We’re through five days of camp and the cream is starting to rise to the top. After day one it there was an early lead among some of the young talent — Hunter Renfrow . The rookie fifth round pick made a couple nice looking catches on veteran cornerback Lamarcus Joyner which opened some eyes; both to his potential talents and with shock that Joyner could be worked like that by a rookie.
That was the last time we saw Renfrow best Joyner.
“It’s been awesome,” Joyner said of facing Renfrow. “We’ve been counting the reps. He came up to me the other day and was like, ‘We’re 2-1.’ He was winning, so I was like, ‘I hate to break it to you, you’re not catching any more balls.’”
Joyner says it has been a friendly competition between the two of them. But he wasn’t kidding about him making sure Renfrow doesn’t catch any more balls on him. And according to Joyner, it was shame more than anything that did the trick.
“I think it was Coach Gruden and [offensive coordinator] Coach Olson teasing me,” said Joyner. “They came over and said, ‘Hey, we told you to help mentor the guy, not get your butt kicked.’ I’m like, ‘Woah, woah, slow your roll.’ I was like, ‘You just opened up a can of worms there.’ So it’s been competition. My mindset with him has been Sunday, game on the line, it’s third down. I have to approach that with him because he’s a very great route runner.”
To be clear, Renfrow hasn’t been silent in camp. He’s made a few catches. He just hasn’t victimized Joyner since that first day. As a rookie, he’s still early in his development and has a lot to learn. Which he will learn going against the likes of Joyner.
“Just going against the best. I feel like if I’m able to get open against him, I’ll be able to get open against anybody,” said Renfrow. “So, it’s a good gut check every day. And just a good competition for me to be able to go against him. It’s the confidence. If I can beat him, then I feel like I can beat most corners.”
When fans hear of one-on-one battles, they often want to know if it’s more a product of how good one guy is or how bad the other guy is. Sometimes it’s not about either. And sometimes it’s about both.
This may be a case of Joyner showing how good he is, but that his talent shouldn’t reflect too poorly on Renfrow. These rookies heads are spinning at this point. Renfrow has a lot going for him. He just has a long way to go.
“Like Coach Gruden said, and I feel the same thing; if you can beat me then you can beat any nickel in this league,” said Joyner. “He’s been getting it done and I’ve been competing with him. He’s going to be Sunday-ready when it’s time to go.”
That’s the plan.