Today Joe Person wrote about the decision to bring in Legedu Naanee, and how Ron Rivera is wanting to send a clear message to the WRs not named Steve Smith. For 12 months now we've seen a group of players plagued by passivity, which, if left unchecked can all too easily become apathy. One of Smitty's primary gripes during training camp last year was feeling like the other WRs didn't want it enough, and were unwilling to talk to him about honing their craft, we know the end result. Regardless of how good David Gettis and Brandon LaFell were in 2010, they could have been much better if they showed a little more aggressiveness; not on the football field, but in winning their job.
Unfortunately, it seems history is repeating itself in this year's camp, and thankfully Ron Rivera won't let passivity slide.
More after the jump
In speaking to Person, Rivera said the following:
"Probably the biggest thing is we've had nobody step up other than Steve. We've got to find guys that are going to step up and challenge for the position [...] So this is an opportunity to have a guy that understands the system, knows the system, can help show the young guys how we do the system. What it takes to be a pro."
Unfortunately, it seems the coaching staff is hoping Naanee will essentially be what Steve Smith wanted to be a year ago, and in the end that had little effect. It's important not to throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater, because there is at least one member of the WR group who has shown the drive and determination needed, and that's Armanti Edwards who has continued to show that he simply wants it more than the two more polished receivers in Gettis and LaFell.
Rivera has singled out second-year receiver Armanti Edwards several times as one of the biggest surprises from the first week of training camp.
On the one hand it's extremely exciting to think of Armanti Edwards finally getting it, understanding how to be an NFL WR and making an impact, on the other it's very disheartening to not see players like Gettis and LaFell who are poised to breakout being held back by a lack of willpower. Obviously it's too early to make comparisons, but Dwayne Jarrett represents the result if a player never really developed the drive to be great; it's a trait far too many promising players have.
All we can hope is that the signing of Naanee lights a fire under David Gettis and Brandon LaFell, because nobody is going to truly be able to motivate them except themselves. Playing well on Sundays isn't enough, because this is the time that you earn your chances in this league.