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10 Sep 2005

Weighing in on Champ Bailey

Guest column by Sean McCormick

At least one debate has raged on football websites this summer that has nothing to do with whether Tom Brady or Peyton Manning is better. Instead, the subject of the debate has been star Denver cornerback Champ Bailey. Going into last season, Bailey was widely considered the best cornerback in the league, a player capable of controlling one side of the field on his own with his cover skills, and the only thing up for debate was just how lopsided was the trade that brought Bailey and a second round pick to Denver in exchange for Clinton Portis.

Denver opened the year strong, going 5-1 and playing excellent defense, during which time Bailey's reputation remained intact. But something funny happened on the way to the Pro Bowl: Bailey played in two nationally televised games, first a Monday Night game on the road at Cincinnati, and then a Sunday Night game at home in the snow against Oakland, and in each game he was absolutely torched. Chad Johnson caught seven passes against Bailey for 149 yards and a touchdown. Jerry Porter did just as much damage, catching six balls for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Those two games didn't destroy Bailey's reputation — at the end of the regular season he still received a Pro Bowl nomination for his play — but they did raise questions. And when Denver went into Indianapolis on wild card weekend and gave up 49 points, those questions became louder. Bailey couldn't really be blamed for the result; he spent most of the day lined up across from Marvin Harrison and watching helplessly while Reggie Wayne made Roc Alexander infamous throughout greater Colorado. Nevertheless, Bailey's presence in the lineup did nothing to help Denver defend the Colts' explosive pass attack, a fact that was made even more difficult to ignore when the Patriots smothered that same Colts attack the next week with a patchwork secondary.

So, let's just get the questions out in the open. Is Champ Bailey overrated as a player? Is he one of the best corners in the league or not? And did his presence on the Broncos make any difference at all last year?

Bailey's supporters — and there are many — tend to bring up the same few arguments to explain away the very public lapses in Bailey's game. They talk about his physical ability, usually by bringing in a quote from an NFL player or scout that declares Bailey to be an unparalleled cover man. They suggest that Bailey was asked to play on an island all year long, matched up one-on-one against the best receivers in the league. They play up other elements of his game, such as his tackling ability. And when in doubt, they fall back and insist that last year really wasn't as bad as it looked, and that if you watched the Denver defense play, you could see that Bailey was making a big difference. Sporting News' NFL columnist Dan Pompei recently wrote an article that enumerated every one of these points.

Pompei touches all the bases. He begins with a quote from Peyton Manning praising Bailey's “unbelievable cover skills.� He cites the STATS, Inc numbers showing that Bailey allowed 49 completions on the 83 balls thrown in his direction, a 59% completion percentage, but then turns around and insists that this number is not so bad considering the amount of man coverage Bailey was playing.

Pompei makes no attempt to provide any sort of context for this assertion. He doesn't provide the completion percentages of any other corners to compare with Bailey's, nor does he provide any evidence suggesting that corners playing man defense give up a higher completion percentage than those playing primarily zone coverage (the statistical evidence provided in Scientific Football 2005 suggests otherwise).

Pompei then pulls out his big guns, declaring that Bailey was assigned to shadow the opposing team's top receiving threat in 11 games last year, and that in 8 of the 11 games, Bailey held that receiver below their season average in yards. Only Chad Johnson, Jerry Porter, and Peerless Price (yes, that Peerless Price) had better-than-average games against Bailey. Pompei mentions Bailey's 84 tackles, fourth highest on the team. He explains away the gaffes against Cincinnati and Oakland, and declares, “Critics used those three plays to define Bailey's season, even though he was on the field for about 1,000 snaps.�

Then, curiously, Pompei hedges his bets at the end, noting that Bailey shouldn't be expected to handle Randy Moss one-on-one next year, that the rules currently favor the receiver over the defender so much that the days of the shutdown corner are over, and that Bailey is, considering the offensive environment, about as good as a corner can be.

Despite the high profile nature of playing cornerback in the NFL, and despite all the attention (and money) lavished upon the position by NFL teams, cornerback is arguably the most difficult position for fans to evaluate. There are a number of reasons for this. The vast majority of football fans watch the games on television, and ninety percent of cornerback play is invisible on television broadcasts. The corners disappear just after the snap, and unless the ball is thrown in their direction there is no way to know how well the corner was handling his assignment.

The problem is compounded by the lack of a significant statistical footprint for the position. There are benchmark numbers for most positions that a casual fan can look at to ascertain how a corner is playing. A quarterback might throw for 300 yards in a game or 3,000 yards in a season; a running back can average above 4.0 yards per carry; a linebacker can make 100 tackles in a year. Cornerback has no equivalent mark, and a brief glance at Bailey's conventional stat line gives very little indication as to what kind of year he had:


Champ Bailey 2004 Traditional Statistics
Games Tackles Assists Sacks Fum. F. Fum. R. Int. Pass Def.
16 68 13 0 0 0 3 12

Tackles don't tell you much; it might mean that a player is solid in run support or that he is making tackles on receivers downfield instead of preventing receptions. Corners aren't likely to rack up big sack numbers, particularly if they don't play nickelback. Passes defensed and interceptions seem like the most relevant stats, but the best corners are likely to have a low number of each simply because teams don't throw in their direction all that much. What we need, in short, are better ways of tracking cornerback play.

Thankfully, several people are trying to address this need, but taking distinctly different routes to do so. Football Outsiders and Roland Beech of Two Minute Warning have built upon the successful play concept first pioneered by Pete Palmer, Bob Carroll, and John Thorn in The Hidden Game of Football and analyzed the conventional statistics in a way that sheds more light on how effective a cornerback's play was in the context of the defense as a whole. The defensive unit DVOA information (explained here) provided in Pro Football Prospectus 2005 provides a more sophisticated means for examining how successful a defense was at stopping each part of a passing attack. In his book Scientific Football 2005, KC Joyner has created his own set of statistics that fill in many of the gaps in conventional measurements.

The defensive playmaker statistics featured in both Roland Beech's Two Minute Warning site and in Pro Football Prospectus 2005 are probably the best place to start. The numbers do not show the opportunities a defensive player has to make plays, but they do show which players are most active on the field. They also provide welcome context, as they take Bailey's conventional statistical line and recast it to better demonstrate how Bailey's play contributed to Denver's defensive success.

