Carolina Panthers rookie defensive end Kony Ealy has had mixed reviews in camp.
Ealy spent the first week looking out of place, unable to match up well against even the third string offensive line. Since then, Ealy has made progress.
Progress is exactly what you want to see from a rookie.
I asked Head Coach Ron Rivera his thoughts on Ealy's performance.
"I thought Kony showed up" Rivera said. "He applied some pressure on the outside. He a did nice job of getting in the fold on the bootleg. Made a couple nice knifing tackles on some runs. He made some mistakes obviously that will get corrected, but he showed why we drafted him."
"I'm very pleased of the effort we got from him today." Rivera added.
Defensive ends rarely make an impact their rookie season. Starting veterans Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy also went through transitional periods from the college ranks to the pros. It is expected.
What coaches are looking for from Ealy is progress and the occasional flash of what he can grow to be. In this regard, Ealy is showing exactly what the coaches want to see.
"It's been a tough battle for him just getting used to the way we do things." Rivera remarked. "He came through for us today."
Ron Rivera was not the only one who noticed the improvements Ealy showed on Friday night.
As Ealy came off the field after showing real effort in a goal line defensive stand, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis was sure to let Ealy know his efforts were noticed.
If Kony Ealy's play was good enough for Thomas Davis's attention, it should most certainly be good enough for yours.