LANDOVER, Maryland – You saw what Brian Tyms did Thursday night at FedEx Field.
Five catches, 119 yards, a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo on which he landed in the stands. Another 34-yard pass interference that brought the ball to the Redskins 4-yard line and actually should have been a touchdown had the officials seen that Tyms never let the ball touch the ground. A 53-yard reception after he’d beaten his man again.
It was the first preseason game, yes, and it was against players who are scrapping to make the Washington roster. But after Googling Tyms to get a little more background for this story, I learned Tyms story is pretty amazing.
To get to where he was Thursday night, Syms went through hell. And I’m not referring to being undrafted out of Florida A&M in 2012 and bouncing from the 49ers to the Dolphins to the Browns. I’m talking about making it through a traumatic childhood as an abused kid in foster care to where he is now.
Read this story by Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel from October 2012 to gain a more complete picture of Tyms life before getting to the NFL.
On Thursday, Tyms made a strong case for himself.
“I got a lot to prove,” Tyms said.
The 6-3, 204-pound Tyms was asked if he thinks he’s earning the respect of his teammates.
“I can’t tell you that," he said. "Only person who knows that is God. You ask any of the 89 other players and they can tell you. But I don’t worry about all that stuff. I just do what I’m coached to do and try to play for my teammates. I love this game and gave it my all.”
Tyms didn’t even start camp with the Patriots. He was signed on July 27. But he’s shown up in training camp as a capable downfield target. On Thursday night, he showed tremendous concentration and athleticism in bringing in balls that weren’t easy to corral.
In practices, he’s worked often with Garoppolo and other second-teamers and the combination of Garoppolo’s downfield precision and Tyms’ soft hands has been evident.
Asked if he and Garoppolo have built chemistry, Tyms said, "He was throwing a great ball, but you gotta give it up to the O-line too. And to the coaching staff for making great calls. It’s more than one guy. It doesn’t come down to just one person. … It’s everybody, not just one man.”
One of the toughest things about professional football is that the demand is always there to “do it again..”
Bill Belichick points out that every player in the league is capable of very good plays. The ones who deliver those with regularity and – almost as important – have very few bad plays – are the ones that stick.
Next week, the Philadelphia Eagles will be in Foxboro for more intersquad practices leading into Thursday’s game. Tyms won’t be starting from scratch but the Patriots will be watching to see if he’s consistently good or just “flashing” as they say in the business.
But for this night, Tyms was a rare bright spot in a forgettable preseason game.