For those unacquainted with the units of measurement, plays represent any play that the defender was involved in, stops refer to how many of those plays were successful at preventing offensive success (defined as 45% of the necessary yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and 100% on third or fourth down), defeats refer to the number of plays where the defender forced a change of possession, made a stop behind the line of scrimmage, or forced a fourth down, and stop rate percentage simply denotes the percentage of total plays that were stops.

Here is Bailey's PFP line, as compared with every other starting cornerback last year:

Champ Bailey 2004 PFP Numbers
Plays Stops Defeats Avg. Yards Stop Rate
Total 94 45 24 8.5 48%
Rank t. 9th t. 3rd t. 3rd t. 40th t. 6th

By this set of measurements, Bailey was an elite corner in almost every respect. His stop number, his defeats, and his stop rate percentage were all tremendous. The Denver pass defense had a DVOA of –32% last year, second in the league, and that number was undoubtedly bolstered by having a cornerback who was involved in a stop on 48% of his plays, and a defeat on 26% of his plays.

The average yards per play jumps off the page, but all it really does is confirm what everyone already knew — Bailey had a difficult time handling some deep throws last year. When Bailey was beaten, he was beaten for big yardage, but the rest of the time he was active and very effective. Looking at this stat line, one would be tempted to conclude that the Bailey supporters are right and that's that.

But there are still a few things that are troubling. The play number is pretty high for an elite cornerback — by comparison, Chris McAlister was involved in 56 plays last year, Patrick Surtain in 70, Sam Madison in 59. Still, there were quite a few elite cornerbacks who had fantastic years while being involved in as many plays or more, including Nate Clements (94), Dunta Robinson (106), Sheldon Brown (109) and Ronde Barber (109). What's more surprising is that Bailey was involved in the same number of plays as Denver's other starter, Kelly Herndon, suggesting that teams did not shy away from throwing at Bailey, even with a less regarded player on the other side. But the most surprising thing of all is that you can see why teams were going after Bailey: because as good as his PFP numbers were, Kelly Herndon's were better in every respect.

Kelly Herndon 2004 PFP Numbers
Plays Stops Defeats Avg. Yards Stop Rate
Total 94 57 27 4.7 61%
Rank t. 9th 1st 1st 1st 1st

According to the PFP numbers, Kelly Herndon was without question the most effective cornerback in the NFL last season. His stop rate was off the charts — the next closest corner was Fred Smoot at 51%, and Smoot benefited from being involved in 17 fewer plays. If you just glanced at these PFP numbers, and you happened to know that Denver ranked 6th in the league last year in pass defense, or that they ranked 4th in DVOA against the pass, you would think that the Broncos had the best set of corners in the league, and that they were probably trying to nail down a long-term extension with Herndon right now.

But of course, that's not what happened this off-season. The Broncos had a choice as to which free agent cornerback to place a first round tender on, and they decided to put it on Lenny Walls, a player who performed terribly in 2004. Teams were handing out ten million dollar signing bonuses to cornerbacks at a drop of a hat — Ken Lucas, the man Herndon was brought in to Seattle to replace, received a whopping $14 million bonus from Carolina. So how is it that a player that seemingly played so well at an impact position like cornerback was overlooked (only in the NFL can a five-year, $15 million dollar contract with a $4.5 million signing bonus be considered getting “overlooked�) while teams threw bouquets and cash at the likes of Anthony Henry?

There are two possible answers. The first is that the Seattle Seahawks just pulled off a major coup, the defensive back equivalent of the Chiefs' signing Priest Holmes away from Baltimore. If that's the case, we won't know it until this season when the Seahawks secondary improves radically and the team walks away with the division. The second possibility is that there is important information that is being missed by the PFP numbers. And until we can explain what is going on with Kelly “Lockdown� Herndon, we can't accept Bailey's PFP numbers as being a truly accurate reflection of his play.

We already know that the PFP numbers, like the conventional statistics they are based on, do not take into account the quality of opposition. We know that Bailey was matched up against the #1 receiver in most of Denver's games. That leaves the #2 receiver for Herndon, and a quick glance at Denver's schedule shows that the Broncos played a steady diet of teams without viable #2 receiving threats. Look at how the receivers rated for each of Denver's opponents:

#1 and #2 Receivers on Denver's 2004 Schedule
Team #1 Receiver DPAR #2 Receiver DPAR
KC Eddie Kennison 24.7 Johnnie Morton 19.3
JAC Jimmy Smith 19.7 Reggie Williams -7.7
SD Eric Parker 16.2 Reche Caldwell 4.4
TB Michael Clayton 39.8 Joey Galloway 13.0
CAR Mushin Muhammed 41.5 Keary Colbert 7.2
OAK Jerry Porter 5.3 Doug Gabriel 1.5
CIN Chad Johnson 24.0 TJ Houshmandzadeh 31.0
ATL Peerless Price -8.3 Dez White -1.3
HOU Andre Johnson 18.4 Jabar Gaffney 16.7
NO Joe Horn 41.6 Donte Stallworth 10.1
OAK Jerry Porter 5.3 Doug Gabriel 1.5
SD Eric Parker 16.2 Keenan McCardell* 1.2
MIA Chris Chambers 5.0 Marty Booker -3.2
KC Eddie Kennison 24.7 Johnnie Morton 19.3
TEN Derrick Mason 22.1 Drew Bennett 23.6
IND Marvin Harrison 28.6 Reggie Wayne 44.0
IND Marvin Harrison 28.6 Reggie Wayne 44.0

*Between Denver's two games with San Diego, Caldwell was placed on IR, and McCardell was signed to start for him.

These numbers are telling enough, but they actually require further qualification. Bailey was sometimes used to cover Tony Gonzalez (DPAR 43.1) and Antonio Gates (DPAR 35.3), who were in fact the top receivers on Kansas City and San Diego, respectively. In the first Indianapolis game, Jim Sorgi was at quarterback, while in the second game Herndon was matched up on Brandon Stokley, not Reggie Wayne. Bailey had a very tough slate of receivers to deal with, while Herndon was generally matched up against a receiver with no better than average ability.

While this list at least provides a degree of perspective, it still doesn't go nearly far enough in addressing the disparity between Herndon's outstanding PFP numbers and his perceived value around the league. An elite #2 corner is in its own way as valuable a commodity as a top #1 corner, as it allows you to leave him out on an island and roll your coverage elsewhere. In fact, most of the cornerbacks who switched teams in free agency were brought in to be second corners. It still seems likely that there was some element of Herndon's performance that isn't coming though. For that we turn to KC Joyner.

