Film Study Of Alterraun Verner

April 4th, 2014

Joe hates to play pretend, unless the land of make believe includes Rachel Watson. No, you won’t catch Joe reading fiction or fantasy.

So in that spirit, Joe’s not going to pretend he spent time the past two football seasons watching Titans football and Alterraun Verner.

Talented Mike Tanier, of, was in the same boat but wanted to learn all he could about Verner. Prior to the free agency dinner bell ringing, Tanier set out to educate himself on all things Verner and penned a long piece. A few weeks old, it remains thought-provoking and informative.

Here’s an excerpt:

Verner also rarely plays press coverage. Through four games, I do not recall seeing him jam a receiver at the line, though he sometimes makes contact early in the route and rides the receiver downfield. The Titans work to allow Verner to cover in space as often as possible. If two receivers are stacked on the offensive left, Verner aligns about nine yards deep, with Coty Sensabaugh or another defender at the line of scrimmage. Typically, Verner handles deep routes or over-the-middle routes in this arrangement, while the nickel defender handles the flat and is the first line of run defense. When a force defender is needed on the right side (the defensive back who lines up outside the tight end and forces the running back to stay inside), the Titans usually slip a safety into the role, with Verner as the deep defender.

We will see in a moment how these alignments and strategic decisions complement Verner’s style of play. For now, it is important to get a feel for the shape of his game. Verner is not Richard Sherman, hammering receivers as they come off the line. Instead, he plays in space, adjusting to the receiver’s release and the route combination, and using a mixture of quickness, awareness and excellent reaction time to keep receivers from getting open and make quarterbacks leery to throw to his side of the field.

One last note before continuing: Verner frequently uses what is called the bail technique when dropping into coverage. There are dozens of examples of it on film, but here was a handy one from the Week 16 game against the Jaguars. Verner is No. 20 at the very top of the screen on this routine little pass play:



 See how he dropped, with his stance wide and his butt to the sideline at about a 45 degree angle, a full second before the snap? That’s bail technique. Verner wants to be ready to run deep with his receiver, and he wants to be able to see the whole field and read route combinations. He’s willing to sacrifice the ability to press his receiver, and to be out of ideal position to cover an inside route, in order to get into bail technique position. It is the kind of thing a cornerback will often do when dropping into a Cover-3 zone: He knows he has to get deep, has help both over the middle and underneath, and wants to see which receivers are going where. But Verner also uses it in man-to-man coverage, often.

You can read the entire analysis by clicking through above. There’s a lot of meat there.

Joe surely trusts Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier’s assessment of a top cornerback like Verner. Both men were secondary coaches, but successful defensive head coaches, and Frazier was a top NFL corner himself.

Verner is not Darrelle Revis. No chance. But he’s been assessed to be a near perfect corner for Lovie’s defense by various esteemed analysts, and Verner told Tennessee media the fit for him was so right in Tampa that it led to him pouncing on the Bucs’ offer and not pushing for the highest bid on the market.

Given Verner’s known intelligence, Joe also trusts Verner chose the Bucs because they were the best football fit for the areas in which he excels.

45 Responses to “Film Study Of Alterraun Verner”

  1. BirdDoggers Says:

    Lovie’s corners have had a lot of success in the past. It’s safe to say he knows what he wants in a corner and he sees that in Verner. It hurts to get let a talent like Revis go, but Verner should do well in this defense.

  2. BucsfanNJ Says:

    Joe all week long iv’e been pounding shots for everytime you mention manziel, and then today, a friday not a single word about him…. Come on bro lets get this weekend started

    Joe doesn’t write about Johnny nearly as much as some think. Hey, there’s a mention. Throw one back! –Joe

  3. pablo Says:

    Verner is a serviceable #2 CO in this league .

  4. brandonbucfan Says:

    It will be interesting to see how Lovie and Frazier deploy the three CB’s…Verner Jenkins and Banks

  5. pablo Says:

    ATV is a serviceable #2 CB in the NFL.

