Stat Geeks Frown On Verner

June 9th, 2014

Football Outsiders has harsh data on Bucs CB Alterraun Verner.

Regular readers of Joe are well aware that he is no fan in any way of cornerback Mike Jenkins. Joe doesn’t give a damn where he is from or where he played college ball at, the guy is a slug.

Run off by Rod Marinelli from the Cowboys for, among other sins, pulling up on tackles enabling ballcarriers to score and getting roasted like a Thanksgiving turkey by the notorious Vince Young (of all people!), Jenkins couldn’t even keep a gig with the rotten Raiders.

The Bucs signed him last year and Lovie Smith, despite Jenkins being hurt virtually all of training camp and preseason,  all but handed Jenkins a starting gig. It was as if Lovie was trying to find a way to bench promising cornerback Johnthan Banks.

Now, with Jenkins missing 15 games last year with an injury, and Banks putting together a solid season, Joe was floored when recently, stories began percolating that Jenkins is in the running to start over Banks.

What the hell is going on here?

But maybe, just maybe, it isn’t Banks who needs to concern himself with Lovie knighting Jenkins with a starting gig, but it may be Alterraun Verner who should be looking over his shoulder.

In a breakdown of cornerbacks last year, Andrew Healy from the thinktank Football Outsiders is not just down on Verner, but considered Verner’s 2014 season with the Bucs as one of the worst performances by an NFL corner.

Alterraun Verner was Tampa’s prize of free agency in 2014, signed as the ideal young match for Lovie Smith’s defensive scheme. Verner’s contract (four years, $25.8 million, $14 million guaranteed) no longer looks like a bargain, as he ranked close to the bottom both in adjusted success rate (42 percent) and adjusted yards per pass (10.2).

This is what Joe doesn’t get about the Jenkins-may-start-over-Banks rumors: How many times have we heard from folks that it takes two years for players to get used to Lovie’s defense? Verner struggled yet Banks seemed to have picked it up rather well.

So if this defense is such a task to master, why on earth would you bench the guy who seems to be ahead of the curve in learning the defense for a guy who has missed virtually an entire year to injury and when he played in a similar defense with the Cowboys, was run out of Dallass?

It just doesn’t add up to Joe. But then again, maybe we have identified the wrong starting (for now) corner who is on thin ice?

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