In the beginning of Scientific Football 2005, Joyner lays out the five areas where he felt current statistical tracking was insufficient. He wanted to know which defensive back was responsible for coverage on any given play, what the quality of the coverage was, what percentage of passes are completed against each defensive back, how many more completions the defensive back would have surrendered if not for drops or bad passes, and how much of a defensive back's yardage was surrendered while playing prevent defense. He then set about creating a database that would track exactly that sort of information. He watched a lot of game film, charted every passing play, and entered the results into his database. For more on Scientific Football 2005, see Jim Armstrong's review.

Sure enough, the holes in Herndon's game show up. Herndon was targeted for passes 96 times and gave up completions on 54.2% of those attempts. Those numbers are reasonable, but the yardage Herndon surrendered was not. He gave up 771 yards, 8.0 yards per pass attempt. The reason why the yardage total is so high is that Herndon struggled defending deep passes. He only allowed a 30.8% completion percentage on deep routes, but 323 of the yards — over 40% of his total — were given up on deep routes. Herndon played almost exclusively up on the line, which put him in position to provide the kind of run support that cut his yards per play in his PFP rankings down to nearly half of his yards per pass attempt. Unfortunately, that left him vulnerable to the deep ball.

Perhaps the most telling stat about Herndon is not the big plays he gave up but the big plays he could very easily have given up. Herndon had sixteen passes that could have been caught against him but weren't, and those passes would have resulted in an additional 303 yards for the offense. Admittedly, this is a bit of a subjective exercise on Joyner's part, but he applies the same standard to every defensive back, and by Joyner's reckoning only seven cornerbacks in the league were in danger of giving up more yardage than Herndon.

Let's get back to Bailey. In addition to his scouting profile, Joyner also puts out a fantasy football guide at the beginning of each season, and it is clear from his summary on Bailey in the 2004 preview that he was high on the corner and considered his acquisition a major coup for the Broncos. It is also clear that he was aware of a flaw in Bailey's game that was observable back in 2003, a flaw that would become more obvious to everyone as the 2004 season got underway:

“As oxymoronic as this may sound, Bailey was a very good corner on every type of route except a go route. Bailey was beaten on go routes on many occasions and by many receivers. Bailey was beaten on 8 go routes last year. Not all of them were caught, but most of them were, and some of the ones that were incomplete were due to penalties on Bailey.

Bailey isn't a shutdown corner the way that Ty Law is, or even as a lot of other top level CBs are. He'll give up some big plays and get big penalties called on him. He was also beaten at times on shorter routes more often than you might expect. I'm not trying to say that Bailey isn't a top notch CB, or that he isn't a shutdown corner. He simply doesn't dominate the same way the top level CBs do.�

While Joiner breaks down each corner's performance into forty different categories divided by the type and length of route being run against them, there are clearly a few metrics which are more important than the rest: attempts, yards given up, touchdowns given up, total completion percentage, yards per attempt, tight/good coverage percentage, deep attempts and deep completion percentage.

Because Joyner breaks down game tape for every corner that had at least fifty passes thrown in his direction, he is able to effectively gauge a corner's relative performance in every aspect; for each of the forty categories, every corner is ranked. And when Bailey's numbers are put in context, they not only fail to look dominating, they look below average. Here is how Bailey fared in each of the crucial categories, along with how Kelly Herndon managed on the other side, and how the Denver secondary did as a whole:

Scientific Football 2005 Cornerback Stats*
Denver Defense Champ Bailey Kelly Herndon
Value Rank Value Rank Value Rank
Att N/A N/A 90 t. 32nd 96 t. 22nd
Yds N/A N/A 778 67th 771 65th
TDs 19 t. 8th 7 t. 71st 3 t. 21st
Comp% 54.1% 8th 63.3% 67th 54.2% t. 33rd
Yds/Att 7.3 t. 20th 8.6 t. 65th 8.0 56th
Tight/Good% 17.2% t. 7th 15.6% t. 71st 33.3% t. 3rd
Deep Att N/A N/A 24 t. 16th 26 t. 14th

*Joyner's number of attempts and completion percentage for Bailey is different than the STATS, Inc numbers cited by Pompei in part because he is including playoff games, but also because Joyner keeps his own statistics and is a bit prone to error, as most of his numbers gravitate a little high or low.

Bailey was targeted 90 times to Herndon's 96, an exceedingly high number for a player that is supposed to intimidate the offense. Generally, when there is an elite caliber corner on one side and a clearly less talented player on the other, offenses will target the second corner, a fact that comes out in the attempts distribution. Gary Baxter had 108 attempts, while on the other side Chris McAlister had only 65. Terrence McGee saw 126 passes thrown his way to Nate Clements's 88. Phillip Buchanon was targeted 76 times to Charles Woodson's 58. But in Denver, home to the supposedly best corner in the game, the pass distribution was almost even.

Clearly, offenses were not intimidated by the prospect of going after Bailey, and the rest of the numbers demonstrate why. Bailey gave up a high completion percentage on both deep patterns and short patterns (50% on the deep balls, 73.6% on the short stuff; his completion percentage on medium routes was a reasonable but by no means dominant 46.2%). His yardage total is very high, his yards per attempt is lower-tier, and the seven touchdowns Bailey surrendered made him one of the worst corners in the league in that department. Bailey gave up 12 receptions on deep patterns for 425 yards -- over half of his total yardage -- and four of his seven touchdowns came on those twelve receptions. It's exceedingly difficult to reconcile those numbers with Pompei's assertion that Bailey was being unfairly judged on the basis of three plays.

Does this mean we should discount Bailey's PFP numbers? Not necessarily. For starters, Joyner does not make any attempt to measure a defensive back's contribution to run defense. That's understandable, as a couple of tackles on running backs should not make up for getting toasted on deep balls. But Denver's rushing defense graded out as seventh in the league according to DVOA, and in part that was due to the tackling prowess of its starting corners. Joyner also makes no attempt to put a defensive back's performance on any given play into proper context. After all, giving up 10 yards on 3rd and 12 is a successful play for a defender, and Bailey's PFP numbers suggest that when he wasn't giving up the deep ball, he was very effective at preventing successful plays.

