2017 Redskins Season In Review: Cornerbacks

Since the release of cornerback Sean Smith in the 2015 offseason, the right cornerback position has been a revolving door. The Kansas City Chiefs have struggled to find someone to opposite the talent of Marcus Peters. They hoped to have found some relief in 2016 when they brought in cornerback Terrance Mitchell who finished the last stretch leading into the playoffs.

Expectations

The Chiefs came into 2017 without any new cornerbacks. Even with a loaded draft class of cornerbacks, the organization thought they had the right guys in place to have success in 2017 and that they should spend the picks elsewhere. After the secondaries playmaking abilities down the final stretch last season, it seemed that the Chiefs finally had a talented group.

The Chiefs defense led the league with 33 takeaways in 2016. They also led the league with 8 turnovers inside the red zone. The phrase “they’re not in till they’re in” was widely known when it came to the defense. Which led people to believe that the secondary would repeat what it did in the late parts of 2016.

Reality

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The defense wasn’t the same in 2017 even though it had mostly the same personnel. Mitchell missed part of camp and the whole preseason due to injury. His first playing time was week one in New England where he showed signs of struggle. Unable to keep up with the likes of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, Mitchell drew multiple costly pass interference calls that gave the New England Patriots great field position.

Mitchell showed flashes of his abilities from last year, especially against Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Outside of those flashes though, Mitchell was a big strain on the defensive side of the ball that was playing a part in the defense not being able to get off the field. There wasn’t much talent behind Mitchell though.

Cornerback Steven Nelson was placed on injured reserve for the first half of the season. Nelson played opposite Peters in base packages and slid into the slot position when in the nickel and dime sets. Without Nelson for the first half of the season, the Chiefs relied on Phillip Gaines and Kenneth Acker to step in.

Acker and Gaines both spend a majority of their time looking lost, not getting their head turned around in time or not being able to keep up with their receivers cost the Chiefs on the scoreboard. There was no doubt that neither player was a good enough fit to even fill in over Mitchell as they ranked 29th in yards given up against the pass in 2017.

The organization then brought in veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis through free agency. The former New York Jet took a couple games to get acclimated but showed some signs of better play than what the Chiefs had been looking at previously. However, his play seemed to be more flashes and inconsistent like the rest of the corners.

Lessons Learned

With the injury of safety Eric Berry, the whole secondary seemed to struggle in 2017. The Chiefs realized that the talent they thought they had in the cornerback position was largely due to the help of Berry and teams not knowing how to attack Mitchell yet. Given an entire offseason to watch the film, teams figured out how to get the best of Mitchell.

It’s shown that the Chiefs figured out they need help with the bringing in free agent help with Darrelle Revis midway through the season. They also traded for cornerback Kendall Fuller from the Washington Redskins who had a breakout season in the slot in 2017. The Chiefs could still use some depth at the position and maybe even an outside corner still depending on where Nelson and Fuller land.

Acker, Gaines, and Mitchell are all set to hit the open market this offseason. The Chiefs will likely bring back at least one of them, probably Mitchell, to be a depth back. Even though they have brought Fuller in they will still need to make some moves to bring in either starters or depth.

Source : https://arrowheadaddict.com/2018/02/09/kansas-city-chiefs-season-review-2017-cornerbacks-marcus-peters/

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