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Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Andrew Healy

For this year's edition of the cornerback charting stats, we are conducting the festivities Academy Awards-style. We will be handing out Best Cornerback awards both in a leading role (No. 1 corner) and a supporting role (everyone else). As with the Oscars, these distinctions are imperfect. The leading corner is not clearly defined on every team. But with all the work we do to adjust for the quality of opposing receivers, it ends up making more sense to try to separate the Darrelle Revises and Richard Shermans of the NFL from the Orlando Scandricks and Corey Grahams (much more on him to come).

As in the past, the cornerback charting stats come from the Football Outsiders Game Charting Project. We track two main stats in particular, adjusting each for the quality of opposing receivers:

  • Yards Per Pass, which is just the average yards the corner allowed when targeted.
  • Success Rate, which is the share of targets on which the corner prevented a successful gain (45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third down).

We are identifying the plays in which the cornerback is listed as the primary defender in pass coverage, ignoring a few types of plays unlikely to reflect on the cornerback. Specifically, we ignore screens, balls tipped at the line or thrown away, Hail Marys, and plays where the quarterback was hit while throwing. We include pass interference, but ignore other defensive penalties that often occur away from the pass.

We also report the number of targets that each cornerback faced, as well as a metric we call "estimated target percentage." This stat uses snap counts to estimate what percentage of possible targets were thrown at this player when he was on the field. The "possible targets" part of that metric leaves out the passes noted in the previous paragraph, as well as those passes listed with "Uncovered" or "Blown Coverage," though the total of possible targets does include "Hole in Zone" passes.

The usual caveats about game charting data apply here, as described in last year's article. As always, we need to point out that this is imperfect data charted by a group of volunteers plus a handful of FO staffers. Cornerback stats have been very volatile, bouncing up and down year-by-year for a lot of players, and the best cornerbacks will sometimes rank lower than expected because quarterbacks only throw in their direction when they make a mistake. In addition, with so many players ranked, readers need to make sure to understand that there isn't much difference between ranking 35th and 40th in a metric. For that matter, there isn't much difference between ranking 35th and 50th. As we always say, these stats should not be seen as absolute statements on player value. They're just part of the story.

The stats below are adjusted for the quality of the opponent receivers. These stats compare No. 1 receivers to other No. 1 receivers, No. 2s to other No. 2s, and so on. We are considering changing these adjustments in the future, perhaps by comparing receivers being covered to all receivers rather than just other receivers of the same "receiver position," but we couldn't do that for 2014 due to time constraints. Nevertheless, the current adjustments provide interesting insights, particularly when we break down the data by separating No. 1 corners from other corners.

As described earlier, the No. 1 corner is more obvious in some cases than in others. Some teams use their starting corners interchangeably, while other teams saw playing time scrambled by injuries. For this article, we're defining a No. 1 corner as the one on each team who faces the most opposing targets against opponents' No. 1 receivers. This definition usually gives the most logical No. 1 corner, but not always. Even when a team has a clear top corner, he sometimes does not always cover the top receiver (e.g., Kyle Arrington rather than Darrelle Revis guarded T.Y. Hilton for most of the AFC Championship Game, with help from Devin McCourty on almost every play). Still, over the course of the season, the list of top corners mostly accords with common sense. We made two changes (naming Vontae Davis as the Colts' top corner over Greg Toler, and Chris Harris for the Broncos over Aqib Talib), but left the rest defined according to targets. This definition makes Lardarius Webb the Ravens' top corner, not Jimmy Smith, whose season was cut short by a Week 8 injury.

Note that to qualify in either category a corner had to either face 50 targets or start eight games.

Best Cornerbacks in a Leading Role

The chart below has the ten top contenders for the best No. 1 corner in the NFL in 2014. We also included two players who would have made the top ten if we had restricted the sample to players who made at least 14 starts. Ranks represent placement among the 32 cornerbacks we considered as No. 1 corners.