Then again, if Bailey was so effective, why doesn't it come through more in Denver's DVOA numbers? Yes, Denver was fourth in the league in passing DVOA, but a closer inspection of the numbers provided in Pro Football Prospectus 2005 shows that Denver's high ranking was almost entirely due to its tremendous ability to cover the tight end (-43.6%, 2nd) and running backs (-48.8%, 2nd). Their DVOA versus #1 receivers was only 7.4%, a substantial improvement over the year before Bailey's arrival, but still below average.

Denver's DVOA against #2 receivers actually got significantly worse in 2004, dropping from –9.1% to 14.4%, which both highlights the strangeness of Herndon's PFP numbers and throws into doubt the notion that Bailey's presence allowed the team to roll coverage effectively to the other side of the field. Both Herndon and Bailey played very little soft coverage, and it seems likely that both corners were in good position to help make plays against running backs coming out of the backfield.

Bailey's more active games show him bringing down backs over and over. In his week one game against Kansas City, for instance, seven of his eight plays were either run stops or tackling a back who had caught a pass out of the backfield. In the second game, against San Diego, Bailey made half of his six plays against Eric Parker, his primary coverage responsibility, and the other half against LaDanian Tomlinson. Against New Orleans, Bailey made four tackles on runs by Deuce McAllister, as well as another tackle on a McAllister reception.

The downside of Denver's playing its corners so close to the line was that both players put themselves in positions where they could and did get beaten deep. It's also highly likely that the reason Bailey's personal numbers look better than the DVOA against #1 receivers numbers is that he wasn't around to make tackles on plays that beat him deep, leaving a safety to clean up the mess and get tagged with a failed stop (Kennoy Kennedy posted just a 30% stop rate, and John Lynch a 38% stop rate, despite the fact that Kennedy played well and Lynch played very well last year).

No one doubts that Champ Bailey has a terrific skill set to play the cornerback position, but the first rule of playing cornerback is that you don't let yourself get beat deep, and for whatever reason Bailey has been reluctant to learn it. He had a problem with deep balls in 2003, and he had a bigger problem in 2004, when teams began to go after him in earnest.

In fact, Bailey's susceptibility to the deep ball ended up hurting other areas of his game as well; once teams started running deep posts against him on every play, Bailey's production against the run game went way down. Looking over Bailey's 2004 season as a whole, he clearly had a few bad games mixed in with a lot of good ones, and he should be given credit for having done well against a very tough slate of receivers. But an elite corner can't afford to be so vulnerable against the deep pass, and if Bailey doesn't correct his problem before Randy Moss comes to town, he may find himself with a lot fewer supporters this time next year.

Posted by: Guest on 10 Sep 2005

67 comments, Last at 22 Jul 2007, 10:45pm by Chris L

Comments

1
by BHW (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 5:55pm

I think this is a good and accurate look at Champ's performance last year. I really fear him vs. Randy Moss -- I think Moss is going to carve him up, as long as Collins can get him the ball.

The one thing I take issue with is the notion that Lenny Walls played poorly last season. He was injured for most of the year, likely hurt when he did play, and his stats in PFP 2005 are pretty similar to Bailey's. If he's healthy, he should be a good contributor.

2
by kevin (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 5:55pm

simply an OUTSTANDING artilce . . . that's all that needs to be said . . .

3
by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 6:21pm

I'm curious as to Woodson's numbers. A lot of people seem down on his skills, and don't think of him as an elite corner... Was his target number so low, because Buchanon stunk, or just that the Raiders stunk in every area?

4
by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 6:24pm

Thank you for such an informative well-written article. Is there a way for me to evaluate other cornerbacks (or possibly defensive backs) as you did?

5
by kleph (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 6:30pm

this is the type of article that keeps me coming back to FO with regularity. and with the background provided by the strategy mini-camps i can grasp the larger effects of this analysis better than i could before. great stuff, guys.

6
by Fiver (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 7:29pm

Fantastic breakdown. Just great stuff.

Ozzie Newsome, hire this man!

7
by Moses (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 8:15pm

By my count Bailey gave up 7 passing TDs last year. The Broncos, as a team, gave up just 17 passing TDs.

I think Bailey gets over-rated (in part) because he's a very good short-area guy and can pick quick-outs and poorly thrown passes to the flat. But when teams want to go deep on him...

I wonder if he puts in the film study. He just bites on too many double moves and, too frequently, lets WRs run up on him, burning up his cushion before he realizes it. If a WR is even with a CB when the CB turns to run, it's all over, the CB is already beat.

8
by Moses (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 8:26pm

I’m curious as to Woodson’s numbers. A lot of people seem down on his skills, and don’t think of him as an elite corner… Was his target number so low, because Buchanon stunk, or just that the Raiders stunk in every area?

The Raiders SAFETIES were very weak in pass defense last year. Something that has been a chronic problem, despite attempts to address it. And teams would attack the middle of the field more than the edges.

9
by Jimmy Two Times (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 8:27pm

Wow. Just wow.

If you folks could turn this "Weighing in on..." into a weekly feature, you'd be making this little boy very, very happy. That's just an amazing atricle.

10
by ben-jamin-on-bassgtr (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 8:27pm

The best article I've read on pro football this year. I'd love to see a follow-up with every team's top corner compared to the league average.

(Hey, that wouldn't be a lot work, now would it ;-) ?)

11
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 8:45pm

Have to chime in and agree here, that was one of the best breakdowns of a single player I've read in a while.

12
by someone (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 9:35pm

Thats a very interesting article, but the conclusion seems to be that Bailey is vulnerable to the deep ball, which is not exactly revolutionary. Meanwhile, the Denver D is extremely strong against the run, against covering the tight end, and one set of stats has Kelly Herndon as a premier corner. Wonder what the single factor influencing all those could be?

And thats the rub, the presence of a premier corner probably makes itself felt in ways that even an enlightened statistical approach can't really document properly, because the point of a premier corner is that he is a stat-free zone. Tabulating number of passes thrown at him and completion % and yards gained is a good start, but they are extremely blunt tools to use to evaluate a player without the context of the responsibilities of that player in a team's coverage schemes are and therefore his relative importance.

13
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 10:39pm

Great, great article. I only have two quibbles with it.

First, you mention that Denver's passing DVOA is so high in large part because their DVOA against TEs is ridiculous. As you stated in the article, Bailey was frequently matched up against Gonzo and Gates, and the fact that Denver held those two to 4 of their worst games of the season is a direct result of Bailey (and a big reason why Denver did so good against TEs).

