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Position Focus: CBs Should Benefit From Less Zone
(Editor’s Note: Over the next two weeks, football analyst Bryan Broaddus will take a closer look at each position, highlighting the standouts and players who need more production. Today, we will focus on the cornerback position.)
Top Performer: Orlando Scandrick
For me, this really goes all the way back to our time in Oxnard, Calif. Orlando Scandrick has adapted to this scheme change more quickly than any of the other cornerbacks on the roster.
Whether he has been playing on the outside or in the slot, Scandrick has given this defense some quality snaps. Throughout his career, he has always played with a chip on his shoulder and there have been times where that chip as weighed him down, but now you see a player who has been much more consistent in his overall play.
You can say what you want in regard to Morris Claiborne and his problems with injuries, but even if he was healthy, Orlando Scandrick outplayed him and earned the right to start at corner in this defense.
Need More From: Morris Claiborne
This has been an up-and-down season for the second year player out of LSU. There have been times where he has been awful and other times where he has lived up to the expectations the front office and coaches believed he had.
The biggest issues that Claiborne has faced have not been how he has played, but his overall health and lack of time on the field -- in both practice and games. For a young man, he has missed too much time with these injuries and it affects the way that he plays.
When Claiborne struggles with his confidence as a player, he is no good to this defense. With that being said, this defense needs him. B.W. Webb is not ready to play and when Claiborne is on the field it at least allows Kiffin a decent option to match up against receivers by putting Scandrick in the slot.
Morris Claiborne needs to find a way to stay on the field but more importantly, he needs to find ways to make more plays.
It has not been easy for this group all season in having to deal with what seems to be an elite quarterback every week. In these last six games, there appears to be no relief in sight either, with dates against all three division opponents, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers ahead.
In my opinion, where this group has struggled the most is when they have had to line up and play in zone. I am not saying that they haven’t had their struggles in man as well, but they look more comfortable and sure of what they are doing when they are playing man. Jerry Jones said that one of the bye week adjustments that he expected to see before the Giants game is this secondary playing more man coverage, which would help this group tremendously.
If this defense is going to succeed down the stretch handling these quarterbacks, these cornerbacks are going to have to play a huge role. Playing more man coverage should help.