Kony Ealy turned it on late in the season after a slow start to his rookie year. With Greg Hardy out for his shenanigans, Ealy assumed a larger role in the defense than initially planned. It was an adjustment, epitomized in the criticism he received from Ron Rivera during training camp and Cam Newton's tough love as the offense faced down Ealy and the defense in the redzone in a team scrimmage.
Ealy didn't perform to the expectations held early, who General Manager Dave claimed claimed to have a 1st Round draft grade coming out of college. Ealy started to make some plays, however, Week 14 as Carolina got hot. One thing particularly impressive about this soft spoke giant was his positive reception of constructive criticism throughout this acclimatization period.
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It takes time for defensive ends to adjust to the pro game. It took both Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy two years before they started to be real disruptive forces. They both flashed, but there were times where seasoned offensive linemen swallowed them up. Ealy's rookie season was a little more trial by fire than had hoped, but it looks to be for the better. He gained valuable experienced and learned that the pros only become great by putting in work. From the looks of this training clip, Ealy has committed this offseason to continued improvement. Fans are hoping for a breakout year for Ealy, so drop a comment below telling us why you believe it will happen or not.