Second, I would be interested in seeing if anyone had any numbers for how often Champ Bailey was in 1-on-1 coverage with the other team's elite WR compared to the other "elite" CBs in the league. For instance, McCallister faces fewer passes against him, but how often is he just left completely 1-on-1 with the other team's #1? I think it's possible that some of Bailey's numbers look so bad because of how much more frequently he was in single coverage than anyone else in the league. Which doesn't bother me so much. Sure, Bailey will be giving up some big plays because he's 1-on-1, but Denver will be preventing a lot of other plays because they don't worry about Champ's side of the field.

I see a lot of flaws in his game, of course, and don't think "shutdown" CBs exist anymore, but I still can't think of anyone I'd rather have for my CB1.

14
by Josh (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 11:02pm

Excellent article, would like to see things like this regularly if possible.

15
by Kandon K (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 11:18pm

This is a decent article but doesn't account for things that many of these other elite corners or NE's "patchwork secondary" has vs what Denver did not.

A PASS RUSH. It doesn't matter how good your CB's are w/o a pass rush any QB will eventually find an open man. Take a lookat pro bowl games (where you cannot blitz) you have the cream of the crop in secondarys and routinely see both teams scoing 30+.

When Denver played Atlanta Herndon covered Price not Bailey.

Most of Chad Johnsons yards came on one play where Bailey fell down.....
and again look how much time Carson Palmer had to throw the ball.

Of course the Indinapolis game got lopsided, Denvers offense did next to nothing the first half and NO PRESSURE on Manning.

Take into account the amount of one on one coverage coupled with average time of qb's to pass the ball against their Defense.....or at very least a formula for pass rush generated.

How many other negative turnover ratio teams made the playoffs? It was the offense that cause an early exit not the D. If Denver's O has 5 less turnovers last year they go 13-3 and sitting on a home field game.

16
by bobzmuda (not verified) :: Sat, 09/10/2005 - 11:22pm

This isn't too surpising of a conclusion to Redskin fans that have been paying attention the past few years. Bailey has really regressed since his second year in the league.

I'm a bit disappointed that the article doesn't mention one of Bailey's biggest flaws: his lack of ball skills. For a supposedly elite CB Bailey shows a surprising lack of awareness of where the ball is located.

17
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 1:54am

Wonderful article. Many thanks for doing the research and writing this... it has been a much debated subject here.

#16: Bailey has regressed and has poor ball skills? Washington fans are unsurprised?

2000: WAS pass defense DVOA: -31.7%, 3rd in the league. Bailey goes to the Pro Bowl.
2001: WAS pass defense DVOA: -20.2%, 8th in the league. Bailey goes to the Pro Bowl.
2002: WAS pass defense DVOA: -13.3%, 4th in the league. Bailey goes to the Pro Bowl.
2003: WAS pass defense DVOA: 13.5%, 27th in the league, but Bailey still goes to the Pro Bowl.
2004: DEN defense DVOA: -14.2%, 5th in the league. Bailey goes to the Pro Bowl.

Besides 2003... those numbers look pretty good to me, but hey, we're all entitled to our opinions. I myself agree with Kibbles; I'm happy with Bailey as our #1 CB.

18
by cugel (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 2:57am

Somehow these statistics don't really cover it.

First of all, whether Bailey plays up to the line a lot in run support is a coaching decision, not Champ's.

Second, why is it that so many receivers when asked "who is the toughest CB you have faced" all say Champ Bailey? I read another article about this just recently.

If he weren't that tough wouldn't these WRs point to other atheletes? Are they all deluded? Are they buying into some hype when they say that he is phenomenally athletic and difficult to play against?

None of those possibilities make any sense. When they interview 8 top WRs and 4 of them say "Champ Bailey" and 2 say "Chris McCallister" and the others pick 2 other guys that is pretty convincing.

Why would all these players from different teams say these things if they weren't true? You would think they would know who gives them the toughest time.

If anyone watched Denver's games they didn't come away with the impression that Kelly Herndon was a good cover corner at all. He was a liability in deep coverage.

Mike Shanahan clearly thought so, which is why he let Herndon go and drafted 3 CBs with Denver's first 3 picks.

Does Shanahan not know his own player's value? Are all the other GMs equally blind and only these statisticians know the truth?

Somehow this statistical analysis is missing the essential points.

19
by drunkloadedfan (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 3:11am

2000
baltimore
starks 23 pds
mcCallister 14 pds

2002
tampa bay
kelly 21 pds
barber 20 pds

2003 pats
law 23 pds
poole 21 pds

all three teams had super defences
all three teams had great corners
the idea that a qb may not throw at a cornerback
and he may not rack up good a pd nmber is stupid
did you know
and i am not making this up
that in the last 99 playoff game
the team that had more turnovers
won 72 of those games
the team that

20
by drunkloadedfan (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 3:15am

see
told ya i was loaded
anyway
the team that had more pds won 80
lets look at every playoff game since 1996
turnovers
wins 72 losses 12 ties 14

pds
wins 80 losses 13 ties 5

defenders do not sit around pickingtheir oses waiting for the ball to fall
pds are a good husle stae
and vastly underrated

21
by drunk loadedfan (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 3:27am

re 13
well over the pasr three years
bailey 45 pds
herndon 51 pds

over the past 2 years
bailey 21 pds
herndon 40 pds
good god
bailey lives on his reputation more than ray lewis

22
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 3:51am

See link.

23
by SJM (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 3:53am

I can hardly believe that I'm replying to a guy named "drunk loaded fan," but here goes:

The reason winning teams have more passes defensed is because the team which is behind throws more to try and catch up. The team which is ahead runs more, so there is less opportunity to defend passes. All your statistics prove is that teams with a lead are more likely to win that teams which are behind. Shocking.

24
by thevertex (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 5:36am

Doesn't matter, It's the year for Big Blue. You wannabes are wasting your time with all this. In October you'll see the Giants kill both these sorry ass teams involved in this "blockbuster" deal. RB? CB? We're stacked deep!

25
by Vote for Kalas (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 10:45am

SJM-

Looks like there is more than one drunken fan on here...Big Blue stacked deep at RB and CB? LOL...its deep for sure in what they usually call doo doo...Big Blue will be underwater quickly this year...again.