Top Leading Role Cornerbacks by Adjusted Success Rate 2014
Player Team Games
Started
Charted
Targets
Pct Team
Snaps
Est
Tgt%
Rk Adj
Yds/Pass
Rk Adj Success
Rate
Rk
Darrelle Revis NE 16 69 92.8% 17.0% 1 7.3 12 62% 1
Vontae Davis IND 15 70 78.6% 22.9% 9 6.8 8 61% 2
Chris Harris DEN 16 75 91.3% 17.2% 2 5.1 1 59% 3
Josh Norman CAR 10 62 61.5% 24.8% 18 5.1 2 59% 4
Richard Sherman SEA 16 62 98.7% 17.5% 3 6.5 7 59% 5
Brandon Flowers SD 14 68 77.9% 23.9% 15 8.9 26 59% 6
Sam Shields GB 14 68 75.0% 23.5% 12 7.8 18 58% 7
Xavier Rhodes MIN 16 78 94.9% 22.1% 8 6.3 6 57% 8
E.J. Gaines STL 15 75 89.0% 24.8% 19 6.2 5 57% 9
William Gay PIT 13 89 86.7% 26.0% 24 8.7 24 56% 10
Patrick Peterson ARI 16 93 91.5% 24.3% 17 7.1 11 55% 11
Sean Smith KC 16 81 97.6% 19.9% 6 6 3 55% 12

It is a pretty close race at the top, but Darrelle Revis wins top honors. On top of having the highest adjusted success rate, Revis was also the least targeted of the No. 1 corners. Revis was targeted on just 17 percent of opponents' pass plays, and he gave up a successful play on 38 percent of his targets. Multiplying those together, we see that Revis gave up a successful play on only 6.5 percent of opponents' throws when he was a possible target. This number may do a pretty good job of identifying the consensus top corners in football. Chris Harris, who ranks third by adjusted success rate, comes second to Revis by that metric, surrendering a successful play on just 7.1 percent of opponents' pass plays. However, Harris' numbers may overrate him at least a little bit given his responsibilities in the Broncos' scheme compared to the responsibilities of Revis and Richard Sherman. Sherman, fifth by adjusted success rate, comes just behind Harris at 7.2 percent.

In addition to delivering some memorable hits, Vontae Davis also took his coverage to another level in 2014. While teams did not avoid Davis the way they avoided someone like Revis, Davis came close to matching Revis by adjusted success rate. Still, Davis only faced the player we identified as his opponents' top wideout on 41 percent of his targets, compared to 61 percent for Greg Toler. (As he did with Chris Harris in the Film Room column linked in the previous paragraph, Cian Fahey also analyzed this issue in Vontae Davis' game in an October article.)

Coming in sixth is Brandon Flowers, the cornerback who the Chiefs did not want. Regardless of his size, Flowers was a bright spot in a poor San Diego defense. The Chargers ranked 25th overall in defense, but 13th against opponents' No. 1 wideouts. The nominee with the most potential to move up these charts might be the Vikings' Xavier Rhodes. In just his second season, Rhodes ranked seventh in adjusted success rate. Against opponents' top wideouts overall, the Vikings were just 26th by DVOA, but that reflected their hopelessness when anyone other than Rhodes was in coverage. While Rhodes had an adjusted success rate of 54 percent in his 45 targets against opponents' top wideouts, the Vikings' other corners had a disastrously low 35 percent adjusted success rate in that role, a number that is lower than the overall adjusted success rate for the worst number one cornerback in football.

Who is that player? We'll tell everyone in another article next week that will look at the worst cornerback stats of 2014. If you read our Four Downs piece on weaknesses in the AFC East, you won't be surprised when it turns out not to be Bradley Fletcher.

Best Cornerback in a Supporting Role

The Best Supporting Cornerback for 2014 was a slam dunk. Corey Graham, part of a Bills defense that ranked second in DVOA, blew away the field. Ranks here represent placement among 45 cornerbacks who didn't qualify as No. 1 corners but had either eight starts or 50 charted passes.


Top Supporting Role Cornerbacks by Adjusted Success Rate, 2014
Player Team Games
Started
Charted
Targets
Pct Team
Snaps
Est
Tgt%
Rk Adj
Yds/Pass
Rk Adj Success
Rate
Rk
Corey Graham BUF 9 58 71.6% 20.0% 8 4.8 1 71% 1
Kareem Jackson HOU 13 66 68.5% 20.6% 12 5.7 3 61% 2
Brandon Boykin PHI 0 56 42.7% 30.3% 41 6.2 6 59% 3
Rashean Mathis DET 16 74 97.9% 18.8% 4 5.7 2 58% 4
Chris Culliver SF 14 74 78.4% 22.6% 22 6.2 7 58% 5
Orlando Scandrick DAL 14 52 83.8% 16.2% 2 7.2 12 57% 6
Brandon Browner NE 9 53 53.3% 22.5% 21 7.4 14 56% 7
Jerraud Powers ARI 11 76 70.3% 26.0% 34 7.7 18 56% 8
Aqib Talib DEN 15 91 84.8% 22.4% 20 5.9 4 55% 9
Adam Jones CIN 3 76 69.1% 24.9% 30 6.1 5 55% 10
Patrick Robinson NO 6 51 57.1% 20.7% 14 7.0 10 53% 11
D.J. Hayden OAK 8 60 52.0% 31.3% 42 8.4 26 53% 12
Cary Williams PHI 16 92 99.2% 21.4% 15 9.1 31 52% 13
Jimmy Smith BAL 8 37 42.5% 20.6% 13 6.8 8 51% 14
Byron Maxwell SEA 12 66 71.6% 25.4% 32 6.9 9 51% 15

