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Is Cornerback an Overrated Position in Importance in the NFL?

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Yakuza Rich, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about this the other day and I started to think of the Super Bowl teams and their corners and how often times they are not *that* great. So, I'll roll back in time:

    '11 - Patriots (mediocre), Giants (average to mediocre)
    '10 - Steelers (average-above average), Packers (Good-to-great)
    '09 - Colts (average), Saints (above average)
    '08 - Cardinals (average to below-average), Steelers (average-above average)
    '07 - Patriots (above average), Giants (average)
    '06 - Bears (good), Colts (average)
    '05 - Seahawks (average), Steelers (average-above average)

    Now, maybe my 'grading' of these CB's is not quite to yours. Although I don't think I'm that far off. Furthermore, I think that outside of the 2010 Packers, none of the CB tandems really stood out. And the Packers relied heavily on the awesomeness of Charles Woodson.

    The one thing I notice is that each team pretty much had quality tackling corners and the Super Bowl winners all had corners that were usually quite good at tackling.

    Obviously, you do not want awful corner play. And if you have somebody like a Revis or a Woodson, it can have a giant impact on the quality of your defense.

    So, I'm not saying that CB's are unimportant. But, I think as far as they are currently valued in the NFL, I think they are overrated.

    I think part of the reason is that CB's get injured, *a lot*. I wouldn't doubt if they get more injuries than any position in the league

    I also think that if you have some really good safeties, a quality pass rush and 1-2 linebackers who can competently help out in coverage, I think you can do quite well with some very average cornerbacks. I think that the teams I listed show that as well.

    Curious to know what others think...






    YR
  2. Muhast

    Muhast Newo

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    Yes it is. if you have a good front 7 and intelligent safeties your corners aren't that important. new England and Pittsburgh have had average cb play for the last decade. have either team had a probowl corner in the last 10 years? Yet they always go deep in the playoffs
  3. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I think CB and DB in general are important. As is a pass rush. If CB are getting beaten off the line then I don't care how good your pass rush is you will give up big plays.

    I don't think being a great defense is an either or proposition. You better be able to get after the QB but you better be able to clamp down on WR and make plays

    Teams will go after top CB just as they do top pass rushers. As good as NY Giants pass rush has been they continue to use top picks to get CB
  4. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    NE was 2nd in the NFL in ints, they gave up yards but they made plays and as far as the NE pass rush they were middle of the pack.

    SF was the 4th rated defense. Tops vs the run, 7th in sacks just as Dallas was but they made plays in the secondary and was 3rd in the NFL with ints
  5. Deep_Freeze

    Deep_Freeze Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I think the balance between the two is underestimated, the front 7 and secondary have to work together to have balance.

    If you are lacking in the secondary, you better have a dominating front 7 to compensate for it.

    Now I'm wondering who will chime in on this subject.....
  6. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    I definitely will take pass rushers over CBs. However, I think you're being a little myopic by just looking solely at Superbowls for the effects of cornerbacks. What separates a Superbowl Winner from a Superbowl Contender is generally just a couple of plays or lucky bounces. Look at the effect Derrelle Revis has had on the Jets. They went to back to back AFC Championships thanks largely to a dominant defense with no significant impact individual pass rushers thanks largely to their CB play.

    One thing I find really strange is how seldom NFL defensive coordinators actually use their best CB to shadow the other team's best WR, which definitely minimizes the effect of a really good CB. They pretty much concede the right-a-way to the opposing offense the ability to dictate coverage match-ups. They have no problem moving their best pass rusher all over the line looking for the tastiest matchup, but 95% of the time they'll just stubbornly insist on keeping the left cornerback as the left cornerback and the right cornerback as the right cornerback. My hunch being that NFL coaches are mostly risk averse by nature, and they're afraid having a lot of movement in the secondary leads to confusion and secondary breakdowns that would lead to the cataclysmic play.
  7. cowboy_ron

    cowboy_ron You Can't Fix Stupid

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    Overrated? I guess until they get constantly torched then it don't look so overrated
  8. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I only used the Super Bowl teams as an example. If you look at that Packers team, the safeties weren't all that good due to injuries and they lost Nick Barnett to injury. So, the better corners was more necessary.

    I was thinking about this with how the Cowboys' defenses have been designed. A pretty good pass rush, weak ILB coverage (until Lee cam along, and he's not great in deep zone coverage), spending money on corners, going cheap on safeties.

    Then I looked at a lot of the Super Bowl teams and I usually saw good pass rush, good safeties, and 1-2 linebackers who could help out in coverage. Plus, you can cover up the corners' weaknesses by putting them in Cover 2.

    It would be great to have a Darelle Revis on your team, but I think defenses are better off spending their money to get talent elsewhere.






    YR
  9. Risen Star

    Risen Star Likes Collector Zone Supporter

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    Welcome to my world.

    They are the least important position on the field and the very last on my priority list.

    The only corner I've ever seen who was a true impact player was Deion Sanders. A true freak of nature. The others are totally reliant on the play around them.

    I'm not trying to sell this as a home game. I know it isn't popular. But I'll never believe any differently. To me, the Cowboys took 50 million dollars this offseason and flushed it down the toilet.
  10. Muhast

    Muhast Newo

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    Turnovers are definitely important but how many Pro-bowl CB's have the Steelers had over the last decade? Yet they are consistently good bc they have such a good front 7 and safety play that they don't matter.
  11. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    Actually they've had some good CBs. Ike Taylor has been particularly good. That's why Polamalu gets the freedom to freelance all over the place rather than playing strict zone coverage assignments. But that's kinda the deal with CBs .. .when they're doing their job well you barely notice they're on the field, and everyone else is gets the credit and their name called by the TV announcers for being able to chase the ball and get to the QB.

