Taking a leaf out of my colleague Todd Smith's book - after his breakdown of whether the Colts should keep Donnie Avery - it's time to consider free agency. In this case I'll alternate the focus to the defense, and specifically pending free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers. The Colts woes in the defensive backfield have been well-documented by all and sundry throughout this season, and thus the question becomes - is Powers worthy of retention?
Firstly, it makes sense to consider the defensive backfield as we look towards free agency and the draft. We have an entrenched quality safety in Antoine Bethea who is more favoured towards run defense than pass coverage. At cornerback, Vontae Davis can be considered at least a #2 with the size and speed to be coached into a #1, while the rest of the backfield is a complete wreck. Joe Lefeged has shown some aptitude on special teams and appears to be a better fit for the defense than Tom Zbikowski - though I question whether a Bethea-Lefeged tandem can work, given the lack of skills in coverage.
Unfortunately for Jerraud, he doesn't possess the strict cover skills we're looking for on the back end at this point in time. A proficient tackler when healthy, Jerraud was a good fit for the Cover 2 under Dungy and Caldwell, where his size wasn't an obstacle to potential success. With the hiring of Pagano & Manusky, the defense has changed completely - blitz happy and man-heavy on the outside, the aggressive 3-4 hybrid is the very antithesis of the Cover 2.
As such, I feel obliged to detail the following, for it sticks too prominently in my mind to ignore when considering Powers and whether he fits in the new system we're looking to institute on defense. It's from the Colts-Bengals game in the Year of the PaintOr, and it's AJ Green against Powers in man coverage - a rare prospect considering the Colts were still co-ordinated by Coyer and co.no comments