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Article on our cornerbacks

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Article on our cornerbacks

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:16 pm

Just re-watched the superbowl in it's entirety for the first time today and never really realized just how much we use all of our cb's in each game. Madison, Webster, Ross, and Dockery all played big roles in that game and there were alot of different match-ups created.

So I found this article written by John Clayton and it's a pretty decent read for a slow day.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=3217285

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo turned himself into a hot NFL head-coaching candidate by making big changes to the way the team plays defense.



He creatively ramped up the pass rush by using four defensive ends in passing situations. He called more aggressive blitzes, many learned from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. In the secondary, the most welcome change was a switch to man-to-man coverage for cornerbacks.



The only problem with the Giants' coverages is figuring out who is the man. Because of injuries and poor play, Spagnuolo has juggled five starting cornerbacks this season. And even heading into the Super Bowl, it's uncertain who's going to line up in press coverage against Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte' Stallworth.


Veteran Sam Madison says the Giants' group of cornerbacks is the best he has worked with in his 11-year career.
In the first two playoff games against Tampa Bay and Dallas, Spagnuolo started Corey Webster and rookie Aaron Ross at corner. Against the Packers, he started R.W. McQuarters and Webster.


Yep, that's the same Webster who began the season as a starter, was demoted to backup and twice was deactivated in favor of other cornerbacks. Webster and Ross might be the starters in Super Bowl XLII, but there is no guarantee, and the team doesn't seem particularly concerned.



"When something happens, we have other guys who could relieve,'' cornerback Sam Madison said. "It's good to have some combinations, and we have a lot of different combinations. We can do a lot of different things.''



The NFC Championship Game win over the Packers was an example of the secondary's resilience. Madison was benched after getting a personal-foul penalty for sparring with Packers running back Vernand Morency. Webster was burned for a 90-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Packers receiver Donald Driver but came back to make the game-changing interception in overtime. Overall, they held Packers QB Brett Favre to 19-for-35 passing for 236 yards and a 70.7 quarterback rating.



"This is the best group I've played with,'' said Madison, an 11-year veteran who has played mostly man-to-man coverage during his NFL career.



Heading into the playoffs, critics wondered about the Giants' depth at cornerbacks and how well they would match up against opponents because of injuries. Kevin Dockery, who started four games in the regular season, missed all three playoff games with a hip injury. Madison missed two playoff games with an abdominal strain suffered in the Week 17 loss to the Patriots. Ross, a rookie first-round choice from the University of Texas, suffered a shoulder injury in the playoff game against Dallas.



But New York's corners are getting healthier. And even though Spagnuolo may not have a Champ Bailey to shut down Moss, the Giants will be competitive against New England's receivers.




[+] EnlargePhoto by Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Rookie cornerback Aaron Ross, a first-round pick from Texas, has made steady progress this season.
A year ago, the Giants' corners grumbled about playing the zone schemes implemented by former defensive coordinator Tim Lewis. Every Giants cornerback is more experienced in man-to-man than zone. They wanted to attack, and Spagnuolo freed them to do so this season.


"The majority of what we play now is man-to-man,'' Madison said. "Spag came in here and we had some good corners who can play man. We brought in Aaron Ross, who can play man. All Corey Webster played at LSU was man. We are about a 70 to 80 percent man team. Man, it's fun.''



Madison has been a man-to-man specialist since Jimmy Johnson drafted him 11 years ago for the Miami Dolphins. Man-to-man coverage is something of a lost art because of the proliferation of Cover 2 defenses, which provide help for corners with safeties. And most 3-4 teams prefer zone coverages because of the zone blitzes.



"This is great here because I'm doing the stuff I did in Miami,'' Madison said. "It's fun.''



It's pretty apparent Spagnuolo learned Jim Johnson's schemes in Philadelphia well. In Philadelphia, Johnson, whom Spagnuolo worked under for eight years, is the master of surprise blitzes. In the early days in Philly, he used to match Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor and Al Harris in man coverages against opponents. Now, he uses Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown. Using man-to-man frees an extra defender to either help stop the run or blitz.



The key is keeping offenses guessing and being aggressive. Giants corners are thrilled with the concepts.



"At LSU, Nick Saban ran a pro-style system with a lot of bump-and-run man,'' Webster said. "It was crazy with all the bump-and-run, but it was fun. It made the transition easy to the NFL."



