If you were to put together an all-time dream team of a secondary for any level of football, no one would call you crazy for including Charles Woodson and Ed Reed.
Two of the greatest defensive backs the game has seen never did share a secondary outside of the NFL’s Pro Bowl, but they will share the stage when both are inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class. Continue reading
As expected, the two-hour TV special unveiling the top 10 players in the NFL Network’s ranking of the top 100 for 2016 didn’t feature any defensive backs. And at the same time, it kind of did.
After All-Pro and Pro Bowl and all-everything-else breakout star cornerback Josh Norman made the list at No. 11 in the previous episode, it was safe to assume there would be no DBs in the top 10. But this episode did include a segment on the next 10 who just missed the top-100 cut, otherwise known as Nos. 101 through 110. And that group included three defensive backs: Continue reading
I don’t know the order, and I can only take a decent guess at the names, but I do know for sure that next week’s two-hour TV special unveiling the top 10 of the NFL’s Network’s ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016 will not feature a defensive back.
Because if Josh Norman ended up No. 11 on the list — which was voted on by NFL players — that means no other cornerbacks or safeties are left.
During his breakout pro season, Norman was the league’s most celebrated and talked-out DB outside of Charles Woodson. But because Woodson, a future Hall of Famer, had announced his retirement and was in his farewell season with the Oakland Raiders, he wasn’t eligible for the 2016 edition of the top 100. Continue reading
Like the Heisman Trophy, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award unofficially yet almost exclusively belongs to offensive players — quarterbacks and running backs in particular.
Only one defensive player has won the Heisman (Michigan DB Charles Woodson in 1997) and only two defensive players have won the NFL’s MVP: Vikings DT Alan Page in 1971, and Giants LB Lawrence Taylor in 1986.
A few weeks into the 2015 NFL season, I started to believe Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor had a legit shot at becoming the third defensive player to be crowned MVP. Continue reading
Marcus Peters’ NFL career began with uncertainty. His rookie season ended with a certainty that no one should have doubted him in the first place.
“Character concerns” was the most popular phrase used around Peters in the 2015 pre-draft process. The 6-foot, 197-pound cornerback from Oakland, Calif., had been kicked off the team at the University of Washington during his junior season for disciplinary issues, a few weeks after he’d been suspended for throwing a tantrum on the sideline during a game.
The Kansas City Chiefs believed in Peters enough to make him the 18th overall pick in the first round, and as a rookie he finished with 60 tackles, eight interceptions (tied for the NFL lead), two INT returns for touchdowns, and one forced fumble. He helped the Chiefs make the playoffs and advance to the AFC divisional round, where they lost to the New England Patriots. Continue reading
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
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
T.J. Ward, SS, Broncos (NFL): As much as the voters may have wanted to give Super Bowl 50 MVP to QB Peyton Manning, the Denver defense — most notably LB Von Miller — was too good to be denied. One also could’ve made a strong MVP case for Ward, the 6th-year pro out of Oregon who had seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in the Broncos’ 24-10 victory over the Panthers. Ward, who didn’t have a single interception or fumble recovery during the regular season or playoffs before Sunday, picked off Carolina QB Cam Newton in the third quarter when the Panthers were just outside the red zone and trailing 16-7. Ward’s fourth-quarter fumble recovery set up the TD that was essentially the dagger for Denver.
Darian Stewart, FS, Broncos (NFL): Before, during and after the game, the dominant Super Bowl stories revolved around opposing quarterbacks Manning and Newton. Overlooked and underappreciated as usual were the respective defenses, and one standout was Stewart, who is referred to as the quarterback of Denver’s defense. He had three tackles and one sack on Sunday and helped lead a phenomenal team defensive effort by the Broncos. Continue reading
If you were to gather a group of NFL fans to talk about the Pro Bowl — difficult a task as that may be — you’ll find quite a few who believe the league should simply announce the rosters and scrap the idea of actually playing what has become the worst all-star game among the major American sports.
As football-mad as this country is, nobody seems to be going crazy over the Pro Bowl. And with good reason.
A salary bonus and recognition among peers are the biggest perks a player gets out of being voted to the Pro Bowl. As for the game itself, beyond the free trip to Hawaii, it means nothing. Continue reading
Tags: Adam Jones, Brent Grimes, Charles Woodson, Desmond Trufant, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eric Berry, Harrison Smith, Jason Verrett, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Peters, Mike Adams, Reshad Jones, Richard Sherman, Vontae Davis
In a surprising break from the norm, a defensive player was the headliner when the Associated Press revealed its All-Pro Team for the 2015 NFL season.
Rather than the competition for first-team quarterback between Cam Newton and Tom Brady (Cam won), or Adrian Peterson regaining his spot as the game’s top running back after missing almost an entire season, the top story when the rosters were released Friday was Khalil Mack, the Oakland Raiders star who made history by being the first player in NFL history to make first-team All-Pro at two positions in the same year.
Mack, a second-year pro who had 15 sacks and 77 tackles, was named to the first team at defensive end and linebacker. Continue reading
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama (NCAA): Jones is probably a better kick returner than cornerback, which says a lot about his electrifying return ability since he is a starter for arguably the best defense in college football. In the Crimson Tide’s 38-0 waxing of Michigan State in the national championship playoff semifinal, Jones helped keep the Spartans scoreless with a second-quarter interception deep in ‘Bama territory. Then the senior CB/KR got into the end zone himself with a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Shiloh Keo, FS, Broncos (NFL): Old, injured and discarded, QB Peyton Manning coming off the bench to lead Denver to a 27-20 victory over San Diego that clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC was something out of a Hollywood script. But that feel-good story wouldn’t have happened if Keo — a Hollywood-worthy underdog in his own right who was unemployed just a few weeks ago — hadn’t gotten an interception late in the fourth quarter to set up the Broncos’ go-ahead score. Continue reading