26
by drunk loaded fan (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 1:36pm

re 23
yes, that is true a lot of the time.
But let's look at three teams from last year. In 2004 the colts outscored their opponents by 97 points in the first half.
The bronco's outscored their opponents by 51 points in the first half.
The texans were outscored by their opponents by 32 points last year...yet
texans 103 pd's
denver 93 pd's
colts 69 pd's
do you really think teams were passing a lot more on the texans than the colts?
this is fun, lets look at 2003
colts +32 at the half
denver +82 at the half
texans -69 at the half

yet again we see the texans get more pd's
texans 108
denver 95
colts 70
am i cherry picking? Well yeah to a degree. The eagles usually get a lot of pd's and they are usually winning.
On the other hand you have teams like the vikings, which score a lot
but usually are not so great in the pd department. And i think that most fans are not in awe of the vikings secondary. Or you have the pats, who had a fantastic secondary in 2003 and had 121 pd's. Last year they were banged up and slipped to 73. They were still a great team, they still won a boatload of games, but i think the pd numbers reflect to a degree the injuries they had. I don't want to make this sound like you are always wrong, cause you are not. I just think we need a netter understanding of defensive stats

27
by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 3:46pm

RE 2: Woodson's play has been between good and very good, but other teams can simply avoid him thanks to the weakness at every other position in the Raiders' secondary. Last year the Raiders had a bad corner starting on the other side of Woodson, they had bad nickel and dime backs, and they had bad safeties. Some of the personnel has changed this year, so that the Raiders have younger, faster players on the field, but there is no indication that they are any better (at least not yet). The Patriots attacked just about every Raider defender on the field except for Woodson, who they didn't even bother trying to test. So long as there are so many exploitable matchups all over the field, Woodson simply isn't going to be tested.

28
by Jerry (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 10:07pm

At the risk of being repetitive, nice work, Sean.

29
by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:06am

Weighing In On Julius Peppers. He may be the preseason pick for Def P.O.Y., but apparently he got his butt handed to him by Saints rookie Jamal Brown.

30
by Dan Babbitt (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:03am

Broncos: Bailey to undergo an MRI Monday

Cornerback Champ Bailey is expected to undergo an MRI exam Monday to determine how long, if at all, he'll be out, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Bailey's left shoulder popped out of joint on the opening play of the third quarter and was reset into place by team medical personnel.

31
by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:12pm

Thanks Sean,

I don't think Deion in his prime would be shutdown CB in this era. During his prime there was Irvin and Herman Moore. Now just about everyone uses their size advantage. (Except Burress and Clarence Moore...)

32
by Marc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:24pm

Great start at crunching CB numbers.

In these posts, I've noticed two big areas where this analysis could use some work next go-round.

1. Some accounting for the Pass Rush. Whether it's time (in seconds) when the QB releases the pass or hurries/game, or whatever. You're smart and you can figure it out.

2. Some account for the actual defensive scheme employed, %man vs. %zone, or however.

I'm only offering these suggestions because I like the work you've done in the past and think you getting pretty good at using these new metrics. Keep it up.

And b/c it's hard to get data (I do'nt have time to scout hours and hours of tape to fill a DB) I think maybe using gross team or team-game based estimates of coverage scheme and QB-pressure might let you know if it's worth analyzing data at the play level (where the data might not yet exist.)

Good luck and keep it coming.

33
by james (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 8:11pm

Champ Bailey is the most over hyped player in the league. Some of the receivers in a cbssportsline article that named him the best corner in the league stated that they had never played against him.

The same way that not one guy said T.O is the toughest to cover in the league because they didnt want to give any credit is the same way that guys are naming whoever is the toughest corner in the league.

It is certainly not Champ Bailey. I watched T.O torch him in Washington. I watched David Boston torch in Washington. I watched some guy who's not in the league anymore who played for buffalo torch him on in fake and out routes all day. We all saw what Chad Johnson did to him.

The guy has astounding physical ability and alot of courage. He is not even one of the 5 best corners in the league. If you are vulnerable in a way that a coach can pick on anyway he feels like then you are not a top player at your position.

34
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 6:46am

We all saw what Chad Johnson did to him.

No, I don't know that we DID all see what Chad Johnson did to him. What I saw was that Chad Johnson "beat" him for a 50 yard gain when he fell down (which was a bad play by Bailey, not a good play by Johnson). He then "beat" Bailey on another 50 yard play that was clearly offensive pass interference. He went up into the air and put both hands on Bailey's shoulder pads to both get some extra height and to prevent Bailey from jumping and getting the ball. And the rest of the game? Bailey limited Johnson to dink and dunk underneat stuff, and Bailey just torched Johnson for an INT in the end zone.

All in all a very good game for a CB lined up in 1-on-1 without help against one of the top 5 WRs in the NFL, despite what the stat box showed.

35
by RichyRich (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 11:40am

Yeah, champ bailey fell down. Theres a reason he fell down though, he tried to turn quicker than his balance would allow, and thats because C. Johnson had just burned him.

36
by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 4:16pm

This article is very fair in its argument. I think the reason that it's hard for the average fan to quantify the value of play by a cornerback is the phrase "shut-down CB" that was introduced a few years ago. The problem with it is that when teams sign these so-called "shut-down CBs", like Champ Bailey, is that people assume that the player automatically will never give up any pass completions. Of course, this is impossible, as nobody is perfect. The one thing this article left out that hurts Champ Bailey's play is this: Denver's defense has no pass rush. I've never seen a team that blitzes more and gets less heat on the QB. In the aforementioned playoff game with the Colts, Denver repeatedly sent Kelly Herndon on blitzes, so Peyton Manning just looked to wherever Reggie Wayne was lined up against Roc Alexander and let it fly. The bottom line is that it's tougher for a CB to play in a defense when the opposing QB has little fear of getting sacked and has time to set and throw.

37
by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 7:54pm

Tom-

I would have liked to discuss the role of pass rush, but the article was already running long. Denver's defensive numbers in PFP don't indicate that Bailey suffered from a below par pass rush, as Denver's 7.6% adjusted sack ratio was 9th best in the league. Sacks by themselves don't tell you everything you need to know about a pass rush, and it's true that Denver's total sack number of 38 is on the low side. But again, their percentage of sacks per pass attempt is in the top ten, which suggests that their defense faced fewer total pass attempts than a lot of other teams.

38
by kevin (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 9:07pm

its amazing what Broncos fans do to defend champ. "he got beat because he fell down" . . . LOL whose fault is that??? The guy gets burned twice in one game, and you make excuses . . . By the way, he got burned in several games last year; just ask Jerry Porter and others . . .this article has stat after stat exposing Bailey, and yet you think that a guys' rep is more important. Its this same reputation that gets players voted into the Pro Bowl even when they have horrible years . . .

face it; Bailey may be a very good corner, but he's not great . . .

