Any NFL rookie is going to face new challenges throughout their first training camp, and well into their first season. The San Francisco 49ers joint practices with the Houston Texans brought just such a challenge for first round pick Mike McGlinchey.
McGlinchey got to square off with J.J. Watt in one-on-one blocking drills both days, and he had a mix of success and failure. The very first matchup between the two did not end well for McGlinchey.
Early action between #49ers #Texans:— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 15, 2018
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Mike McGlichey MET Texans J.J. Watt. “Welcome to the NFL” pic.twitter.com/3DK8CfTK3p
Watt is a beast, and one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, so this result probably did not shock a lot of people. However, it was not as black and white as one might think. On Thursday, left tackle Joe Staley told the media that McGlinchey was involved in a blocking drill that was unlike anything he had done to that point.
“I think we got whupped up the first day with a little bit of one-on-one run [blocking drills], which we haven’t done yet. I don’t think guys were expecting that. I know Mike had no idea. He was like, ‘One-on-one run? What do you do there? I was like ‘Just come off the ball as hard as you can, and like Oklahoma drill, old school.’ He’s like ‘All right.’
“It didn’t go well for him the first rep -- you could see that. But he was awesome, he told me after that ‘I was just like trying to focus and don’t get embarrassed because he’s pretty strong. I was like ‘J.J.’s one of the best in the NFL, so yea he’s going to be pretty strong.’”
It appeared to be a sink-or-swim drill as far as Staley was concerned. When asked if he had helped prepare McGlinchey for Watt, Staley said not really.
“Not a whole lot, and I think that’s good. Gotta get him — if it was game situation, obviously you’re going to do a lot more studying and all that stuff. But I think it’s good for him to go in and kinda figure that stuff out on your own. Try to correct what you’re doing on the practice field because it’s practice -- it’s the time to do all that stuff. You don’t have to go out there and have a perfect day. You’re going try different things, to see what works, what doesn’t work.”
Staley and McGlinchey have become fast friends on and off the field. McGlinchey has been connected at the hip with Staley, working to learn everything he can about being an NFL offensive lineman. Of course, sometimes that learning experience has to be figuring things out on your own. McGlinchey had his ups and downs against J.J. Watt, but this kind of experience is priceless in his development.