There is not a lot ASJ has to do, to show Bucs fans exactly what all his coaches see in him. All he has to do is stay healthy. Coach Kotter already said that ASJ reminds him of one of the best TE’s to ever play the game. “I’ll tell you if Austin is healthy he reminds me of Tony Gonzalez. I coached Tony Gonzalez at the end of his career and our Tight Ends Coach Jon Embree had Tony in Kansas City. Austin is talented.”
Tight ends coach John Embree is also thoroughly impressed with ASJ and has been so since ASJ entered the league.
“I’ve been pleased with a few things out of him. No. 1, his ability to grasp the gameplan and go out there and play. You know, he’s made very few mental errors from an assignment standpoint. The other thing about him is as he was able to get reps in practice, he got better. Whether it was his footwork in the run game, his pad level, he’s a very raw player. I think people forget he’s only played three years of college football. He came out early, and then we didn’t get him in OTAs. And so he missed a lot of that time where things like footwork, things like pad level, hat placement in the run game, a lot of things that he had no idea what was required of him or how I wanted it done. It was really pleasing from a coaching standpoint to see how much better he was getting and things were happening naturally for him. So that when that takes place, he can go out and play fast.”
Even to this day, he still impresses our coaches and the remain with the same high expectations that ASJ has that wow factor. The same feeling they’ve had about him since the beginning. “Hopefully, he can stay healthy and show everyone what he’s capable of. I feel bad for him ‘cuz it means a lot to him. It’s important to him. He works. He’s done a lot this offseason to continue to improve. I’d like for him to stay healthy not just for the benefit of the team but for him also. He was in a situation where he really was getting close and really working hard to come back and just wasn’t able to quite get cleared. When you start talking about some of the issues with the shoulder and with range of motion and really being able to go out there and protect yourself, it’s just hard to have someone go out there and take a chance of maybe ending their career.
If ASJ stays healthy, I want to see apologies from everyone, because not only will he be the best tightened in the league, he will be one that never turned his back on his fans, no matter how much trash they talked about him.