Feb 14, 2012, 1:38 PM EDT
News, everyone! The trio of Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie couldn’t tackle you this season.
Pro Football Focus released its list of the best and worst tacklers at the cornerback position in 2011, and all three Eagles made the bottom 20. In fact, all three nearly fell inside the bottom 10.
Samuel turned out to be the best of the bunch, narrowly avoiding the bottom 10 by one spot, while Asomugha charted as the second-worst overall — only slightly more effective than Washington’s Kevin Barnes, a third-year player with three career starts to his name.
The sad part is, poor tackling is a problem that is not easily corrected. New rules that limit contact in practice make it difficult for coaches to teach players how to tackle, and the reality is an NFL player should already be familiar with the fundamentals.
Cornerbacks in particular, like Samuel, often gain a reputation for their unwillingness to tackle. In most cases, these guys have established the level of physicality they are going to play with, and it’s not likely to change.
As for Asante, it will be addition by subtraction if he is traded as is anticipated — assuming his replacement isn’t an even worse tackler. However, Samuel still charted as one of the more effective corners in the league, 12th overall by PFF’s measure.
With that in mind, exactly how big of an issue are poor tackling corners? Not nearly as much of one when they are doing their job, which is to prevent wide receivers from catching footballs. Asomugha and DRC both had disappointing seasons, though they had encouraging finishes.
The talent is there. If they can elevate their performances, people will tend to forget about some of those missed tackles. Otherwise, those guys are just soft.
>> 2011 Tackling: The Cornerbacks [PFF]
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