Graham posted a 71 percent success rate, nine points higher than any other corner in football, and allowed just 4.8 adjusted yards per pass, almost a full yard better than any other corner. With Stephon Gilmore one spot off the list for No. 1 corners, the Bills' secondary is perhaps underrated. They benefit from a pass rush that ranked first in the NFL in adjusted sack rate, but the secondary leaped off the film on its own -- against Green Bay, to give one strong example. Graham's dominance in his role extended far beyond that game.

Other standouts include Orlando Scandrick, who played well enough to deserve his recent contract extension. Brandon Browner ranked seventh in adjusted success rate. The Patriots' tandem of Revis and Browner edges out Denver's Harris and Aqib Talib (ninth for supporting role corners in adjusted success rate) as the best pair of cornerbacks in the NFL last year. Now both are gone to other teams.

I extended this list to the top 15 corners to note the interesting replacement going on in Seattle. The Seahawks swapped out the corner ranked 15th in adjusted success rate (Byron Maxwell) for the one ranked 13th (Cary Williams). With Maxwell receiving 3.5 times more guaranteed money, the Williams contract looks like the much smarter deal. Williams allowed a much higher adjusted yards per pass, but he would likely look better on that account if he had been the one with Earl Thomas playing in support. On the other hand, these Williams stats demonstrate some of the inconsistency we've found with cornerback charting metrics. Until 2014, Williams had always ranked much better in yards per pass than in success rate. In FOA 2014, we joked that "Cary Williams has a large tract of land in front of him, and he would like to invite you to visit." Last year, his stats showed the exact opposite to be true, as Williams was more consistently successful but burned by deep throws.

All the cornerback charting stats for 2014 can now be found on player pages. Note the rankings will differ from those above because the rankings on the player pages do not separate out No. 1 cornerbacks. Also, the target percentages will be different because they are based on games played, not snaps, to match target rates for charting data prior to 2013. At some point after FOA 2015 is finished, we'll be fixing those player page numbers to match this new way we are determining target percentage by considering snap counts.

Comments

48 comments, Last at 06 Jun 2015, 4:19pm

1 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // May 28, 2015 - 4:48pm

Kudos to Rashean Mathis...still ballin' at age 34. He was picked up off the scrap heap, too.

I have to say I'm shocked Cary Williams had such a good year.

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2 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by johonny // May 28, 2015 - 4:57pm

LOL both Smith and Davis are on the list. There was nothing Jeff Ireland couldn't create that he couldn't also destroy.

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14 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Theo // May 29, 2015 - 12:54pm

I remember the hard knocks episode where he trades Vontae Davis away, as if a second rounder is going to make the difference if you let a good cornerback go.

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3 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 28, 2015 - 6:45pm

Goddamn, I am so freakin' tired of Kelly not giving Boykin a shot. It just couldn't be simpler: Fletcher is proven to be terrible, Boykin has been good-to-excellent in both advanced and traditional stats over the course of multiple seasons. And Kelly is shopping him to the lowest bidder as we speak...

Also, as mentioned: more evidence that Cary Williams and Byron Maxwell are interchangeable - with Maxwell being ever so slightly worse - add "a lower success rate" to "more penalties per game" and "triple the price tag."

I am a little dubious of how these charts divvy up #1 vs. #2 CB designation - Williams (not Flecther) was the Eagle's #1CB in any meaningful sense of the word and Maxwell was by the end of the season the Seahawk's #2b CB and borderline starter. Putting their numbers next to each other feels off - but I guess when you go LCB and RCB and don't move them, that's bound to happen. The other team can just switch their best wr to your worst CB and pick on him all day (a la what happened to Fletcher repeatedly.)

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4 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 28, 2015 - 7:32pm

"For this article, we're defining a No. 1 corner as the one on each team who faces the most opposing targets against opponents' No. 1 receivers."

Cary Williams shows up well here but in 2013 he was awful and Fletcher was the better corner. In 2014, those roles reversed. Easy to move on from that inconsistent duo.

