FEATURES

Top 5 NFL defensive backs on new teams in 2017

Morris Claiborne

Originally published by HERO Sports:

Similar to Colin Kaepernick at the quarterback position, the most well-known defensive back in the 2017 NFL free-agency class is still unsigned as the preseason gets underway.

That DB would be Darrelle Revis, the future Hall of Fame cornerback whose swift drop-off from shutdown to sit-down last season compelled the New York Jets to release him following another failed attempt to make the playoffs. Although Revis is only 32 years old, the Super Bowl champion and seven-time Pro Bowler has reportedly received little interest on the free-agent market. And if he does find a team, he might be asked to move to safety to mask whatever loss of speed and cover skills he’s had. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Devin McCourty

Devin McCourty

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Devin McCourty, FS, Patriots (NFL) — Not one of New England’s defensive backs had a standout game statistically. Nobody made a very memorable big play or forced a takeaway. So, McCourty gets this spot under the Kawhi Leonard/Andre Iguodala NBA Finals MVP criteria: It’s not so much what he did, it’s more about what he prevented someone else from doing.

Just like Leonard and Iguodala were rewarded primarily for not allowing LeBron James to completely dominate the 2014 and 2015 Finals, respectively, McCourty’s biggest accomplishment in the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI is that he didn’t allow Atlanta WR Julio Jones to dominate the game. Continue reading

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Super Bowl 51: A look at the secondaries

L-R: Harmon, McCourty, Ryan

L-R: Harmon, McCourty, Ryan

The media coverage leading up to Super Bowl LI (a.k.a. Super Bowl 51 for the Roman-numerically-challenged) between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons has mirrored the media coverage leading up to last month’s college football national championship game between Alabama and Clemson.

Legacy has been a popular angle.

Going into the NCAA title game, the biggest question surrounding Alabama head coach Nick Saban was not if he could lead the Crimson Tide to the program’s 17th national title. It was more like, when Saban did it, would he then be considered the greatest college coach of all-time? Would he be considered better than ‘Bama legend Paul “Bear” Bryant? Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Jalen Collins

Jalen Collins

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Jalen Collins, CB, Falcons (NFL) — After the Falcons jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter of Sunday’s NFC Championship game, the Packers drove into the red zone and were threatening to score. That’s when Collins stripped Green Bay fullback Aaron Ripkowski and also recovered the fumble. The Falcons scored on the ensuing drive, taking a 17-0 lead and cruising from there to a 44-21 victory and a spot in Super Bowl LI.

2. Brian Poole, CB, Falcons (NFL) — Las Vegas should have a prop bet available on whether or not Poole is going to catch Tom Brady with a highlight-reel hit during the Super Bowl. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Logan Ryan

Logan Ryan

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Logan Ryan, CB, Patriots (NFL) — Early in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game, the Texans forced the Patriots to punt and, facing an eight-point deficit, got the ball with a chance to tie.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, however, Ryan intercepted Houston QB Brock Osweiler and returned it to the 6-yard line. New England punched it into the end zone a couple of plays later, going up by two touchdowns and essentially sealing the eventual 34-16 victory.

Ryan finished with seven tackles, an interception, a sack and three pass breakups. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

A.J. Bouye

A.J. Bouye

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB, Texans (NFL) — Bouye’s impressive individual stat line was part of a collective team shutdown of the Raiders’ passing game in Saturday’s AFC wild-card playoff game.

Houston’s top-ranked defense compelled Oakland rookie QB Connor Cook to post a paltry QB Rating of 5.5, while Pro Bowl WR Amari Cooper had just two catches for 10 yards and No. 2 receiver Michael Crabtree’s stellar season ended with a 2-reception, 33-yard thud.

Bouye had one interception in the Texans’ 27-14 victory to go with three pass breakups and two tackles. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Chauncey Gardner

Chauncey Gardner

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Chauncey Gardner, S, Florida (NCAA) — It’s nothing new to hear a quarterback or running back thank his offensive line upon winning an individual award. It’s less common to hear someone from the defensive backfield thank his larger, less-heralded teammates in that situation.

After Gardner, a true freshman safety, was named MVP of the Outback Bowl on Monday, he said, “The MVP, it goes to our guys up front, the linebackers and the coaching staff because they put me in good position to make plays.” Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Jamar Taylor

Jamar Taylor

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Jamar Taylor, CB, Browns (NFL) — I have an unofficial rule that you have to win to get on the Pick Six list, and so all season long I hadn’t even been able to consider putting a defensive back from my Cleveland Browns in this space. But then on Saturday, the Browns beat the Chargers 20-17, “improving” to 1-14 and avoiding the possibility of making history for all the wrong reasons.

Taylor, in his first season as a regular starter after three years as a backup with the Dolphins, has shined enough through all the losing that Cleveland signed him to a three-year contract extension earlier this month.

In Saturday’s emotional victory, Taylor had five tackles, including one tackle for a loss, two pass breakups and an interception. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Mike Adams

Mike Adams

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Mike Adams, SS, Colts (NFL) — The Colts kept their playoff hopes alive with a surprising 34-6 domination of the Vikings on the road on Sunday, after which the only debate was whether Indy’s offense or defense was the most impressive group on the field.

One compelling argument in the defense’s favor is that in the highly-anticipated return of Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson, who had been out since Week 2 with a knee injury, the Colts limited the former MVP to just 22 yards on six carries.

Adams contributed six tackles to that effort, and he forced and recovered a fumble by Peterson. Adams also had an interception. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Damarious Randall

Damarious Randall

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Damarious Randall, CB, Packers (NFL) — The last time Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw a million interceptions against the Packers, back in the NFC Championship game following the 2014 season, he found a way to turn things around in time to lead an improbable comeback and put Seattle in its second straight Super Bowl.

This time, there was no comeback. Just a lot of interceptions.

Wilson threw five INTs against the Packers in Sunday’s 38-10 loss at Lambeau Field. Two of them were to Randall, the second-year corner who was still in college during that crazy Packers-Seahawks playoff game. Continue reading

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