What also helped was having Madison and McQuarters, who both have more than a decade of coverage experience in the NFL.



"They taught us to prepare like you're a starter even when you aren't starting," Webster said.



Including the playoffs, Madison has started 16 games, Ross 11, Webster five, Dockery four and McQuarters one, but each of the five cornerbacks is prepared for anything. At one point in the NFC Championship Game, Madison was benched, Webster was being treated for a tight muscle and Dockery was out. McQuarters had to line up in man coverage at the age of 31.



Normally, defenses that play 70 to 80 percent man coverage rank near the top of the league in defensive penalties. For instance, the Packers are primarily a man team and they led the league with 12 interference and eight illegal contact penalties during the regular season. But the Giants play the scheme with control; they were near the bottom of the league with only five combined penalties.



By spreading the playing time to five cornerbacks, none of the Giants' corners has been abused. Madison, despite being 33, was beaten for only one touchdown this season. Webster was beaten for only 11 completions during the regular season, but he only started three games. Ross had nine regular-season starts and was beaten for seven touchdown passes, but he improved as the season progressed.



"Lining up in so much man is one of the reasons I have been so successful,'' Madison said.



To a man, they are a happy group.

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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:22 pm

That is a decent read thanks.

It is interesting that Madison says this group is the best he had played with; particularly as he formed the NFL's best CB tandem in miami with Samari Rolle.
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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sun Jun 29, 2008 5:25 pm

Here's another
http://www.giants.com/news/headlines/story.asp?story_id=27056

APRIL 22, 2008

EAST RUTHERFORD - If someone had to predict today who the opening day starting cornerbacks would be for the Giants against the Redskins on September 4, they could give two very plausible names, but the next guy could give a combination that would be just as likely. Who is the third cornerback that plays in the slot? In today’s NFL, that position is nearly as important as the two starting corners on the outside. When offenses go with three wide receivers (not a rare occurrence anymore), often times they put their best receiver in the slot to avoid double coverage, making the slot corner the most important player on the field. The Giants have a number of different directions they can go to answer those questions.



CB Corey Webster rebounded late in the season and played a key role for the Giants
Sam Madison is the steady veteran. He isn’t the perennial Pro Bowler he once was (1999-2002), but Madison is still strong on the bump and run and makes plays on the ball. Madison finished the season with four interceptions this year, his most since 2000. He stayed healthy most of the season after fighting a hamstring in training camp but went down against the Patriots in Week 17 with an abdominal injury. Madison is still extremely effective when healthy, and he always provides great leadership to the young players in the locker room. However, at his age, corners tend to start getting banged up a little bit so the Giants should be prepared to spell Madison in case that happens.

Aaron Ross proved his worth as a first round pick last year, playing in all but one regular season game and starting nine of them. Early in the season, Ross played primarily in the slot on nickel packages, a position he learned in training camp and had no experience with at Texas. He started for the first time in Week 4, replacing Cory Webster, who was ineffective early in the season. Ross started all four playoff games, and if the Giants prefer, they can start Ross, and still move him to the slot when teams go with three wide receivers. Ross battled cramps in his calf early in the season and then a hamstring that knocked him out of the starting lineup in December. He has the size and speed to be a shut down corner.

Cory Webster had as roller coaster a season as any player could have. He began the year as a starter, lost the starting job and was even deactivated for two games in the middle of the season. With injuries to Sam Madison and Kevin Dockery, Webster was forced back into the lineup and started in all four playoff games. He had two interceptions in the postseason, including one on the final pass of Brett Favre’s career to set up the Giants’ game winning overtime score. Don’t forget his play on the final drive of the Super Bowl either, barely knocking a ball away from Randy Moss on a deep pass that could have put the Patriots in field goal range. Still only 26 years old, there’s no reason Webster won’t have a chance to compete for a starting job next season. He’s always had the physical skills to play corner, and now it seems like his confidence is there to perform at a high level.

Kevin Dockery emerged as a key player last year, starting six games. Undersized at 5’8, his greatest strength is his speed. Only 23 years old, he showed he could play in the slot last year and on the outside when he had to. He missed two playoff games with a bad ankle injury that had him on crutches but managed to make it back for the Super Bowl, where he made four tackles.

