• 08/12/2008, 11:16PM ET

TD-aholics (NFL Rd. 2) - Best Secondary

YODA (89-8-13) vs Nickb23 - Holland has arrived! (146-39-16)

Accurately ranking a secondary is a very difficult task.

Stats can be very misleading.

Why? Well, for starters, if you can stick to your man like glue, then opposing QBs are less likely to even throw your way (reducing INT potential). A team's composition and schemes can also make a secondary's stats appear better or worse than reality.

There are at least 8 teams that belong in the discussion. Alphabetically, Dallas, GB, Oakland, and Philly make my top 4.

When all factors are considered, I believe it is PHILLY that is the cream of the crop.

Adding Asante Samuel to this mix now completes an overall package of talent, speed, youth, toughness, veterans..and very importantly: DEPTH.

Samuel, Sheppard, Brown, Dawkins, Mikell...?

Yes, please.

There are a couple of teams that arguably have a better top 2 on the corners. But when it comes to measuring a secondary, no team is quite as complete as the EAGLES.

I'll get into some of the individual player strengths and weaknesses in the 2nd & 3rd args. I will also discuss how the unit as a whole fits the bill.

The secondary is what makes the Eagles a team that should never be discounted.

Good luck.

I am gonna go all kinds of homer on you YODA....

So five guys is depth, with four starters being needed and one corner being the glass man Lito Sheppard....


Newman, Henry, Hamlin, Williams, Jones, Jenkins

DEPTH : Check

Talent :

Newman- Played on a plantar fascia and still deservingly made the Pro Bowl, he is a good tackler and does not let his guy get past him, he had the lowest yards per attempt among any NFL Corner.

Henry- A big phsical ball hawk who had 6 picks in 10 starts. Will be able to help out at safety in obvious passing downs thanks to the depth

Hamlin- Always been known as a physical safety but showed he can do it all last year with 5 picks and 15 PD's. Also deserving of his Pro Bowl trip.

Williams- Still a force in the run with 92 tackles, he has a chip, produced by talks of losing his job. He will be well rested on passing downs and bring alot in Wade's second year as a blitzer.

Jenkins- One of the best in the draft, but will not be thrown into the fire like many rookies, has great catch up ability and long arms.

Jones - Top 6 pick, who has been getting alot of reps against one of the best in the game, the rust is coming off.

You flubbed the TD title.
NOT what team is BEST at putting thug-life first and football SECONDARY*.

(* just a little joke for CCC)

In all seriousness, Dallas is a great pick. I think the ???Boys go all the way this yr.

But here, PHILLY has them. When I speak of depth, I refer to depth of talent beyond 2 guys. After 2, many teams fall off. Philly and Dallas each have a corps to mix and match. That makes a great secondary.

Samuel: Proven talent, smarts, big-play ability.
Dawkins: Heart of the D. Rarely makes an error.
Shep: 2 time pro-bowler. Would be TOP guy on many teams.
Brown: Superior NB. Most teams, he???s top 2.
Mikell: Fast + versatile. Subs in a various spots with ease.
Reed: Showed ability to relieve Dawkins as needed.
Demps: Great potential. But as a rookie, we???ll see.

Newman: Excellence.
Hamlin: Only 1 great yr so far. But will be strong.
Roy: 'Boys will get leads & opponents will go to the pass. Not Roy???s strong suit.
Donkey Kong Jones: Talent, but plays risky style.
Henry: Good.
Jenkins: Rookie.


Dallas is the best TEAM.

Philly has best SECONDARY.

I am quite confused... which is normal.

A few things.....

Dawk is soon to be 35 and is coming of his worst season, his backup may be OK but is not good enough, to be on a secondary dubbed the best. Dawk is not at that level anymore either.

11 interceptions.

What is that, you ask...the number of interceptions that was last in the NFL. Oh and the amount the Eagles had. They added one player to the mix. Mind you a good one, but interceptions are a big part of being the best secondary in football. They were dead last, Asante did not make them that much better, considering you are telling us they already had 2 starting caliber corners.

Lito Sheppard- He was on the block, so why is he still an Eagle, because no one wants a guy who can't tough out an injury. He has played a full season once out of 6 and missed at least 3 games each of the last 3 years.

"Cubert" " Jones: Talent, but plays risky style"

The depth allows him to play with that risk. That only makes them better with his returnability after he picks it

"Roy: 'Boys will get leads & opponents will go to the pass"

Again the depth and ability of Jenkins and Henry to play the safety slot fixes that problem

To adress the issues you raised.

1. Dawk: A wily vet; solid all around. This is NOW - Not over the next few yrs. Reed overachieved in relief. Mikell takes downs at safety too.

2. Shep - Trade rumors? Ya. He's a no 1 level guy and Samuel was comin to town. Who knew?-They kept em both!

3.. INTs: NOT a good way to access unit talent. So many reasons:
a. QBs avoid throws if the guys are covered
b. Pressure D-lines can create the QB havoc and INTs
c. Schemes/Situations - Strong O-teams grab leads & force the opponent to go to the pass. i.e more INT chances
d. It's not 07. Samuel's in Philly now. Avg of 8 INTs per/yr over the last 2.

To analyse a secondary you need to look at a BROAD range of factors. Coverage, athleticism, tackling, YAC minimization, unit versatily, & ability to force the opponent to hastily change game-plans.

These are the recognized skills of Philly's deep secondary.
An already powerful unit made a brilliant acquisition in Samuel. NE will miss him.

The 'Boys added Galaxian Jones, of course.

You can say the 'Boys have the best team.
You could even argue they have the best D.

But best SECONDARY? PHILLY, baby.

Contradict yourself, do we ole green one.

"INTs: NOT a good way to access unit talent"
"Samuel's in Philly now. Avg of 8 INTs per/yr over the last 2."

Individually Int's are not a great way to access talent. As a group being dead last in the NFL is NOT something any best secondary in the NFL has ever done. Other things are a part of it but a good secondary makes plays, they did NOT.

Samuels was part of a system that allowed the carousel of DB's to come to town and move on to mediocrity elsewhere. They won a Super Bowl with guys who were on the street and a WR. Samuels has to prove he is a number one corner after leaving that system built for anyone to succed.

Dawk is 35 NOW and is not the playmaker he once was. 37 tackles, 0 sacks, 1 pick in 10 games. His run of greatness has come to an end, he does not strike fear anymore.

The Cowboys DB's do all the things you speak of and cause TO's. Hamlin and Roy can crush anyone and force a fumble or drop. Newman had the best YAC min. in the league, because of his blanket coverage and tackling skill

Athleticism- The Cowboys have the most athletic DB's in the league, no question. 3 are athletic enough to punt return as well


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