39
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 9:10pm

denver in 2004 had 522 sacks+ opp pass atts. This was 27th in the NFL. San diego faced the most at 636, Miami faced the least at 470.

40
by R.J. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 5:12am

The number of sacks doesn't tell you what you need to know. If there is a stat for the number of times the defense forced the QB to throw sooner than he wanted under pressure, I assure you Denver would be very near the bottom. And as was pointed out, they blitzed often (to almost no avail). I would bet that more than half of the recorded sacks they did get were "coverage" sacks as well. Considering how little help he got both from the line or in coverage, Bailey played fine. He wasn't perfect and he did have a few really bad mistakes in prime time -- but as a Bronco fan, I know he's the best defensive player on the team and a primary reason the defense was as good as it was.

41
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 12:21pm

I think the problem with Bailey is his talents are being misused by the Broncos. He's not good enough to defend the top receivers on his own, but he is good enough to defend a team's number 2 receiver on his own. The Pats were able to be very successful defending top receivers by giving the corner defending them saftey help from Eugene Wilson. Perhaps the Broncos should assign thier #2 CB on the top receiver and give him saftey help, and leave Bailey alone against the #2 WR.

42
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 1:02pm

kibbles,

Hilarious retort. Reminds of a guy I saw get beat up because his girlfriend started a fight. It's nice to want to defend his girlfriend but he should have a analyzed the situation first.

People who defend Champ don't have much to go on besides expert opinion(mind you from the same guys that pick Minnesota to go to the superbowl this year without Moss) and the fact the Chad Johnson pushed him around(supposedly unfairly). If he just lets recievers push him around then he definitely doesnt belong in 1 on 1 coverage.

If Denver continues to believe that Champ is an elite corner and scheme accordingly they will continue to have performances as bad as last year.

Hall showed what happens when you leave a truly elite corner alone on a great player on MNF. "0 mistakes against T.O"

I assure you I watched T.O kill Champ with Garcia as his qb. Run past him, through him and around him.

Champ is a physical specimen. It doesn't translate to more wins by having him on your team.

43
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 1:32pm

7 Receptions for 122 yards, not counting the balls that he just dropped or McNabb missed his target, and you count that as zero mistakes agaisnt TO? If that's your standard, maybe Bailey's an elite corner, too.

44
by Sean (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 2:43pm

Re 40: In Scientific Football 2005, Joyner breaks down team sacks according to type- blown assignment, pursuit, coverage, scheme, so on and so forth. By his measurement, the Broncos got 6.33 sacks as a result of downfield coverage, well short of the 16-18 you are suggesting.

45
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 4:10pm

10 points...zero touchdowns....no game breaking plays...

in one on one coverage that is great play by hall against t.o

It allowed them to shutdown the rest of the team

I think that was the team's gameplan and I think it worked pretty well

nice try though

46
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 4:31pm

Perhaps you were watching a different game than I was, but what I saw was Owens being hampered more by bad throws and bad hands than anything the Falcons did to stop him.

47
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 09/14/2005 - 8:36pm

B,

So you are saying that Hall didnt do an amazing job on Owens?

I watched champ for 4 or 5 years and would have killed to see him play like that for just one game.

48
by kevin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 12:09am

I have to go with James . . . that was a quiet 100+ yards, Owens didnt beat anyone deep; Philly only scored 10 points . . . Hall didnt shut him down, no CB does that anyway (save Prime time in his prime), but he contained him . . .

49
by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 1:59am

Sean, this is the same Joyner who goes out of his way to praise Ashley Lelie based on his yds. per catch. Either he doesn't know football or he doesn't watch the Denver games very closely. Since I doubt it's the former, I'm guessing the Broncos don't get his full attention (he can't watch every team closely, right?). Lelie almost never gets open on his own and most of his big plays are the result of broken plays where Jake scrambles around and Lelie sneaks behind defenders who are starting to look into the backfield (or from blown coverages on trick plays). Jake did one of those for him against Miami and Lelie still botched it. Yet Joyner goes on and on about how good and underrated Lelie is. I just can't believe a knowledgeable football person would have made that statement if they watched Denver's games closely. (The yds. per catch is a great stat most of the time, but I think Joyner is relying on that instead of his eyes, which must not have watched the plays. Lelie also gets praised other places for making catches with a defender in his face, but that's mostly because the defender is always in his face. Dude just doesn't get open on his own.) Joyner also joins the chorus of people saying Bailey is overrated. Champ might be overrated depending on how high you rate him, but considering what he's asked to do in that scheme, he plays pretty well (post 41 makes an interesting point, and perhaps Bailey is asked to do too much, but that's not really on him).

50
by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 4:48pm

RJ- What Joyner says about Lelie is that he is arguably the best deep threat in the league, but that he is terrible at running short and medium routes. The Broncos are clearly aware of that, as it shows up in his pass distribution. According to Joyner, Lelie got thrown 45 deep passes, 43 short passes, and 15 medium passes (that's judged by route, not by actual distance). It's extremely unusual for a receiver to have more deep passes thrown to them than short passes, and extremely rare for a player to have such a lopsided ratio of deep to intermediate passes. Lelie caught 42.2% of those deep attempts, which suggests that he was much more effective than you are giving him credit for. On the other hand, according to Joyner Lelie could easily have caught another 16 passes that would have been good for 342 yards, passes which he either dropped or simply failed to make a play on, and those might leave a bad taste in your mouth as a Broncos fan, so much so that they obscure the good things that Lelie has done.

51
by Kevin (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 4:57pm

re 49 and 50:

Sean is correct; he praised Lelie for his deep routes, but only to set up the fact that he stinks at all other routes . . . please don't criticize a guy for not watching games; when the guy has advertised the fact that he watched almost every NFL snap last year . . .

52
by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 6:52pm

Well, my point about Lelie was simply that he gets too much credit for the big plays, because if you actually break them down, most of them should be credited to Jake making a play to buy time, rather than Lelie getting open on his own. (Go back and look at that play in the Miami game, and tell me that even if Lelie had caught it for a big gain that he should have gotten credit for it. Most of his big gains last year were on plays like that.) My point about Joyner is that I believe he fails to take into account the context of the plays and the scheme, at least as it concerns Bailey and Lelie (the Broncos I watch closely), which leads me to believe he doesn't watch them closely enough (or understand what is happening within the context of the play).

