Performance in preseason games is important for young players trying to make a roster; no one would say otherwise. But practicing like a pro is vital, too.
Look no further than the case of Ravens rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette.
In the preseason opener at Tampa Bay, the seventh-round pick caught a touchdown pass.
However, two days later, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh chewed Mellette out for his practice play, calling him “lazy,” per BaltimoreRavens.com.
That’s hardly the way for a rookie drafted in the final round to make a good impression.
The good news for Mellette? He caught another touchdown pass in Thursday’s preseason win vs. Atlanta.
Most importantly for the rookie, Harbaugh liked Mellette’s game performance and his practice play this week.
“Aaron has had a good week of practice. Not just in the two games has he played well, but he’s had a great week of practice and I’d like to take credit for that,” Harbaugh said after the game, eliciting laughter from observers, per a transcript from the club.
“But, it probably wouldn’t be fair. I think he has done a great job of battling through some adversity and responding well to some hard coaching, and that’s the mark of a guy that I think has a lot of character, a lot of confidence – so, he’s done really well. [I’m] proud of him, very proud of him.”
Mellette didn’t hurt his cause to make the Ravens with the touchdown on Thursday night — and his preparation being up to Harbaugh’s standards was surely helpful.