INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 14: Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals tries to avoid Jerry Hughes #92 of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14 2010 in Indianapolis Indiana. The Colts won 23-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jerry Hughes is a magician.
Throughout the 2011 training camp, he made several impressive plays every practice session. He quickly ducked around offensive tackles on one play, only to follow it up with powerful bull rush on the next.
For a brief few days in late July and early August, he gave fans like myself hope.
Then once the Colts preseason games opened up, his magic began.
As soon as Hughes took one step onto the Lucas Oil Field turf...Poof!
Gone. Disappeared. Invisible. Hughes' jersey, cleats, pads and helmet may as well have fallen into a useless clump on the ground.
I was stunned how Hughes could look so good on the practice field, yet so non-existent when it was time to play in a real game.
That's why when I saw tweets like these today, I told myself I wasn't going to fall for his tricks again.
Most impressive LB in first individual drill? Jerry Hughes, who was trucking tight ends.— George Bremer (@gmbremer) July 31, 2012
Jerry Hughes just flattened someone in blocking drills— LovinBlue (@LovinBlue) July 31, 2012
Luck's pass tipped in red zone and intercepted by Jerry Hughes.— George Bremer (@gmbremer) July 31, 2012
Nope. Not this time.
Even if Hughes is playing a new position as a 3-4 outside linebacker, I'm not going to take anything from updates like this. They were meaningless in 2011, and as far as I know, they're going to be meaningless in 2012.
This year, I'm waiting until Hughes does something in a live game that impresses me. So far in his two-year career, whether it was during preseason or the regular season, I can't think of anything positive he's done in any game.
So for any of you that started to get excited when you saw these tweets today, let me gladly piss in your Cheerios and tell you this:
Save your hopes and dreams that Hughes can actually become a decent NFL player for when he proves he can do it outside of practice.There are likely going to be other tweets throughout the rest of training camp that say Hughes did something positive. And that's a good thing. That's the way a first round draft pick in his third season should be performing on the practice field.
But it doesn't mean anything. And it won't until he proves he can do it for real.
If Hughes does become a legitimate contributor to this team this year, then I'll gladly eat my crow. He'll have earned it. But if he doesn't, then he'll be gone within the next month.
At this point, it's up to him.
UPDATE: Only about 20 minutes after I posted this, Hughes caught an interception off a tipped pass in practice. I decided to add a tweet about it into the article.