  6. Architek Says:

    No please no more JF.

    That said I absolutely love this signing and think he will excel in our defense!

  7. thegregwitul Says:

    I think this guy will be a stud for the Bucs, and he’s only 25 years old. I could see Lovie shaping Verner to become a Ronde Barber like player; an under-appreciated star who is unfairly labeled as a system player and becomes a top 5 corner while falling under the national media’s radar.

    Verner was the one corner I wanted in free agency, and when he was signed (and at a team friendly price) during the Revis drama, I was so happy to have the best possible available free agent corner replace Revis. I was so worried the Bucs were going to miss out on Verner and cut Revis, that once Verner was signed, I was able to put the Revis release behind me as a fan.

  8. Shawnbucfan Says:

    Bucs trade mike willlams to bills for a 6th rounder

  9. cbell96825 Says:

    Mike williams gone for 6th rounder to bills

  10. Left_Coast_Bucs_Fan Says:

    Hey Joe, just saw on that PN network that Mike Williams got traded to the Bills for a 6th round pick! WTB, that’s all he’s worth?

  11. Joe C Says:

    On an unrelated note, Bucs TRADE MIKE WILLIAMS TO BUFFALO, for a 6th rounder! Go get em’ L &L!

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    Have fun in purgatory Mike. Told you people so. But but but it was his brother that stabbed ….him. Big deal told you that was the straw. Lovie is cleaning house.

  13. Couch Fan Says:

    Wow, really? All we got was a 6th for him? That is a horrible trade. Especially when we now only have 1 good receiver left? Please tell me this is a f*cking joke?

  14. tampamac Says:


    When a player has off field issues, ANYTHING you get for him is a plus. Typically they end up getting released and you lose them for nothing.

  15. kryq Says:

    Mike Williams, traded for a 6th round pick to the Bills. I think he could of gotten at least a 5th or 4th.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Complete Overhaul!

  17. SteveK (MGM) Says:


    I agree with your pint about Johnny, he’s the best QB of the not so big 3.

    IMHO, the BPA @ 7 is going to be OT/EdgeRusher/Sammy Watkins/ and then Manziel.

    Our team could use an elite talent such as:

    Clowney, Robinson, Mack, Mathews, Watkins before you even think about taking a QB.

    After that, of those guys are gone at 7, then you can take:

    Manziel, Donald, Lewan, or Evans.

    I’d take the 6’8″ OT from Michigan or the the 6’1″, strongest and most polished D-Lineman in the draft from Pitt before taking Manziel. Oh, by the way, Lewan and Donald run 4.8 and 4.7 forty yard dashes. Both would be our fastest linemen.

  18. Buc1987 Says:

    Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr Mike bring the Caveman Gang and some snow boots with ya.

  19. SteveK (MGM) Says:

    Good riddance mike!

    Good luck back home!

    You just weren’t mature enough to be a Buc. Thanks for the awesome season.

  20. Buc1987 Says:

    LUV…it’s going to be like learning a whole new team.

  21. Brandon Says:

    I heard we just traded Mike Williams to the Bills for a 6th round pick. Man our WR corps is lookin pretty bad now. I’m all in for Sammy Watkins @7 for sure now!

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    This IS a rebuild people.

  23. tampamac Says:


    Same thing as above. They could’ve released hin ala Desan, but recouping a pick in this draft for a player with bad buzz this offseason AND coming off a serious injury is a positive in my book. And I believe by trading him, we’re off the hook for his salary.

  24. Couch Fan Says:

    As of right now this offense is potentially much worse than last year. The draft better be all offense or we aren’t going to be able to score jack sh!t next year.

  25. mike43605 Says:

    Mike Williams traded to the Bills

  26. Kyle Says:

    Looks like with Williams leaving we will be drafting an aggie, bring on mike Evans!

  27. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Sooooooo basically we traded Mike Williams for Gabe Carimi. The Bucs strike (out) again!