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7 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 28, 2015 - 9:50pm

Yeah, but moving on to maxwell and "who knows" is just about the worst possible outcome. They should have kept Williams, as pitiful as that seems - blowing big bucks on maxwell looks worse and worse the more the dust of free agency settles.

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10 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 29, 2015 - 10:08am

"Yeah, but moving on to maxwell and "who knows" is just about the worst possible outcome."

The sky is falling!

They could have signed Sterling Moore to start opposite Nolan Carroll and not drafted Rowe. That would be a hell of a lot worse.

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12 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by mjb // May 29, 2015 - 12:32pm

Or they could have signed an often injured slot corner back (W.Turmond III), move him to safety in OTAs, and make it seem like that is a great idea...Hey playing safety isn't that much different than playing the slot, right? #facepalm

Also, in terms of Cary Williams getting burned deep more this past season then the last. Some of it wasn't completely his fault...Nate Allen was a train wreck last season. Case in point, week 8 vs. Arizona (http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/0ap3000000418285/Week-8-Ea...) at about the 2 minute mark. Yeah, the "let's not cover John Brown" play. There were other plays where guys just ran past Williams last season just none that were as memorable.

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23 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 29, 2015 - 2:00pm

Right now it's a guy who's played the occasional S in practice doing so in OTAs. If he's playing safety in August, then it's something.

And considering that whoever wins the safety job is going to be a converted corner anyway, might as well be one who has played well.

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25 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 2:05pm

You know, I need to warm up to this idea. Coverage was Allen's major problem and he wasn't much to speak of in run support - if they put a CB in there to improve coverage and just let the excellent front 7 do their thing, this isn't a terrible idea. Being a safety in coverage is a different skill set than CB, but I shouldn't hate this idea right out of the gate.

I keep trying to flip the switch to "ok, this is roster, you gotta live with it and start rooting for them!" but it has been a tough switch to flip...

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17 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 1:18pm

I'm not sure signing Sterling Moore and starting Carroll IS a worse outcome - it would've been far cheaper and would've allowed them flexibility to better address the CB situation after the 2015 season when maybe the CB free agent crop would've included better prospects than an unproven #2CB with extremely limited experience as a starter.

And spending a 2nd round pick on a player without a clear position in the NFL is fine, but putting faith in the idea that Davis/Kelly can quickly develop a project like Rowe goes against squarely against their demonstrated inability to develop any player in the secondary.

Right now, there's a very significant chance Carroll IS the starter, so the only question is "would signing Sterling Moore for nothing have been a better idea than signing a role player who has never played a full season in the NFL to a huge deal to be the #1CB?" Personally, I think I would have been just as good of an idea to sign Moore and accept that they couldn't solve every problem in the screwed up secondary in a single off-season.

If they're really going with the "Thurmond as Safety" idea, that's now three seasons in a row they've somehow miraculously failed to upgrade from Nate Allen.

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26 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 29, 2015 - 2:06pm

"but putting faith in the idea that Davis/Kelly can quickly develop a project like Rowe goes against squarely against their demonstrated inability to develop any player in the secondary."

Develop who? The Eagles secondary has been mostly staffed with veterans. Boykin has developed into a terrific slot corner. Yes, it's frustrating that they won't play him, but he has progressed under them. Rowe is the only DB in the top half of the draft they have taken. Williams, Fletcher, Allen, Chung, Carroll.... these guys were past the point of developing when they were acquired, as free agents tend to be.

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27 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 2:16pm

But if Wolff, Watkins or Reynolds had developed even slightly, there were crummy veterans just sitting there waiting for their jobs to be taken. The over-reliance on veterans with proven low-upside and significant downside is a demonstration of their inability to develop players in the secondary.

In the first two drafts under Kelly, the Eagles took 4 DB's and not a single one could even push Allen or Fletcher for playing time? It's not like they ignored the secondary in the draft - after d-line, it's the position group for which they've drafted the most number of players (and will be the group they've focused on most once the 2015 draft is factored in.)

If you want to say they've relied on veterans and haven't even attempted to develop RB's, QB's or even LB's (the Marcus Smith disaster being literally the only LB they've drafted) that would be true. But 4 draft picks in 2 years is not nothing - for comparison, they've taken 1 QB, 1 TE, no RB's, 1 O-linemen, 1 LB. There are positional groups they've ignored.

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28 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 29, 2015 - 2:28pm

Ed Reynolds should never have been drafted, he can't play. He's going to struggle to make the practice squad.

