Verner Getting “Stretched” To PressJune 16th, 2014
Joe chatted with Pro Bowl Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner about some elements of this excellent scouting breakdown of his game, and Verner agreed with the take that he’s no press-coverage cornerback.
Simply stated, Verner is learning how to get it done now because his coaches in Tennessee allowed him to play way off receivers.
Verner, entering his fifth NFL season, is being transformed into a more versatile cornerback by a former Pro Bowler himself, Bucs cornerbacks coach Gil Byrd.
“There’s actually a lot of [Xs and Os] and technique I’ve learned. [Byrd] has brought a lot of different perspective to me,” Verner said. “I just think some of the finer details in certain things; I basically would say he challenged us to do quite a bit. Playing man we might be way, way close to the receiver, which I’m not comfortable, I haven’t been comfortable with. I’m usually about eight, nine yards off. We might have been at three. We might have been at four. So he just stretched our imagination, stretched our capacity to see how things might feel. So those are the things I learned. You know what, I can probably play like that. You know, beforehand I’m like, ‘Man, I wouldn’t even try it.’
“So he taught us to try things outside our comfort zone. And that’s what expanded me as a football player. Now I can probably switch up my looks and things like that to try and confuse the offense now.”
Joe’s eager to see how Verner adjusts to Lovie’s old school Tampa-2 defense, and he evolves as a cornerback under Byrd and Leslie Frazier, who also was an excellent corner in his day before an injury in Super Bowl XX ended his career. On top of that, Lovie Smith was a defensive backs coach and often takes a hands approach.
It would be something if the coaching staff to take Verner’s stellar game to new heights.