You may remember T.J. Houshmandzadeh as the Robin to Chad Johnson’s Batman in Cincinnati back in the mid-2000s. Now T.J. finds himself as the Alfred to Michael Pittman, Jr.’s Bruce Wayne while the young USC product prepares for his rookie season in Indianapolis.
T.J. joined The Ride With JMV to detail his work with Pittman Jr. and what skills the receiver will bring with him to the Colts organization.
In addition to complementing Pittman’s mental intelligence and toughness, Houshmandzadeh praised his natural ability:
“Physically, he’s 6’4”, 220. He looks like he’s like 200 pounds. He doesn’t even look 220. He’s thin, but he’s heavy. He can run every route in the book. He has great hand-eye coordination. He can catch the 50/50 ball. And I’ve taught him how to decelerate and create separation so I expect him to be virtually unstoppable.”
“We work out 4-5 days a week and we haven’t stopped. It’s his work ethic. He just wants to work, work, work.”
Will Pittman’s hard work translate to immediate results in a Colts passing attack that had its struggles last year?
“I’d be highly surprised if he does not produce, and I say that because you have T.Y. Hilton on the other side of him who’s going to attract all the attention,” Houshmandzadeh said.
“You’ve got a head coach in Frank Reich who really knows what he’s doing. And then you have that offensive line with a veteran quarterback in Philip Rivers. Philip Rivers is gonna love [Pittman]. He’s gonna give him so many opportunities to catch the 50/50 ball, and with Pittman it’s more like a 70/30 ball, and so yeah I expect him to produce and do very well.”
“Pitt is in a fantastic situation.”
Which former NFL receiver does Pittman remind T.J. of? Brandon Marshall
JMV asked Houshmandzadeh about why he likes working with and developing the next generation of pro wideouts:
“It’s fun for me being able to help these kids,” Houshmandzadeh said. “I was helped. I’d be selfish to die with what I feel is a lot of knowledge and not pass it on to the younger guys. I enjoy myself. And it’s not just physical, man. I talk to these kids about the mental aspects of mental toughness, mental confidence. It’s easy to be confident when things are going well. Can you maintain that confidence when things are going bad?”
“There’s a lot of coaching, there’s not a lot of teaching going on at the receiver position.”
T.J. pointed out three keys to maintaining a successful NFL career:
#1. “…Be a good person. You gotta treat people the right way. If you have to think about it, you’re not a good person.”
#2. “You have to avoid injury, a bit of good luck.”
#3. “You gotta find a team with a good quarterback and a good offensive line.”
“When you get to the football field as a receiver, create separation at the top of the route and beat press coverage. If you can do those two things, you’ll have a ton of success.”
Pittman, Jr. brings a ton of promise to a Colts team searching for their wide receiver of the future.
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