New York Giants WR Darius Slayton has struggled with his fair share of drops in the past. But he worked hard this offseason with WR Coach Drew Lieberman to fix this flaw in his game, striving to become a “ball stopper” this season.
Coach Lieberman has been working with Slayton for three years now, holding him to a “Hall of Fame Standard” and helping him become a more complete player. This offseason, Lieberman and Slayton worked diligently to improve the receiver’s hands and make him a more natural pass-catcher.
Giants WR Darius Slayton worked to be a ‘ball stopper’ this offseason
Slayton came to Lieberman this offseason with one primary goal: becoming a ball-stopper. After watching film, Slayton noticed a common trait among some of the NFL’s best wide receivers.
“He kind of came to me with this,” Lieberman shared during an interview with Fireside Giants. “He’s like, ‘You know, I’ve been watching film, and the best pass-catchers I see, the ball stops when it touches their hands. Like Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Mohammed Sanu, Julio Jones, some of the best ball catchers you can think of, the ball just stops.'”
Lieberman got to work with Slayton early this offseason. “And that first month and a half, we came up with a term: ‘We want to be a ball stopper,'” Lieberman said.
Coach Drew Lieberman made pass-catching drills a major point of focus this offseason
Lieberman and Slayton had worked on pass-catching drills in the past, but it became a major point of focus this offseason.
That [inconsistent hands] was one of the biggest things that I didn’t like about [Slayton’s] game, but I would kind of try and fix it just by poking and prodding at him, by showing it to him. We didn’t really overly drill it. I just kind of thought that, by getting after him mentally and getting him going and making him more aggressive, it would just kind of fix itself. But it didn’t really translate that way. There were still a lot of mechanical issues.Drew Lieberman via Fireside Giants
After recognizing this fault in Slayton’s game, Lieberman created an abundance of catching scenarios and drills for Slayton. “We looked at the mechanics, we broke it down every way we could, we came up with a million different drills to drill it [in his head],” Lieberman said.
Darius Slayton trained with tennis balls to improve his hands
Lieberman implemented a popular pass-catching drill, utilizing tennis balls, but with a unique twist.
“Most guys catch tennis balls with one hand each, but that’s promoting wide hands,” Lieberman explained. “It’s one tennis ball, two hands, and you have to shoot that tight. That was one little tool.”
Instead of running the standard, one-hand, one-tennis ball drill, Lieberman had Slayton bring his hands in tight and catch one tennis ball with two hands. This forced the receiver to learn to keep his hands tight and stop the ball in his hands in mid-air. This was one of the many clever drills Lieberman implemented to help Slayton become a “ball-stopper.”
Darius Slayton looks like a “ball-stopper” at Giants training camp
Slayton’s hands look significantly improved in a video Lieberman recently shared on social media. The video highlights the strength of Slayton’s hands at training camp this summer in contrast with his inconsistent catching mechanics last season. Slayton has stood out throughout training camp this summer.
The Giants have big expectations for Slayton this season after signing him to a two-year extension this spring. Slayton will be back in New York’s starting lineup, hoping to take that next step in his game and put this offseason’s hard work on full display during the regular season.