R.W. McQuarters no doubt gave Dockery some pointers McQuarters is also a smaller cornerback (5’10) that played in the slot for much of his career. McQuarters returned punts the entire season, and despite his fumbles against the Packers in the NFC Championship game, excelled at ball security. Only starting two games, McQuarters was quiet on defense during the regular season (1 pass defended, 0 interceptions), but he had an interception in each of the Giants first three playoff games, including the game clincher against the Cowboys in the fourth quarter. Players who can be depended on to play well in the most important spots are hard to come by.

Youngsters Darren Barnett, Geoffrey Pope, and Andrew Shanle round out the position group, and will all have to impress to make an impact on the team next year. Pope saw extensive action and played well in the second half of the Divisional Playoff game against the Cowboys when Ross had to leave with an injured shoulder.

Much like pass rushers, the old adage goes, “you can never have enough good cornerbacks.” The Giants have a good mix of veterans and young players at the position, and five that started at least one game last year. The true depth at the position will depend on how much longer Sam Madison can keep playing at a high level, and whether Cory Webster can consistently play like he did in the playoffs. If both those things happen, the Giants will be in good shape next season.

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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:28 pm

No mention of Terrell Thomas in the second article.

I would imagine he will be in the mix as well for the #3 WR if he develops well in camp.

I think he would be particularly effective against Slot recievers
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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  Bigblue25 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:30 pm

Aaron Ross has future pro bowler written all over him, Dockery actually played well against Wes Welker in the Super Bowl, i know Welker had great stats, But alot of his catches were little Dink and Dunks the Pats like to use, Deion Branch did it against Philly in Super Bowl 39. Our Corners are not as bad as everyone thinks, Safety was our big issue and Kenny Phillips should take care of that next year.
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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  Bigblue25 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:33 pm

Big_Pete wrote:That is a decent read thanks.

It is interesting that Madison says this group is the best he had played with; particularly as he formed the NFL's best CB tandem in miami with Samari Rolle.


It was Patrick Surtain in Miami with Madison. Samari Rolle is part of the overrated duo in Baltimore with Chris McAllister.
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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:26 pm

I agree bb25.
Alot of Welker's catches were dink and dunks that the linebackers were suppose to pick up. Dockery let one or two get away but not for big yardage.
You could tell it was suppose to be tight coverage on the line and then the backers were suppose to pick up anything in the middle.
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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  Big_Pete on Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:43 pm

Bigblue25 wrote:
Big_Pete wrote:

It is interesting that Madison says this group is the best he had played with; particularly as he formed the NFL's best CB tandem in miami with Samari Rolle.


It was Patrick Surtain in Miami with Madison. Samari Rolle is part of the overrated duo in Baltimore with Chris McAllister.

Of course, got them mixed up; I meant Surtain - oops Rolling Eyes
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Re: Article on our cornerbacks

Post  Big_Pete on Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:53 pm

here is the roster analysis of our CBs from http://www.bigblueinteractive.com/information-pages/roster-analysis/


Sam Madison started 15 regular season games for the Giants in 2007 and finished with 67 tackles, 1 sack, 14 pass defenses, and 4 interceptions. He missed two of the playoff games with an abdomen injury. Madison was signed by the Giants in March 2006 after he was waived by the Miami Dolphins. In 2006 for the Giants, he started 12 regular season games at right corner, missing four with a hamstring injury. Madison was originally drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He was voted to four straight Pro Bowls from 1999 to 2002. While his skills and speed are declining due to his advancing age (34 in April), Madison is a smooth, natural cover corner who continued to play fairly well for the Giants in 2007. Madison is at his best in aggressive, tight man-to-man coverage. He does a good job of reading the opposing quarterback’s eyes and making plays on the football. Experienced, confident, and a team leader. Madison is an inconsistent run defender. He also has had some problems staying healthy the last couple of seasons.

As a rookie, Aaron Ross started nine games and finished 2007 with 42 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 9 pass defenses, and 3 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Ross was drafted by the Giants in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Ross combines very good size and athleticism. He has good speed and quickness, and he is fluid and smooth in coverage. Ross plays well in aggressive man coverage. He is not as strong when he plays off the receiver. Ross reacts and recovers quickly, and he has good hands. He is an aggressive hitter, but he needs to develop into a more consistent tackler (wrap up more). Ross is competitive, confident, and hardworking. Tough - he played with a dislocated shoulder in the playoffs. Ross was a very good punt returner in college.