    I think part of the problem is our current standard football stats are still extremely archaic, rudimentary and don't really tell very telling narratives for CB play. Interceptions, tackles and passes defended don't even come close to telling a complete narrative about how a CB plays his position. Even something "advanced" like completion% against doesn't tell a very complete story, because a CB isn't credited for the all the times a QB had to look off an intended target he was covering. One of these days we'll have something like the equivalent of the defensive models that have been developed for baseball to help quantify how good CBs are, but for now we're still stuck in the stone age hitting femur bones against rocks.
  12. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    All that shows is that defense doesn't win championships anymore and not that secondaries don't matter.

    Lets look at the best 5 ppg defenses the last few years:

    2011
    Pittsburgh - Try convincing a Steelers fan Ike Taylor is not a key to their defense for the past decade
    SF - Did Carlos Rodgers have an impact in SF?
    Baltimore - Ladarius Webb does not make plays... oh wait.
    Houston - Who was their key FA acquisition on defense? Jonathan who?
    Cleveland - Haden and Brown are the best players on that defense.

    2010
    Pittsburgh
    Green Bay - Woodson has anchored whats been a very good cb tandem between Harris and Williams for quite awhile
    Baltimore
    Chicago - Bowman is a spare but Tillman is a very good corner.
    Atlanta - Where would you list Ben Grimes in importance to that defense?

    6th were the Jets, we know how that goes.

    And then obviously it depends on scheme. We ask our corners to press and play man. Chicago plays a lot of cover 2, Pitt doesn't ask their corners to play man constantly.
  13. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    With all the rule changes and the like that have clearly been meant to up scoring and the passing game, a great D is the only thing that really makes a difference any more. A very good D needs a very good O to win games.

    CBs are so handicapped by the new rule changes that their importance is over rated. I think really good Safeties are more important then really good CBs anymore since they are there to make sure that no big plays are made.

    Pass rush beats CBs as regards need any more. You only have to look at the Giants to know that. Their pass rush won them two SBs. The Steelers have Polamolu and even if I thinkk he is over rated he combines with a very good pass rush to keep them in the picture.


    Honestly if we could have gotten a shot at a top 5 Free Safety I would take him over a top 5 CB any day.

    And I would take another top 5 Pass rusher over either one.
  14. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I think the injury factor is huge as well. I really would not doubt if CB's are the most injured players on the team.

    I also think that the game is more about not giving up the big play on defense, so that's why safety play is so important now.







    YR
  15. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    More and more that is where I believe the D is going; prevent big plays; force the O to drive for 7-10 plays for each score. More likely the O makes a mistake or the D makes a play.
  16. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I don't say the pass rush does not matter but you would have to be brain dead to think that CB play does not matter it does. This is why team invest highly in them. No doubt we have fans who can't seem to grasp this. Oh it is all about the pass rush? Give me a break, even the best pass rush will not get pressure on the QB all the time and much of the pass rush comes in the form of blitzes and as BP said as well as many HC pick up the blitz and you can make the other team pay big time.

    CB are one on one much of the time and when they have a miss step they get turned the wrong way they give up big plays with little help behind them. Pass rush is important no one has ever said other wise but this notion that you can be weak on the back half and CB do not matter is a fricken joke spoken by those who do not have a clue
  17. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    The highest paid professionals at the highest levels pay these guys some of the highest salaries in football.

    With that said, I'm going to say no. Though I will say a kick *** pass rush can help bad corners look better. Then again, pass rushers get paid more than cornerbacks. :)
  18. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I agree about pass rush it is important what gets me is this notion that playing great defense is all about pressure. SF was no better than Dallas but overall defense stopping the run, causing turnovers basiclly playing overall fundementally sound defense is what made them the 4th ranked defense in the NFL.

    Pats pass rush was not great and secondary gave up yards but that secondary also was the 2nd ranked in ints.

    As far as I'm concerned Pass Rush is important, LB play is important, stopping the run is important, good play in the secondary is important and when you lack in any of the areas teams will exploit it. Not every team stats will look the same but how you go about stopping the other team from putting points on the board and winning the turnover battle can vary.
  19. Deep_Freeze

    Deep_Freeze Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of a great quote someone else just used on here recently said by Bill Walsh, "You can hide a hole on offense based on your play calling, but you can't hide em on defense."

    They attacked TNew last year cause he was our weakness. Whatever weakness we have over there this year, they will attack that also, which also stands to reason that any big holes we have on D, we need to solve right now.
  20. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Sure. If you have LB who can't cover teams will attack that area all day long until you show you can stop it. You can send the kitchen sink at the QB but he will still hit those quick passes that can go the distance.

    Once you can get the ball past the LB there is a ton of space for a ball carrier to move in and if he breaks one tackle he is off to the races.

    Playing CB in the secondary is not just about covering deep balls. You better be able to step up and knock balls away and you better be able to turn a 5 yard catch in to just 5 yards not a 5 yard pass into a 50 yard gainer not to mention making the big play to get the ball back into the hands of the offense.

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