The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 16, 2013

Sherman, Revis make lock-down defensive backs an NFL must-have

NORMAN — Darrell Green is not impressed.

The Hall of Famer looks around today’s NFL and sees a lack of talent at his old job.

“When it is most needed, in my opinion, the cornerback position is probably producing at its lowest level,” Green said. “Guys like myself and Deion Sanders and Mike Haynes — this is the time when we would be saying, ‘Yes! This is great! We want you to pass.”’

Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Tampa Bay’s Darrelle Revis and Denver’s Champ Bailey think that way, too, making lock-down cornerbacks must-haves nowadays. With quarterbacks flinging the football around like never before, those back-end guys get more chances to flourish or fail. They define their teams’ Ds.

Still, as Green points out, special ones are rare. Check the numbers: Through Week 6, QBs averaged a passer rating of 81 when targeting players covered by cornerbacks, higher than any season since at least 1995, according to STATS.

“This generation, they’re behind the 8-ball, because these offenses and quarterbacks are incredible,” said Green, who played for the Washington Redskins from 1983-2002. “Better cornerbacks would make defenses better.”

Thanks to rules changes and offensive innovation, games are averaging 45.90 points in 2013, which would be the second-most in NFL history (the record is 46.48 in 1948). Games are averaging about 710 total net yards and slightly more than 490 yards passing, both on pace to break marks set in 2012. The 289 touchdown passes are the most through Week 6, an average of 3.14 per game that would be the highest in the Super Bowl era.

“If you keep getting that passing game going more and more, you’re going to keep seeing how important it is to have good corners,” Bailey said.

“I would say now you’ve got to have more than one,” he said, “and that’s the hard part.”

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