Aside from Eli Manning, no Giant so dramatically improved his play during the playoff run than Corey Webster. Webster started the first three games of the season and then was demoted to third-string corner. He did not start another regular season game and was in fact inactive for two games. Coupled with a disappointing 2006 campaign, Webster looked to be a 2005 second-round bust. But when injuries hit the cornerback position hard late in the year, Webster was forced to start in all four playoff games. Not only did he play well, but he excelled against top-flight competition in the form of Joey Galloway, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss. Webster finished the regular season with 18 tackles, 3 pass defenses, and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. In the playoffs, he accrued 12 tackles, 5 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions, including a decisive interception of Brett Favre in overtime of the NFC Championship Game. Webster has good size and is a good athlete. While not a burner or overly quick, Webster has good speed and is smooth and fluid. He plays better in aggressive man coverage than he does in zone. Webster does need to become a more aggressive and physical tackler and player against the run. Webster was limited in 2006 with turf toe and hip injuries, the latter requiring offseason surgery.

Kevin Dockery has developed into a pleasant surprise as a nickel corner and occasional starter. Dockery started six games in 2007 and finished the season with 46 tackles and 8 pass defenses. He missed two regular season and two post-season games with a hip flexor injury. Dockery was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Mississippi State after the 2006 NFL Draft. Dockery lacks height, but he is a well-built player with good speed and quickness. Aggressive.

R.W. McQuarters has proven to be a valuable reserve with the versatility to play corner, nickel, and even safety in a pinch. McQuarters played in a 16 regular season games, starting twice at corner, and finished 2007 with 15 tackles and 1 pass defense. McQuarters was a major contributor in the playoffs with one start, 5 tackles, 3 pass defenses, and 3 interceptions, including game-icing picks against the Buccaneers and Cowboys. McQuarters was signed by the Giants in March 2006 from the Detroit Lions. While it was expected that he would serve as the team’s nickel back, he ended up starting 10 regular season games that season. McQuarters was originally drafted in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers traded McQuarters to the Chicago Bears in 2000. During the 2005 offseason, despite interest from the Giants, he signed with the Detroit Lions as an unrestricted free agent. McQuarters appears to prefer man to zone coverage. Tough and aggressive – he plays a physical game. McQuarters has slowed with age, but still gets by on instincts and experience. He served as the Giants’ primary punt returner in 2007, averaging 7.6 yards per return on 42 returns (with a long of 27 yards).

Terrell Thomas was selected by the Giants in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Thomas was a two-year starter at USC. In 2007, Thomas started 13 games and accrued 45 tackles, 1 sack, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 7 pass defenses, and 4 interceptions. Thomas combines very good size and athletic ability for a bigger corner. Quick and agile for his size. Very long arms. He needs to become a more consistent run defender. Thomas has the ability to play cover-2 as well as man-to-man. He is physical with receivers and can press receivers at the line. Thomas has a good feel for zone coverage. He needs to improve his footwork technique. Thomas is instinctive and productive. He is very smart. Diagnoses well. Intense and competitive. Injury issues caused him to slide in the draft, including surgeries on both his shoulders and his right knee.

Geoffrey Pope was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad at the end of December 2007. Pope did not play in the regular season, but saw action in the playoff games against the Cowboys and Packers. The Miami Dolphins signed Pope as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2007 NFL Draft, but he was waived by the team in early September. While he lacks ideal size, Pope is a good athlete with excellent speed. Pope comes from a small-school background (Howard) and needs a lot of development.

The Giants signed Darren Barnett as a rookie free agent after the 2007 NFL Draft, waived him in June, re-signed him in August, and then waived him in early September before the season started. The team then signed him to the Practice Squad in October, where he spent the remainder of the season. Barnett lacks ideal size, but he is a very good athlete. He tested extremely well at Missouri State’s pro day workouts in 2007. Barnett has character concerns. After playing well for Michigan State as a sophomore in 2003, he was kicked off the team for testing positive for drugs. He transferred to Missouri State in 2004 and earned first-team All-Gateway honors after tying for the conference lead with 7 interceptions. Barnett was ruled academically ineligible in 2005, prematurely ending his college career. He did not play football in 2005 and 2006.
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