Forgive the extended quotation from Rivals, but I thought this tidbit from LaTerryal Savoy was interesting:
"Honestly, I think [the outside receivers] were all expecting to make a bigger contribution than we did, and it was mentally trying to go play after play, game after game, without the ball coming our way more often. There were games where it felt like we didn't even touch the ball. I don't know if that was the plan, but it's how things went and it was frustrating. I really don't know how to explain the inconsistency of it all. I'm not someone to complain--I feel everything happens for a reason and I put my faith in God--but we'd go back and look at the film, we saw that we were open. The key was staying patient and be ready when your number was called, but some guys are more patient than others."
This clearly suggests that some of our players weren't giving their all. That's very diappointing. Talent is often the culprit for M's struggles (see Misopogen), but effort is a factor, too. Granted, we didn't have the most talented receiving corps this season, but if we could have had open targets a bit more often later in the season, we could have avoided squandering a lot of third downs conversions. Two things then: (1) RR needs to include more passes to the outside or down the field to keep his receivers engaged throughout the course of the season (talent notwithstanding); or (2) we had character problems among the receiving corps this season, and that may just go away with player turnover. I've suspected that Mathews was a guy who never really bought in to the RR program, and being the senior leader, his passive resistance may have rubbed off.
Either way, this has to be a concern going forward. Effort is usually on the coach. Or maybe having "his guys" in leadership positions will be enough for RR. Although, given that Hemmingway and Stonum are Carr recruits, it may serve the team well to throw the ball to the outside more for morale's sake. Tate's added maturity will help.