  28. Buc1987 Says:

    I didn’t notice them moving the ball any better last season with or without Mike in the lineup.

  29. Couch Fan Says:

    Might as well trade V-jax to while were at it and pick up a 5th. Lol, I know Mike has some off the field issues but now our Offensive is in very bad shape. I was excited about everything except McCown and now Williams gone. This better be a hell of a draft.

  30. Drew Says:

    MW and the Killa Magilla Rap band are in route to chilly Buffalo. A new dawn is arising in TB.

  31. thegregwitul Says:

    No cap hit for the Bucs and they land a draft pick for Williams when we have seen an entire offseason of productive vets hit the open market due to their previous salaries. Mike goes back home to Buffalo and his former college coach. This is a win/win for both teams.

    Living in Buffalo and with the Bills being in a different conference and playing the Bucs every four years, I root for the Bills anytime they aren’t playing the Bucs; awesome fanbase and great tailgating. I was a big Mike Williams fan even before the Bucs drafted him, so if he had to leave the team, this is the best landing spot for him (and also his last chance to turn it around as an NFL player). I hope it works out for both teams.

  32. Macabee Says:

    If the Eagles could part ways with a talent like Desean Jackson, then surely the Bucs could say goodbye to Mike Williams. These are not cuts or trades and shouldn’t be viewed in terms of value. These are exorcisms – when a team doesn’t want you as a team mate anymore!

  33. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    The young men that once walk the halls of One Buc. Should take this as a wake up call. This is a job not a game. NOW would be a great time for them to set back and reflect on all the blessing their taking for granted.

  34. Couch Fan Says:


    Even with all the off field issues that Williams has, you have to acknowledge this is a big blow to our offense. Last year he was injured and didn’t even play much. But the years before that he was very good.

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    Well I’m not re-newing my season tickets for the season now. Not because of Mike, but because I hardly know anything about anyone on the team. Better to wait, watch and learn. Save money.

  36. Drew Says:

    This is a deep receiver draft. I’m predicting TB drafts 2 receivers, one each in the 1st and 3rd rounds.

  37. Buc1987 Says:

    Couch…I know that before the hammy injury early in the season he played like crap. I do know that. He play drop off. I don’t know if it was the Caveman, the parties or whatever, but I did see his play drop off. I think we all did.

  38. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Josh Huff c’mon down

  39. Couch Fan Says:

    Were going to have to draft at least 2 Wr’s now. And I seriously doubt whoever we get in the 6th round is going to match his production. He certainly out played his 4th round draft selection and all we got is a 6th for him. Bad move, then again I dont know whats going on behind the scenes. I just hope they have a plan because right now it looks like they have no plan on offense except to get rid of everyone.

    I’m going to calm down and trust Licht and Lovie know what they are doing. But this seems very much like letting Bennett go all over again. Big mistake.

  40. Buc1987 Says:

    He play drop off. (sorry for the ebonics)

  41. Jerry Says:

    The entire draft will have to be offense. And they better hit gold on every pick or this is going to be potentially the worst offensive years in franchise history.

  42. Mumbles Says:


    They don’t care if you renew or not. They got TV revenues now. Stay home and see what that will change. They got 6,000 out to see ugly unis. Think about it!

  43. Drew Says:

    MW had a lot of baggage and immaturity coming into the NFL. He quit on his college team and may have been doing the same as a Buc, but Caveman style. IMO, the team is better off not having to deal with all the negativity MW brings to the table. Good Riddance!!!

    Loving L&L and what their doing.

  44. Jerid Says:

    Dear JOE,

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who still thinks about Rachel Watson. It helps me to come to terms with my obsession! Hands down the HOTTEST Buc cheerleader EVER!!!



  45. Buccanole Says:

    pablo Says:
    Verner is a serviceable #2 CO in this league.

    Pablow you are just being ignorant (Michael Jackson voice. ATV is going to be a baller #1