Jake Ballard, who has caught two touchdown passes in the last two games (and had a third overturned on review) said he is happy to be shedding the image of being just a blocking tight end.
“I’m just glad I’m getting chances to run down the field and Eli is trusting me enough to get me the ball,” he said. “I’ll do anything the coaches ask me to do to help us win, and I’m definitely happy I’m trying to prove a lot of people wrong.”
Part of the reason he wasn’t projected to be a receiving threat is because of his stats in college. In four years at Ohio State he caught 34 passes for 377 yards. “I had more yardage in my senior year (in high school) than I did my whole career at Ohio State,” he said – although he was a little off and had 363 receiving yards his final year in high school.
How does he explain his ability to get open in the NFL?
“We have great receivers, so the tight end is going to be open,” he said. “Especially when they look at our receivers and they say ‘This is a 6-6, 275-pound end. He’s not a burner. We’re going to make him hurt us.’ That’s why I was open.”
I also asked Ballard what he thought about the stadium playing “Play That Funky Music White Boy” after his touchdown.
“Not my cup of tea,” he said of his taste in tunes, “but it works.”