Thinking about our Secondary Battles V2
Last week, we took a closer look at the Free Safety position, this week we are looking at our corner backs to see who I except to be starting in Houston come September.
In case you forgot, below are my projected starters:
CB alpha – Vontae Davis
CB beta – Richard Marshall
FS – Jimmy Wilson
SS – Tryrell Johnson
- Davis is going into his 4th year, this is where we will see Davis blossom into a pro bowl player. I’m calling it right now, I except a Pro Bowl year from Davis. He’s has all the tools to make him on the best CB in the entire NFL. His shadowing is flawless, his speed is fast and his acceleration is exactly what you need. Davis is not one to shy away from contact, and he loves coming down to the line of scrimmage to help out in the run game. Davis brings a sense of confidence to our secondary that we haven’t seen since Surtain was our alpha CB. Opposing QB might think twice about targeting the WR that Davis is covering. He’s confidence is growing not only among himself, but around the league. Last year Davis was hampered by few injures, but still managed to lead our secondary in INTs, and collect his first sack of his young career. Davis is our starter from day 1….period.
- It is funny to think a 27 year old player is a seasoned veteran, but that is exactly what we got in Marshall. He’s the younger, quicker and healthy version of Will Allen. Everything you want from a beta CB. For the past 4 years, Marshall played in all 16 games, generating 11 INTs, 5 sacks, a 1 forced fumble. What more can you ask for? Our secondary is lacking a ‘big play’ player, based on the stats that Marshall has provided how can you not think he will fill this role. Now, I watched some film on Marshall, and before I get into that, I have to give a shout out to Fitz, dam….I never really paid attention to Arizona, since it was Arizona, but Fitz jumps out at you and he catches everything. His respect in the huddle, where he as OL asking him questions, is something I have never seen before. The game has slowed down for him and he’s loves this game. Back to Marshall, one thing I noticed is that he loves to jam. His jam coverage is excellent, and his run support is even better. He averages around 71 solo tackles in the past 4 years and this is coming from a Cornerback! That’s the great thing. This signing makes a lot more sense to me now than it did earlier this season. Once upon a time, when we had 6 pro bowl players on our D (Surtain, Madison, Bowens, Thomas, Taylor, Marion) where we employed a 4-3 D…which is what our new Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is going to employ. I know everyone thought that Smith would play the beta role, but the more I watch film on Marshall, the more he reminds me of Sam Madison, although Marshall is a better tackler. Marshall has great hip movement, reads the ball right, but his shadowing has cost him some plays. Watch the Panthers vs. Cardinals game from last year and you can see Steve Smith beating him on the fly Z route and underneath dig patterns. He also has a tendency like Vontae Davis to get beat on double moves. Looking at the Ravens game last year, Boldin schooled Marshall on a few plays that were an inside out move, with a Post 5 route. This play was open all day, since Marshall always bites on the first move. However, when you have a safety like Adrian Wilson as your last line of defence, perhaps you can bite on the first moving and try to make the INT, knowing you have Wilson as your back up. Marshall doesn’t have that luxury in Miami, so this is something we are going to have to watch out for.
- Nickel back
- I bought his 31 jersey as soon as he signed his rookie contract, now it’s a vintage jersey that I wear when I play football. I had such great hope for Smith, that many members on our forum were asking what do you see in him….I still see the same player, but without any confidence. Smith has the god given ability to be a star in the NFL, but something is not working. I am not sure if it is in his head or if he was just too over confident. The thing that scares me even more is that he is in a contract year. I want to put this out there, if Smith has a breakout season, we should not break the bank to sign him. Although it upsets me to state that, we have to be honest with ourselves and if money is the only that motivates Smith, then he’s not a player I want on our team. I believe Smith will do well in the nickel back spot, and I look for him to play against TE as well. He has the size and speed to play against Hernandez , Grod, and Keller. Davis and Marshall can, but the height mismatch is where they would fail. Smith is a strong 6’3 and has the speed to play against the hybrid TE’s.
- Dime back
- Nolan has the potential and the coaches love his ‘yes sir’ attitude. At the end of the season he did play well. Not amazing or anything that would make you remember, but solid. Now if we would have made that INT against the Browns and brought it to the house…that would have been special. If Nolan wants to continue his career with the Dolphins, I am hoping that his primary goal this offseason is to make 4 big plays. That type of goal would allow him to thrive and fight for playing time. Nolan is great in coverage, but seems to lose his cool playing in zone coverage. While watching tape on him, it just seems like he thinks he is not in the right place. He’s need to develop confidence and I can see him getting that if he sets his goals right.
- Jonathan Wade is the only player that I think might battle Nolan for playing time, everyone else (Agnew, Lawerence, Brown, Hughes, Scott) are battling for either practice squad.
So what do you think? Do you agree with my projected starters? Or do you see it going down differently?