You could see it coming, but, honestly, I was still taken by surprise when the Redskins cut Devin Thomas. The conventional wisdom is, it takes about 2 seasons for most new pro WR’s to reach their “full potential effectiveness” (who knows what that really means?)… It’s, obviously, not all about talent, as that only provides your starting point.
It’s also about reading defenses, and truly understanding the options availible in response to those reads. It’s about knowing what the other receivers are doing, and understanding THEIR reads. It’s about learning to block in the run game, and in the pass game to facilitate RAC. It’s about consistency in running routes. It’s about being where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there. It’s about helping team mates to make plays.
Thomas reached a point where, apparently, it was clear to coaching that he was either not able or not willing to reach that point. I don’t think they required him to be perfect… but I’m sure they did require that he be striving for it…
Jerry Rice, Art Monk, and (notably in the case of Thomas) Keenan McCardell all strived to work harder than anyone else on the team. I honestly don’t know how effective a receiver’s coach McCardell is, but I’m pretty sure that he can recognize when a player is working hard… and when he’s not. McCardell was cut from the Redskins after spending his rookie season on IR… was fortunate enough to get picked up by the Browns, and outworked everyone, specializing in making the tough catch in the middle.
McCardell knows how to be an effective receiver. It appears that he also knows how to get the most from a receiver who is willing to work… look at Anthony Armstrong, who is not only playing, but is beginning to make a difference.
If McCardell thought that Thomas was worthy of continued investment, he’d probably still be on the squad. I place a lot of stock in his “been there, done that” evaluation. If he doesn’t see Thomas as working hard enough… well…
Maybe Thomas can figure it out elsewhere. Look at Brandon Lloyd. He seems to have finally figured it out… after how many teams, and how many miles?