Earl Wolff is overrated by fans because he was "not Patrick Chung", he's not good and can't stay healthy anyway, can't develop a guy who keeps breaking down. He had his chance to unseat Nate Allen last year. He failed and won't be on the roster this year.

Jaylen Watkins might turn out to be a serviceable safety, how about giving him a chance there before completely writing him off?

"In the first two drafts under Kelly, the Eagles took 4 DB's and not a single one could even push Allen or Fletcher for playing time?"

You expect day three picks to push veterans for playing time?

"The over-reliance on veterans with proven low-upside and significant downside is a demonstration of their inability to develop players in the secondary."

No, it's a demonstration of their inability to draft quality DBs. The new personnel/scouting department might turn that around (if only by default), we'll see. But the Roseman staff was really bad at it.

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29 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 2:53pm

What? Watkins looked as bad as you can look any time I have ever seen him attempt to play. Earl Wolff actually has positive plays during real live NFL games - why would i write off Wolff and not Watkins? The reasons fans like Wolff is because he showed promise during actual games. (And yes, for the record, I am also well aware he got burned badly on several notable plays.) Watkins has been utterly terrible.

And yes, I do expect second day players to push crummy veterans for starting time, maybe because I've recently seen Brandon Boykin, Jason Kelce and even Kurt Coleman push starters for playing time during their rookie years. If there were any sense to Kelly's roster moves, Boykin would've been the starter in 2014.

"No, it's a demonstration of their inability to draft quality DBs. The new personnel/scouting department might turn that around (if only by default), we'll see. But the Roseman staff was really bad at it." Look, the time is certainly over for these clowns to keep using the Roseman excuse. Kelly has only ever been productive with players developed and drafted by Reid or brought in as free agents (and his FA track record has been extremely mixed.) And it's not just DB's, they've been bad across the board - there's only one player they've drafted who has developed into an above average player: Bennie Logan. Matthews showed promise and the rest have rated somehow between "instant bust" and "notable disappointment."

I can only marvel at how badly they've mismanaged the roster when Rowe isn't the favorite for the #2CB job over "nothing." I guess the only way a rookie DB could be expected to push for playing time is if they literally have no competition for the job.

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30 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 29, 2015 - 2:57pm

Watkins played all of 30 snaps on defense last year.

"there's only one player they've drafted who has developed into an above average player: Bennie Logan."

LOL. Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews.

'I can only marvel at how badly they've mismanaged the roster when Rowe isn't the favorite for the #2CB job over "nothing." "

He's a rookie and there's been one OTA. The sky is falling.

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31 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 3:17pm

Lane Johnson? You're kidding, right? As the 4th overall pick, he's been a horrible disappointment and he's bad enough they should definitely be thinking about moving on from him if possible and not getting stuck in a second contract with him. Seriously, watch some of the second half of the season last year and then sing me some praises of Lane Johnson. He's a problem. And even with massive, game-changing improvement, he'd be a disappointment for the 4th overall pick. That was a weak draft overall, so I won't be too hard on it, but you're lying if you're willing to say he was worth that pick.

Zach Ertz has also been a disappointment, probably a smudge closer to outright failure than Johnson - Celek has almost nothing left in the tank and Ertz couldn't beat him out for playing time. He runs horrible routes and can't block - he isn't a good enough of a receiver to make up for his overall weaknesses as a TE and they want to use him in that Jimmy Graham, split wide-role but he's just not good enough. Again, he had to see the bench so an ancient, ailing Brent Celek could correct the issues his presence on the field was causing. Like Johnson, any positivity surrounding him is total empty hype.

(And I said Matthews showed promise. We'll see. Being productive as a #3WR is very different from being a #1.)

As for Watkins, if you play like he did in the preseason, barring disaster you will never see more than 30 snaps in a season. Watkins has shown no promise. He has shown anti-promise and literally the only people I have ever heard speak positively of him are you, Chip Kelly and people who work for Chip Kelly. It make no sense you would dismiss Wolff but hold out hope for Watkins. There's literally nothing to justify that perspective.

And the sky ain't falling for these OTA's - these were issues they were having back in 2013. When Kelly took over the team: the secondary was terrible, the o-line was aging with no clear replacements and the QB position was unsettled. And here we are in 2015 after the OTA's with the Eagles having the exact same problems. Only those problems have gotten even worse. And they've gotten worse at WR. And they've gotten worse at TE. And that bad man Howie Roseman who is totally at fault wasted two entire drafts being a terrible drafter.

Kelly has been given 3 off-seasons to improve the team and he's made it worse. This isn't a snap judgement, it has been three years coming.

