When they're prompted to, an NFL head coach will always find something positive to say about someone who's on their roster, whether that guy is the starting quarterback or the third-string left guard who's 12 hours away from being released.
Because of that, it's necessary not to get too carried away when (insert coach here) praises (insert player here) on most occasions.
On most occasions.
Every so often, though, some especially complimentary remarks will be made that need to be noted instead of simply nodded at. That happened on Wednesday when Ron Rivera was asked for his initial impressions of Bryce Love.
"I really do appreciate how hard Bryce has worked in the offseason in terms of his rehab program," Rivera told reporters on Zoom. "From where he's come, it's been remarkable to watch. He's done a great job. Very smart, bright football player. Loves the game and works hard at it."
That's pretty kind stuff, right? But still, at this point, that all may seem fairly standard to you.
Well, here's where Rivera turned up the love for Love.
"He's a guy that's multi-dimensional," Rivera continued. "At Stanford, he didn't have to do a lot of routes and pass catching, but he's very capable and we're getting to see that. This is a guy that could be an every-down back for you. He's an explosive, dynamic player."
Now that is the section to care about. When words and phrases like "multi-dimensional," "every-down back," "explosive" and "dynamic" are all used in a matter of four sentences, antennas should go up and eyebrows should be raised.
Through two days of open practice with the Washington Football Team, Love has certainly looked quite promising in individual drills and full-squad work. The offensive backfield still needs to be sorted out — Antonio Gibson is someone else who could be primed for a lot of usage now that Derrius Guice is gone — but as Rivera described, Love could very well carve out a huge role right away.
As with any early camp riser — and especially when that camp riser is a running back who's yet to play a pro snap — anything more than measured optimism is probably too much.
That said, if the serious Rivera already appears so fond of Love, maybe it's acceptable for others to slightly dial up their interest. With the lack of preseason, someone on this offense is going to really surprise. Could Love be the one?