Justin Tryon may play a key role in 2009
About a week or so before training camp started, I dashed off the following few paragraphs about Washington Redskins cornerback Justin Tryon. I didn't publish it immediately because I'd just posted a bunch of articles and it got buried. Here it is, below the fold:
My next candidate for 2009 camp phenom is cornerback Justin Tryon. I'll wait until the laughter subsides and then I'll continue.
Tryon was an anti-phenom in 2008. He left scorch marks wherever he went whether it was on the practice field or in preseason games. The stories in the press were far from complimentary. The fan base was willing to chip in and get him on the first plane out of town. When he made the final roster conspiracy theories abounded, the buzz being that he only made it because the front office had ordered that all of the draft picks make the final 53.
But for whatever reason he stuck and, when Shawn Springs was out with various injuries, he played a lot of dime and some nickel. In 14 games he made just four tackles. You didn't hear of him much. And, for a rookie cornerback, that's a good thing.
He's phenom material because he has speed and he has confidence. If he can get his hands on a ball he'll be able to do things with it. SportsCenter highlight kinds of things. Having a year under his belt will increase his confidence. Tryon will make some plays and get noticed.
We'll probably be seeing Tryon past August. With Springs gone he has a shot at being the regular dime back. That may or may not prove to be a disaster.
I found it a few days ago and I immediately wished that I had posted it before camp. By all accounts, Tryon is having a great camp. He's staying on the field, which is more than can be said for about a dozen and a half of his teammates. On top of that he received some help from one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history. Darrell Green didn't just give Tryon a few pointers; he spend six weeks with him, working with him in both Florida and Virginia.
After the teaching sessions, Tryon drew some high praise from someone who knows a thing or two about solid cornerback play.
"I'm gonna say that Justin Tryon, if he's given the chance, he's a starter in 2009, 2010 or whenever the opportunity comes," said Green "He is definitely qualified to be a starter in the National Football League. I'm putting my reputation on that after being with him for six weeks, seeing what I've seen from him. Hopefully he'll have his chance and be a Redskin for a long time."
Even before Green gave one of the most ringing endorsements I've ever heard from any former player Tryon was a player on the move. It was thought that third-round selection Kevin Barnes would push him for the No. 4 cornerback position. That hasn't happened and it's not only because of Barnes' health and performance issues. If Tryon isn't the dime back it will be because he has beaten out Fred Smoot for the nickel position.
While Tryon still have to get it done on the field to calm the skeptics, Green's endorsement makes one less to break out in a cold sweat at the thought of Tryon covering the slot receiver on a regular basis.