside or in the backfield or out wide, and sometimes you might see [Riley Cooper] on the inside at slot, and sometimes you might see Jordan [Matthews] on the outside and Nelson [Agholor] in the slot.
We have those type of receivers in our [wide receiver] room where we’re so versatile. We can create mismatches all over the field. I’m definitely excited to see what we can do."
Many are expecting Huff to take a step forward and put his rookie mistakes in the past. With Maclin gone, the opportunities will be there for Huff. It's up to him to make the most of them.