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5 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by electricmayhem // May 28, 2015 - 9:11pm

As we've both said, it's the money that makes it worse. Maxwell and whoever is probably going to be equal to Fletcher and Williams except you are paying a crap ton more money and getting, if you are lucky, a slight improvement.

Also, fire Billy Davis. He's as much to blame, if not more, for misusing Boykin and Nate Allen and Bradley Fletcher as Chip Kelly.

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6 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 28, 2015 - 9:50pm

The money makes it decisively worse, but I'm not sure there's any convincing argument whatsoever that "Maxwell & unknown" is better than "Williams & Fletcher." If you believe FO's numbers (as outlined in the AFC East/Pats 4th down) Fletcher was slightly above average and getting the same production from a rookie or Walter Thurmond isn't anywhere close to a given. I'm not 100% sure what the CB charting numbers mean (mainly because they're so erratic from year to year), so I'm not willing to go that far on Fletcher (who by the end of the year looked as hopeless as I've ever seen a CB look.) For sure, Billy Davis is to blame for sticking with man-press and constantly putting Fletcher in situations where he was one-on-one with a slew of the best WR's in the league.

If Maxwell follows the trend of other Seahawks CB exports and plays at a Thurmond/Browner level, it's going to be one of the worst free agent signings of recent memory. Plus, it's just tough to shake the suspicion that brain-trusts in Seattle and New England know what they're doing far more than Kelly/Davis and Eagles fans are going to be seeing their former CB's contributing significantly to championship contenders...

Can't blame Davis toooooo much for Nate Allen, though - Allen is one of the great mysteries in Eagles' history to me. Everybody who has coached him has believed in him to a bizarre degree, not just Kelly and Davis, but Reid & Castillo & McDermott & Bowles - I mean, NOBODY benched him and he was a disaster as early as that game against the Titans his rookie year where Kenny Britt victimized him for over 200 yards. In 4 years, he had at least a dozen of games where he played as bad as a player can play (the 2012 game versus the Panther is literally the worst game I've ever seen an NFL player have) and still kept his job. And then the Raiders signed him to be a starter? They ARE the Raiders, but you didn't see Sabby Piscitelli being given another starting job after the Bucs sent him packing...

Now I'm flashing back to him single-handedly losing the Cardinals game this year. Ugh.

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15 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by electricmayhem // May 29, 2015 - 12:58pm

The only thing I'm blaming Bill Davis for re: Nate Allen is that they would stay in base defense against 3WR sets a lot (based on what I remember reading somewhere so it's possible I'm wrong) and make Allen cover a receiver man to man which he clearly can't do. So, just more blame for misusing players. Ugh, and don't remind me of that Titans game, that made me want to cry. I'd successfully repressed that memory until you brought it up.

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18 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 1:30pm

You're absolutely right Davis' scheme was too rigid and it definitely didn't play to the strengths of Allen and Fletcher. On the other hand, Jenkins seemed to thrive in it, so maximizing his potential makes me feel like it wasn't a total bust. Anyhoo, the defense was the highlight of the team last year with that excellent front 7, so I'm hesitant to criticize Davis too much. Kelly's repetitive offense and brain-dead commitment to running the ball where far bigger scheme/philosophy issues than anything Davis did wrong...

(And if the Titans game gives you nightmares, you should really watch the clips of the Panthers game I mention. On Brandon LaFell's 43-yard TD, they run a CB blitz and all Allen is supposed to do is drop into deep zone coverage in the middle of the field. Instead, he's literally 20 yards away from LaFell when he makes the catch. If he literally just stands there and doesn't move after the ball is snapped, the pass would've hit him. He had to run away from his assignment at full speed to be as out of position as he was. And it was on a CB blitz which makes the assignment so simple: no one is going to be covering that WR now, Nate! There's not even a linebacker over there!)

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24 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Southern Philly // May 29, 2015 - 2:03pm

"The only thing I'm blaming Bill Davis for re: Nate Allen is that they would stay in base defense against 3WR sets a lot"

Kelly and Azzanaro are also responsible for that.

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47 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Coaldale Joe // Jun 03, 2015 - 12:55pm

Except it's not a crap ton more money. Williams had a cap number of $8.1M for 2015, Maxwell is $8.7M. Maxwell is also really just 2 year deal. Next year his cap number is $9.7M, and they can cut him after that and save money against the cap. So, in terms of the cap they are spending $600k more for Maxwell this year and are rid of a guy who spent the OTA's in 2013 buying sconces, and complained during the 2014 season that they were practicing too hard and he was too tired on Sunday. Good riddance.

