March 21, 2012

Jordan Shipley weighs in on Jaxon Shipley ... and more

I caught up with Texas all-time leading receiver by receptions Jordan Shipley at UT's Pro Day and had a chance to get his thoughts on his younger brother Jaxon Shipley, who nearly led the Longhorns in receiving in 2011 despite playing only 10 of 13 games.

Jaxon Shipley finished with 44 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns, just behind Mike Davis, who had 45 receptions for 609 yards and one touchdown.

Jordan Shipley, who led all NFL rookie receivers in 2010 with 52 catches for 600 yards and three touchdowns, also weighed in on his devastating knee injury that resulted in a torn MCL and ACL in Week 2 against the Broncos in 2011.

Q: What did you make of Jaxon nearly leading Texas in receiving and receiving yards despite playing in only 10 games last year? And the fact he also completed 4-of-4 passes, including three for TDs?

"Anyone who has been around him knows he's really talented. I was excited for him. I wasn't too surprised because I've seen it for years and years, and I knew how good he was.

"He just had the opportunity to play and did well. He had some little injury stuff, but that happens every once in a while.

"I'm just looking forward to watching him develop and think he'll be pretty special."

Q: Why did you know he could have the kind of impact he had as a freshman?

"Just watching him run routes and catch the ball. As far as route running, and he's probably got some of the most natural hands catching the ball I've ever seen. So, as far as that aspect of it, he's really far ahead.

Q: He had the chance to enroll early out of high school, but Jaxon said he stayed in high school, in part, because you were in a lockout as an NFL player and working out at home. So he had the chance to work with you during the spring of his senior year in high school.

"From my experience, I just felt like he knew enough football that he'd have plenty of time to learn the offense. I felt like you only get to be in high school one time, and once that's over it's gone. So I just told him to stay in high school and enjoy it. We threw the ball around, and it was fun."

Q: What things would you tell Jaxon to work on going into Year 2 at Texas?

"There's always things you can fine-tune. As far as the natural ability part of it, he's fine.

"He needs to work on coverages because he's going to see some shaded coverages this season. He's just got to keep on playing. I think he's going to develop."

Q: How did Jaxon handle the revolving quarterbacks last season between his roommate - Case McCoy - and true freshman David Ash?

"He doesn't have any control over that, and he knows that. It's not his decision to make. For him, whoever is out there, he needs to play and catch balls. He knows that."

Q: What advice did you give to Jaxon when he sprained his knee and missed three games last season?

"He's seen me go through it so many times. The hardest part for me and him is to just let it heal up.

"As much as he wanted to be out there, he let it heal, and that says a lot for a freshman's mindset to be mature and let the injury heal."

Q: Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in February he was seeing "significant progress" in your recovery from the MCL and ACL tears? How are you feeling?

"I had a pretty traumatic knee injury. I always expect to be back really fast, and I think I'll be on schedule, but during the recovery process, it's slow because I want to be out there running around. And I have been running lately.

"But I think I'm at the point where I'm about to turn the corner and be ready to play."

Q: It had to be uplifting to see the Bengals finish 9-7 and reach the playoffs last season.

"I'm real excited about the upcoming season. I only played two games last year, and so I feel like we have a chance to be even better. And we're excited about the guys we have, guys like Andy Dalton, so it's going to be good."

Q: One of the guys who grabbed some headlines last year was receiver A.J. Green from Georgia, who finished with 65 catches for 1,057 yards and 7 TDs as rookie. How does he change the offense?

"Obviously, having a guy like that is great. He can stress the field and do anything you need him to do.

"So having a guy like that is huge because the defenses have to respect him and commit to stopping him, and that should create opportunities for other guys on the offense like myself. I can't wait for the season."

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