As I'm sure many of you have, I've replayed the Panthers preseason game against the Ravens looking for whatever insight I could from the ability to pause and slo-mo the action. Lord I love having a DVR! I do plan an additional post on what I saw but what jumped out at me was the play of Dwayne Jarrett. Then I read a piece on him yesterday that seemed to validate what we saw in that game and hopefully will continue to see from him throughout the season.
Jarrett may not have made any spectacular plays against the Ravens but more key was he didn't make any mistakes that I saw. He ran his routes properly, he caught every catchable ball sent his way and made some nice blocks in the running game. When combined with his size and great hands I find myself saying something I thought I might never say.
Dwayne Jarrett looks ready to be the Panthers #2 WR!
What an effin epiphany huh? I'm been as skeptical as anyone on this guy and really figured he had a 10% chance of starting as our #2 WR back in April. Now I'm thinking he will be a solid option across from Smith given his likelihood of getting single coverage constantly. Though Brandon LaFell might be the future at the position he will still need a season like most WR's to adjust tot he speed of the game.
I say this not just based on the Ravens game but also this interview where even the writers are struck by how mature he now sounds, something they were not used to hearing from Jarrett:
"I wouldn't say I regret it. I just wasn't aware," Jarrett said of his first three years. "It was all a part of growing up and becoming a pro. I didn't quite fully understand that, what it took. The offseason workouts, watching your diet and the little things, the details of becoming a pro.
"Once I got it, I took it and I ran with it."
Panthers WR coack Tolbert: "I don't care about what he did in the past. He has a clean slate with me," Tolbert said. "When I got there and they were telling me about the guys, they had said he's been a little inconsistent and I said, 'You know what, I'm going to work with him and we'll see what he's going to be from this day forward.'
"He's done a great job up until this point, so hopefully he keeps it up."
"He doesn't have to be open to be open, if you know what I mean," Tolbert said.
"I think the more they've seen how hard I worked, especially coming in in shape this year, having good (organized team activities), they've seen the difference.
Hearing a young player spout the virtues of preparing during the offseason (hear that Mr Duke Robinson?) is music to my ears. So I've changed my tune on Mr. Jarrett this season and think he can and will be the #2 WR we need. Have you?