Also, the Eagles fired their DB coach after last year and replaced him with Coru Undlin.

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48 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // Jun 06, 2015 - 4:19pm

I do not give a shit about what Cary Williams does in his personal time. He can buy sconces to his heart's content. All I care about is what happens when he's on the field. Obsessing over sconce shopping and non-existent "gang ties" is Chip Kelly's issue, not mine.

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8 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by killwer // May 29, 2015 - 6:50am

What im most surprised about his how often Revis and Sherman is actually targeted, compared to some years where guys like Nnamdi or Samuel couldnt even qualify with enough targets.

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9 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by OSS117 // May 29, 2015 - 9:26am

Are INT return yards include in the YPP? Just curious.

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13 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Aaron Schatz // May 29, 2015 - 12:43pm

Nope.

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11 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Never Surrender // May 29, 2015 - 11:28am

As long as I live, I don't think I'll forget seeing Sherman and his buddies yukking it up on the sideline, mocking Revis, when Doug Baldwin caught a go-ahead TD in the Super Bowl. Interesting to see that, in addition to winning the game anyway, he ended up on top for the whole year.

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16 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 1:08pm

Yeah, the constant yapping of those Seahawks players sure doesn't make it sad when they lose. And I also have a suspicion there'd be no conversation about which player is better is if you put Revis on that Seahawks defense and told him he didn't have to follow the other team's best WR around the field then forced Sherman to play the majority of his career for the Jets (and waste some time playing for the Buccaneers.) Sherman's great, but Revis is the best.

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19 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by mehllageman56 // May 29, 2015 - 1:37pm

Um, the only defense comparable to the current Seahawks defense in the last ten years is the 2009 Jets. It's not that the Jets had no talent besides Revis, or employed a defensive idiot for a coach, and it doesn't look that's true right now either (perhaps Bowles will disappoint though). Having Ryan's blitzes helps cornerbacks as well. I think Revis has been better than Sherman, but Sherman has definitely closed the gap due to Revis' aging. Personally, I wouldn't mind Sherman being in New York, rather have him there than the other guy they stole from Seattle, Idzik.

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20 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by mehllageman56 // May 29, 2015 - 1:46pm

So I went back and looked at Defensive Dvoa leaders for the last ten years. I was wrong about the 2009 Jets; the 2008 Steelers and Ravens had better dvoa. The Eagles were also over negative 25 DVOA that year. Other teams with a greater negative Dvoa: 2004 Bills, the Ravens a couple of years, and the Bears one year, but I discount that one because it was based so much on turnovers. I still think Sherman would do well in a Jets jersey; don't expect it to ever happen though.

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22 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 1:55pm

Yeah, that 2008 Eagles defense was beautiful. It was entirely dismantled by 2010 through a mix of age, injury and questionable free agent moves. The early 2000's Eagles defenses got all the press, but the 2008-2009 squads were the best since Reggie White was on the team. (And I'd say better than even the much-loved 1990 and 1992 iterations.)

And yeah, Sherman would do well in any jersey. He's probably the second best in the league and he's no worse the 4th best under any of even the most unforgiving appraisals.

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21 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 1:50pm

Oh that's all fair - and maybe I should be clear, I don't think there's a monstrous difference between Revis and Sherman... but the support Sherman has had in Seattle, particularly in the secondary is better than anything Revis had (at least by a hair or two.) But I think if you put Revis on one of the greatest defenses in history, his legend only grows - half of Sherman's argument for being better than Revis is absorbing some of that championship "arguably as good as the '85 Bears" mojo the Seahawks defense on the whole has had. In fact, if the Pats hadn't won a Superbowl this year, I'm not sure Revis wouldn't have continued his trajectory into being considered an afterthought in "best CB" conversations...

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32 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Perfundle // May 29, 2015 - 4:35pm

If Revis was on the Seahawks you'd simply have the same underrating of his abilities because of his surrounding talent as Sherman is experiencing right now. As for his score here, that includes all those times where he was beat but the QB didn't target his man, or overthrew his man. Fahey already detailed how Revis declined in ability this year, and the fact that his success rate doesn't show that just means that this method has its limitations.

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33 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Pen // May 29, 2015 - 6:03pm

Yeah, I was hoping this was Fahey's final CB analysis. This is just a stat that doesn't really tell us enough and varies greatly year to year. I guess I'll have to hunt down Fahey's analysis. Must have missed it. Anyone have a link?

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34 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by chemical burn // May 29, 2015 - 6:20pm

Nah - because Revis would've been excellent for several years before Carroll even arrived in town. He already had a pair of All-Pro's under when Carroll was just a rookie HC.

