OPINION

Do basketball players make good defensive backs?

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson, an 11-year NBA veteran and three-time Slam Dunk contest champion, was not doing anything brand new when he worked out for the Seattle Seahawks last week in hopes of translating his basketball talent to a career in pro football.

We’ve seen elite basketball players become pro football players before.

But usually it’s a college hoops senior (most often a power forward) getting a shot with an NFL team (most often at tight end) because somebody thinks they’ve found the next Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham. Continue reading

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Safety-linebacker hybrid part of the NFL’s new normal?

Mark Barron

Mark Barron

During the most recent NFL postseason, I jokingly suggested to my cousin that every linebacker and safety in the league needed to meet somewhere in secret to discuss what they were going to do about Rob Gronkowski.

It seems none of them can solve the puzzle of keeping the Patriots’ superstar tight end in check, and Gronk isn’t getting any easier to cover as defenses see more and more of him. Even the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos and their critically acclaimed defense got lit up by Gronk for 144 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship game.

But now?

If the NFL’s linebackers and safeties were to get together sometime between today and the start of the 2016 season, the first order of business wouldn’t be the Gronk crisis — it would be the identity crisis that is beginning to afflict their respective positions. Continue reading

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Is it time for Darrelle Revis to move to safety?

Darrelle Revis

It’s been a little more than one week since the NFL’s free agency period began in earnest, and already there has been a lot of movement among defensive backs.

Risk-taking, playmaking cornerback Janoris Jenkins went from St. Louis to Los Angeles (when the Rams relocated) to New York (signing with the Giants). All-Pro safety Eric Weddle almost went from San Diego to L.A. via relocation, but the Chargers stayed home and Weddle ended up finding a new home in Baltimore. Sean Smith went from Kansas City to Oakland and Tyvon Branch went from Kansas City to Arizona, significantly changing the look of the Chiefs’ secondary, one of the NFL’s best in 2015. And Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes stayed in-state, going from Miami to Tampa Bay.

But by the time all of the contracts have been signed and the 2016 NFL season gets underway, the most significant secondary move could be the one where Darrelle Revis, a future Hall of Famer, moves from cornerback to safety for the New York Jets. Continue reading

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The best there is? The best there was? The best there ever will be?

635865770097340152-USP-NFL-Green-Bay-Packers-at-Oakland-Raiders

Clearly, I think very highly of defensive backs. This article and this publication would not exist if I didn’t. And like anyone with any sense who appreciates DBs, I think very highly of Charles Woodson, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy winner who is retiring at the end of this season, his 18th as a professional.

But in response to a question that has been going around since Woodson announced his impending retirement on Dec. 21, I do not think Woodson is the greatest defensive player in NFL history. And that is primarily because he is a defensive back. Continue reading

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‘The U’ needs a stellar secondary to bounce back

Artie Burns

Miami (Fla.) is one of the elite of college football programs about which college football fans will say college football is always better when they are good.

In that sense, Miami is just like Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC and Texas, to name a few. But in so many other ways, “The U” is unlike any other program in the country.

The Hurricanes have a distinct aura and a swagger. They play at a different speed, with a different style, under a different spotlight. At least, that’s what they’re supposed to do. They are a combination of the Raiders and the Lakers made just for college football. Continue reading

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Stetson DB Trez Jackson is one of football’s many good guys

trez

Still reeling from high-profile criminal cases involving Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Aaron Hernandez, still cupping its collective face with the palm of its collective hand at the petty transgressions of Jameis Winston and Todd Gurley, the football world has lately been on the hunt for heroes. Or if nothing else, at least some bona fide good guys to hold up as the rule against the exceptions that always seem to get more attention from the media and the public.

Trezdun Jackson admirably and yet unwittingly stepped into that role this week. Continue reading

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Did Morris Claiborne create more drama in Dallas?

Morris-Claiborne-1

It’s always something with the Cowboys, isn’t it? Though if I’m being honest, I think this latest “incident” qualifies more as a minor spat good for one episode of a reality TV show than a legitimate crisis that should worry America’s Team. Really, anybody who’s ever had a job they care about and an ego worth anything should be able to relate to Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne.

Two days after Dallas beat the Rams in Week 3, Claiborne — who had one interception but was also burned for two touchdowns against St. Louis — found out he was being pulled from the starting lineup in favor of Orlando Scandrick, who is coming off a drug suspension. Claiborne stormed off and left the team’s practice facility, and by the time he returned, he had racked up an estimated five figures worth of fines for missing practice and meetings. Continue reading

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