53
by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 6:52pm

Well, my point about Lelie was simply that he gets too much credit for the big plays, because if you actually break them down, most of them should be credited to Jake making a play to buy time, rather than Lelie getting open on his own. (Go back and look at that play in the Miami game, and tell me that even if Lelie had caught it for a big gain that he should have gotten credit for it. Most of his big gains last year were on plays like that.) My point about Joyner is that I believe he fails to take into account the context of the plays and the scheme, at least as it concerns Bailey and Lelie (the Broncos I watch closely), which leads me to believe he doesn't watch them closely enough (or understand what is happening within the context of the play).

54
by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 6:53pm

Well, my point about Lelie was simply that he gets too much credit for the big plays, because if you actually break them down, most of them should be credited to Jake making a play to buy time, rather than Lelie getting open on his own. (Go back and look at that play in the Miami game, and tell me that even if Lelie had caught it for a big gain that he should have gotten credit for it. Most of his big gains last year were on plays like that.) My point about Joyner is that I believe he fails to take into account the context of the plays and the scheme, at least as it concerns Bailey and Lelie (the Broncos I watch closely), which leads me to believe he doesn't watch them closely enough (or understand what is happening within the context of the play).

55
by R.J. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/15/2005 - 6:54pm

Well, my point about Lelie was simply that he gets too much credit for the big plays, because if you actually break them down, most of them should be credited to Jake making a play to buy time, rather than Lelie getting open on his own. (Go back and look at that play in the Miami game, and tell me that even if Lelie had caught it for a big gain that he should have gotten credit for it. Most of his big gains last year were on plays like that.) My point about Joyner is that I believe he fails to take into account the context of the plays and the scheme, at least as it concerns Bailey and Lelie (the Broncos I watch closely), which leads me to believe he doesn't watch them closely enough (or understand what is happening within the context of the play).

56
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 09/18/2005 - 11:22pm

Since we are talking about Bailey, I think you have to mention his 98 straight starts, too. That was a ridiculous comeback from injury, and not only did he play, he played very well, including a key INT return for a TD.

57
by yo (not verified) :: Mon, 09/19/2005 - 2:21am

Champ Bailey is not only one of the best CBs in football, he's also one of the best all-around players.

I don't care what your stats say.

58
by Moses (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2005 - 10:42am

Champ Bailey is not only one of the best CBs in football, he’s also one of the best all-around players.

I don’t care what your stats say.

Sure. 16 TDs surrendered in two years. You can have him. I'd rather have a guy that gets 3 INTs and gives up just a couple of TDs than a guy that gets 6 INTs and gives up 8 TDs.

I've only got a 50-50 or so chance of scoring from the INT. But I have a 100% chance of giving up 6 points from the TD my opponent just scored... :)

59
by Ryan carney (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 12:45am

Thank god Bailey has been exposed, I spent a whole offseason talking to my buddies about how he's not as good as people say he is, and apparently I wasn't the only one. Those are all the numbers I need to see, but let's not go overboard, he still plays pretty good football.

60
by yo (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 6:31am

Champ Bailey is not only one of the best CBs in football, he’s also one of the best all-around players.

I don’t care what your stats say.

"Sure. 16 TDs surrendered in two years. You can have him. I’d rather have a guy that gets 3 INTs and gives up just a couple of TDs than a guy that gets 6 INTs and gives up 8 TDs.

I’ve only got a 50-50 or so chance of scoring from the INT. But I have a 100% chance of giving up 6 points from the TD my opponent just scored…"

It's obvious you have no idea what you're talking about.

61
by JimmyG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 10:45pm

It would be interesting to see this article updated, now that Denver has a pass rush, Champ has 5 pics (including the season changing one against Brees) and with the exception of Eagles game, he has dominated despite having a dislocated shoulder and sore hamstring.

62
by A.W. (not verified) :: Sat, 02/11/2006 - 7:09pm

I think this article should be updated on whether Champ has "regained" his status as the top Cornerback in the League. The only two possible answers on why Bailey had a bad year last year was the lack of pass rush and having injuries in the backfield. Another thing may have been that Denvers defense may have been different from Washington so that could lead to a bad year. But I highly doubt that this would be the case.

63
by Broncos#1 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/19/2006 - 5:04pm

Overrated yeah right, Champ Bailey had 64 tackled also he had 8 interceptions which 2 of them were returned for touchdown along with 139 interceptions yard and you call him overrated

64
by Broncos#1 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/19/2006 - 5:09pm

Nigga please he his the best cornerback in the NFL he is not overrated so fuck you white ass crackas.

65
by MikeVicksucks (not verified) :: Sun, 02/19/2006 - 5:13pm

Ill tell you who is overrated Michael Vick that nigga cant pass and he dont run for as many yards as people think he does Champ is the shit nigga

66
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 07/21/2006 - 5:13am

when healthy:

THERE IS NO BETTER CB THAN CHARLES WOODSON.

Bailey is OVERRATED. he is NOT A SHUTDOWN CORNER. He is simply a corner that has 1 special talent. He is able to make plays and defend very well against short passes. Passes between teh 10-15 yard range are his best area. Anything deep and he becomes an average DB.

His Madden rating is BS! They have him at a 98!!!! When you throw a deep ball he is running stride for stride with a WR in that game. NO WAY IN HELL DOES THAT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.

Bailey in 1-1 coverage against a WR going deep is a COMPLETED PASS and very likely resulting in a TD for the opponent.

When healthy though, Charles Woodson will play EVERY part of a CB's job perfectly. The only problem of his is his inability to get INTS. He shutsdown whoever he is on when healthy. The only times he is ever beat is in 2002 when he came back from a broken shoulder early and when he played with a broken leg.

People seem to forget that CWOOD is still in the NFL doing his thing. QBs don't throw his way when they have a great WR going 1-1 with him. Culpepper completly ignored Moss when Woodson was on him. Vikings were destroyed that game.

T.O. had nothing against CWOOD in the 05 season. Then stupid raiders coaches moved Wood to safety. This caused T.O. to explode.

Watch this guy with the Packers. He is the best CB in the NFL and the only remaining shutdown corner. If he can stay healthy.....ALL PRO.

67
by Chris L (not verified) :: Sun, 07/22/2007 - 10:45pm

Guy should redo this analysis with last years stats and then we'll see whos overrated