Sherman is very, very, very good. If he had been playing on the Jets the last few years, no one would ever in a million years think of him as being the best.

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38 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Perfundle // Jun 01, 2015 - 3:05am

What kind of stats do you expect Revis to get in Seattle? Sherman had 8 interceptions in 2012 and 2013; you think Revis would beat that? Your hyperbole is seriously over the top. If players like Grimes, Harris and Davis, who are less technically skilled than Revis and Sherman, can be considered top 5 corners despite having worse teammates supporting them in their secondaries, Sherman could absolutely be considered the best on the Jets. Could you comment upon the discrepancy between your opinion that Revis is simply better than Sherman with Fahey's analysis of the two the last few years that has shown them to be equally good in technique, except for the last year where Revis suffered a noticeable decline?

I just don't see what Sherman is so weak at that would cause him to play significantly worse than Revis. It's not like he can only cover #2 receivers and gets burned by #1 receivers. He's not as quick as Revis, but then Revis isn't as long as Sherman. Fahey's analysis gives the impression that Sherman has trouble with smaller, quicker receivers, and Revis has trouble with taller ones, which corroborates that view.

Also, your hypothetical doesn't make any sense at all. Revis is supposed to have spent several years on the Jets before going to Seattle, but you also have Sherman playing several years for the Jets and Buccaneers? There's no way to compare their starting reputations when they began playing 4 years apart.

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36 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by TomC // May 30, 2015 - 1:20pm

Ugh, remind me why the Bears dumped Corey Graham again?

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37 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by DisplacedPackerFan // May 30, 2015 - 6:17pm

Just out of curiosity, which Packers receiver did you treat as their #1? I don't remember how you guys define that. If you use stats Nelson was #2 in DYAR at 482 and #8 in DVOA at 27.2%, Cobb was #4 in DYAR at 479 (just 3 behind) and #1 in DVOA at 37.8%. Using just that in a vacuum I'm not sure what would define the #1. I'm assuming it's Nelson, because that is who it would be by traditional means, and he did have 151 passes vs 127. But it was idle curiosity since it does relate a bit to these rankings. I seem to recall the Pats had Revis on Cobb a fair bit, but I know he was on Nelson at times too.

I also realize that your planned adjustment to how you deal with receivers will fix this issue when a team has an offense that produces two of the top receivers in the game. Denver in 12 and 13, or perhaps even better 06 Indy with Harrison and Wayne. Wasn't that year also Johnson and Houshmanzadeh in Cincy having similar years too?

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40 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by jchavlik // Jun 01, 2015 - 12:09pm

I would have to imagine that a lot of Cobb's DYAR success came from manufactured touches/YAC. Nelson, in my mind, is the pure #1 guy. Good question!

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46 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by Andrew Healy // Jun 02, 2015 - 12:40pm

Nelson is their #1 in the charting data. And in 2006, Johnson and Houshmandzadeh were almost the same both in DYAR (4th and 5th) and DVOA (13th and 14th).

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39 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by panthersnbraves // Jun 01, 2015 - 11:46am

How are the Panthers supposed to keep Josh Norman a secret if you go blabbing about him? Now they are going to have to pay him Elite Money...

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41 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by turbohappy // Jun 01, 2015 - 12:18pm

The Colts definitely used Davis to shut down a number 2 solo while rolling coverage towards the #1 on the other side a lot this season. He was great, but definitely not going to shut down the other team's #1 on an island a lot like some of the others at the top can.

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42 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by tuluse // Jun 01, 2015 - 12:42pm

I always wondered why this wasn't general practice. It makes so much sense to me.

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43 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by mehllageman56 // Jun 01, 2015 - 2:22pm

Aside from teams that don't play man to man, when you have someone like Peterson or Revis (or Sherman, although they don't use him this way), taking out the number one option is way more disruptive to the offense. It's a risk, but it worked really well for the Jets in 2009.

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44 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by duh // Jun 01, 2015 - 3:04pm

Sure, but I think the point is if you have a guy a cut below that, someone who can't necessarily go against the #1 by himself anyways that you'd be better off sticking him on the #2 alone and rolling coverage to the #1. The Patriots did that even with Revis this past year against T.Y. Hilton, putting DR on Wayne and using Arrington and McCourty to handle Hilton (edit) as noted above

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45 Re: Best Cornerback Stats 2014

by tuluse // Jun 01, 2015 - 3:09pm

Which is why I said "general practice" and not "in all situations including having a probable top 10 corner of all time".

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