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Monday, January 11, 2010
Dolphins rookie CBs need offseason aloe


The Miami Dolphins threw rookie cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith into the fire in 2009.

And, youch, did they get burned.

On Friday night, I posted an item about how often cornerbacks allow receivers to catch passes. Stats Inc. divides those receptions by the number of times the defender was targeted to compute a "burn percentage."

The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills were particularly impressive in this area, but the Dolphins were one of the worst.

I took a closer look at the data and found Davis and Smith each ranked among the bottom 11 in yards allowed by all NFL cornerbacks. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only other club to have two cornerbacks in the bottom 11.

The Dolphins hope scars will toughen up what could be a formidable cornerback tandem for years to come. Davis was the 25th overall draft choice, and Smith was 61st.

Despite starting nine games, Davis gave up 46 receptions for 902 yards (third-worst in the league) and nine touchdowns (one fewer than the highest yield). He surrendered an average of 19.6 yards a catch.

The only player to give up a higher average was Smith at 20.8 yards a catch. He allowed 35 receptions for 729 yards and four touchdowns.

The Dolphins ranked 24th in pass defense. Opponents threw for 3,754 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Davis and Smith accounted for 43 percent of the yards and 48 percent of the TDs.