There was a series of insurance commercials a while back that had the theme "life comes at you fast." In the space of a 30-second spot, someone would go from seeming to be on top of the world to having very serious problems.
Life came at Justin Tryon fast on Thursday night.
In training camp he looked like a player on the rise. He was making plays like this one on a regular basis.
A couple of days before the preseason opener he was receiving praise from none other than Darrell Green who touted him as a potential starter. Against the Ravens he looked like he had the potential to hit the waiver wire.
Tryon's performance against the Ravens reminded one of Ade "Uh-Oh" Jimoh, who was burned on a regular basis. To be fair, however, Jimoh had value as a special teams demon, an excellent kick coverage man. That's how he made the cut year after year. Justin Tryon has yet to distinguish himself on kicking teams.
On Friday, Zorn said that Tryon was "soft":
He got a lot of attention. He was probably a little soft but he will learn some things from this football game. They picked on him and I think he will rise up. I think he is a good player.
You don't want your head coach saying that you were "soft" even if he finishes the thought by saying that you're a good player. Certainly, he does need to "rise up." In fact, he has no place to go but up.
Here's what Zorn said about Tryon on Saturday:
I think that Justin was assignment right, he didn't blow any coverages or anything like that. In my mind he was a little hesitant in driving on plays that he knew were coming but wanted to make sure. Just like a quarterback wanting to make sure that the read and the throw is there, but you have to anticipate. I think as he becomes more comfortable he'll start anticipating these things through reps and he'll be much more focused in closing that cushion.
So I guess that Zorn is saying that Tryon didn't make any actual mental mistakes, he just didn't execute. I would be feeling better if Tryon was in the wrong place—"assignment wrong" in Zorn-speak—rather than being on the right receiver but being out of position and unable to make a play on the ball.
Tryon needs to get it figured out in a hurry. Kevin Barnes, the team's third-round pick has struggled in practice and got burned for a touchdown against the Ravens. Byron Westbrook is trying to make the team for the third time after spending two years on the practice squad. Unfortunately for him, he can't be on the PS again because, for the third time, it looks like he may belong there.
If Tryon continues to be assignment right and execution wrong and it looks like Barnes' learning curve will extend into 2010 the team will have to take a serious look at available veterans and at the waiver wire.