For two weeks, in the relative anonymity of the NovaCare practice fields, Shelton Gibson couldn't catch a thing.
The drops outnumbered the catches, and, for a rookie wide receiver, that is not a good sign.
"I've been going through a lot," Gibson said.
Put him in front of 36,000 people in the open practice at the Linc on Sunday morning, and Gibson shined.
Gibson flashed Sunday with several big catches in various drills, including a tumbling catch of a deep ball from Matt McGloin with Tra Sullivan in coverage during 1-on-1's that got the crowd roaring.
It was only one day, but it was a big step for Gibson, who ranked fifth in NCAA Division I over the last three years with 22.6 yards per catch.
"Today was a pretty good day for me," Gibson said. "Just helped me out a little bit, just giving me the confidence that I can go up and get the ball.
"It’s just confidence. Just trying to build it up every day, and coming out here and getting in front of these fans builds it up even more. These are hard fans to please and hearing that roar of them celebrating is always helpful."
It's seemed through the first couple weeks of camp that Gibson was fighting the football. He hasn't looked comfortable, and until you're comfortable with the plays, you're not going to catch the ball consistently.
Gibson said he's been struggling with his confidence throughout training camp, but he also said making a few plays like he did Sunday definitely helps. Especially the deep ball from McGloin.
"That was big," he said. "That’s a play I have to make. If I’m going to play in the NFL, I have to make that catch."
It's interesting that with no crowds — or just a couple hundred invited guests — Gibson struggled.
But put him in an NFL stadium in front of nearly 40,000 hardcore Eagles fans and he blossomed.
“I just need to relax and know that I’m here for a reason," he said. "They drafted me for a reason and I need to just, every single day, come out and compete.
"I can play this game. I just need to bring it out and show it consistently. Today was a good day. I just need to put together a lot more good days.
"You've got to compete with the best up here, so I had to come out here and show that I can."
Despite a very tough training camp — up until Sunday, at least — Gibson has kept a positive attitude. He feels like if he keeps working hard, things will turn around.
Maybe Sunday was the start of that.
"Some days I have bad days," he said. "Hopefully I won't have any more bad days.
"It's been tough. I just want to get better every day. I'm one of those people who, if I have a bad day one day, I just try to come out the next day and forget about it and do my best.
"I just have to pick up my game. I'm not comfortable. I'm not where I want to be. I know that, the coaches know that. I'm just pushing to that point."