Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Jun 2013

Champ Bailey: Numbers, Tape, Verdict

Cian Fahey goes play-by-play over the course of Champ Bailey's season, looking at how he fared in single coverage, which receivers he's covered, and how he fared. This is one of a series of cornerback posts he's done. He's also looked at Johnathan Joseph (here), Leon Hall (here), Stephon Gilmore (here), Joe Haden (here), Carlos Rogers (here), Casey Hayward (here), Brandon Flowers (here), Patrick Peterson (here), and Richard Sherman (here).

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 12 Jun 2013

13 comments, Last at 14 Jun 2013, 3:12pm by chemical burn


by Jefweiss (not verified) :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 3:41pm

Who I REALLY want to see is Deangelo Hall. With how much he gets ripped on around here I wonder what is going on with their scheme and his performance. I suspect he's not usually playing straight up cover corner, and it's a bit of apples to oranges, but that's just a hunch without knowing where he fits into the scheme.

by Tim Wilson :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 4:10pm

Interesting series. The qualitative part of the analyses is definitely interesting and valuable, but the stats don't tell me everything I'd ideally like to see. In fact, I think they're deceptive for some players.

By focusing on only man coverage, you're looking at a subset of a CB's overall plays-- in some cases, a pretty small subset relative to total plays logged. And equally importantly, all completions are treated equally. Without some "Yards Per Completion" metric, I don't have a sense of whether a CB is just giving up short stuff or if he's only allowing 2 passes per game but they were both 20+ yards.

Additionally, INTs aren't factored into a CB's impact. Again, they don't tell the whole story (DeAngelo), but they're still important. Interceptions were one of the reasons I always found Revis so much more impressive than Nnamdi in their primes.

by Joe V (not verified) :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 4:32pm

I'd like to see Asomugha on the Raiders vs. when he was on the Eagles. I don't understand how you can miss on a corner so badly.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 06/13/2013 - 11:43am

Or he could have regressed as a player. His numbers began to drop in his last season in Oakland but he really was a very good player for quite a long time before that.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/14/2013 - 3:12pm

He was playing in front possibly the worst safety duo of all-time (FO's off-season numbers confirm that they were indeed puke-inducingly awful), so it's always going to be tough to evaluate his performance in 2012. Also, keep in mind that after Castillo got fired, the pass defense went from Top 10 (they might have even been Top 5, I can't recall exactly) to dead last - meaning there's a massive coaching failure to factor in as well. I'd actually be curious if that 10 game stretch is the bit of worst pass defense in NFL history. Anyhoo, you can't separate what was happening with Asomugha from Kurt Coleman, Nate Allen and Todd Bowles. I'm not sure he was good, but those guys were astounding awful. They might as well have fielded 10 men instead of bothering with Nate Allen. From what I subjectively saw, he also seemed to give up on the season and carried himself like he just didn't give a crap a certain point...

by Bobman :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 5:20pm

Wow, that was an interesting (but a hastily edited) piece. Example:

"No matter what he had done for the season full season before, his weak displays against the Broncos would condemn his reputation to that of a former superstar who helped another franchise on their journey to the Super Bowl."

I love the numerical breakdown. My impression of Bailey was much more general but about the same--great player, bad day.

But wait, does this mean that David Tyree is NOT a superstar with celebrity status in every household on earth?

by Sifter :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 7:20pm

This is the kind of in depth analysis that can be done in a sport that has such a gigantic off-season. And it's needed, since the average NFL fan is pretty clueless about the week-in, week-out quality of the players. That's what happens when you have up to 10 games going on at the same time - very hard to stay apprised of the current ups and downs of various players across the league. This kind of article is gold in that regard.

by NRG :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 7:52pm

The kind of copy-paste hackery that results in this paragraph gets people in other professions disbarred:

The ball does not have to be thrown in Joseph’s direction for the coverage to fail. This is NOT an alysis of how many completions Joseph allowed, that can be found elsewhere, this is an analysis of how good his coverage is on any given play.


Joseph? What happened to Bailey? He got lost in a rewrite that didn't even get read, apparently.

Looking at it a little further, someone put some serious work into this series. They ought to consider an editor. . .errr, volunteer editorial intern


by Tim Wilson :: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 9:51pm

I think he pasted in the methodology stuff using a generic player, and then goes back to Bailey-specific commentary.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 06/14/2013 - 10:19am

That is exactly what he does. It could be clearer though and as NRG says, plenty of these guys who produce pretty good football insight could do with a bit of editing.

by rlmthree :: Thu, 06/13/2013 - 10:09am

Try reading Haden's. It's a mess, might not even be his (wrong name, wrong pics?).

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Thu, 06/13/2013 - 12:02pm

It started out using R. Sherman as an example for the evaluation, then suddenly going to showing how Haden matched up with various receivers without explicitly mentioning it was Haden (although I figured it out by knowing which teams the Brownies played against.)

The assessment itself of Haden was fair.

by cjfarls :: Thu, 06/13/2013 - 12:35pm

As a bronco fan, this matches my eyes.

Champ probably isn't a top10 cb anymore given his declining speed to match up against the mike Wallace/AJ Green/T smiths anymore... But he's still likely top15 or so, and can still match up against the better non-burner WRs one-on-one, freeing up the safeties to disguise coverages and help elsewhere. I'm okay with that as our #1 guy.

I think the bigger weakness is that chris Harris, while also a great physical player in coverage, probably also is weakest in that over the top speed. This is why DEN keeps bringing in super fast FA CBs like Tracy Porter and DRC,even though these guys are probably only the 3rd best cb on the team at best. It purely is a matchup issue... It's easy to provide over the top help to one CB... But if both are weak deep and you need to stay with 2deep, it gets harder to disguise the coverage.

Fox, Del Rio and Elway seem to recognize this, and are drafting/signing FAs to fix it.