I really like Ladarius Gunter.
I don’t know him as a person (although if you’re reading this, Gunt, I’m up for a beer), but I like him as a player.
He plays a physical game and is more athlete than people give him credit for.
The problem is he’s not super fast… and he plays corner. Not being super fast makes playing corner a lot harder. But last year, miscast as a number 1, he still managed to hold his own against stars like OBJ and Dez on the big stage. Julio got the best of him, but for fux sake, he’s the best receiver in the league!
Gunter opened camp as the starter on the outside, but was getting burned pretty bad according to reports.
Let’s not overreact, though, we should have saw this coming. The pussification of the NFL has reduced the start of training camp with what amounts to more non-contact OTAs. Long gone are the hard-hitting two-a-days that got players’ bodies ready for the brutality of the regular season – in their place is a flag football practice… a no-contact flag football practice… the kind of contactless event that even an overreacting soccer mom would let her grass fairy 11 year-old play in.
So what’s a physical corner like Gunter gonna do?
He’s gonna get beat at flag football.
Then get replaced by rookie Kevin King.
So on day 2 of training camp, Gunter got beat and was replaced by King.
It’s the way it should be. Rook is a physical freak and needs these reps to work on his footwork and spacing against pros. But the coaches didn’t hand it to him, they made him earn it… actually, it’s more like they made Gunter lose it, but the point is, there is no entitlement.
Don’t worry about my man Ladarius, though. Once the pads come on and you need some tight press coverage, he’ll be ready. He fills a role on this team. Not every team has a stable of shutdown corners, but having a super fast rookie to cover the speed guys and a guy like Gunter to mix it up when you need press coverage?
That’s nice to have.
Players will rotate all over in training camp anyway and in the precious few days they have in pads, they will rotate even more. It’s in those precious few days we’ll see Gunter at his best.
Only 12 days until the first preseason game – then the real stories will start.