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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Insiders on deep throwers, corners

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Two Insider pieces today are worth a mention here.

Peter Keating breaks down the NFL’s best and worst deep-ball throwers. Curtis Painter is fourth-worst (QBR of 39.7 out of 100 on balls thrown over 20 yards) and Blaine Gabbert is ninth-worst (76.3).
“…(M)ost quarterbacks in the NFL are very effective at throwing deep. QBR tends to go up on long throws for reasons that are precisely the opposite of why it goes down in the red zone: When you're deep in your own territory, you have the most chance to gain expected points by amassing a big chunk of yardage with one bomb and less to lose if you happen to turn the ball over. Indeed, this year, starting quarterbacks have an average QBR of 57.3 on throws of 10 yards or fewer but 80.4 on throws of more than 20 yards. And half the quarterbacks in the league have a QBR of 92.2 or higher on deep throws, including guys who aren't otherwise lighting up the scoreboard, such as Matt Cassel, Joe Flacco and Tarvaris Jackson.

“All of which means teams can win with a quarterback who isn't one of the very best in the league at throwing deep, but they will get killed if they don't have one who is at least adequate at throwing deep. The worst quarterbacks on deep throws this year include Mark Sanchez (QBR on passes of more than 20 yards: a hideous 6.8), (John) Beck, Painter, Sam Bradford and Gabbert, all of whom are hamstringing their teams and allowing defenses to focus on run-stuffing.”

No matter the comparison to the rest of the league, the Colts and Jaguars simply have to work too hard to get into the end zone. Both need to find more big plays to make things easier, and neither has shown any reason for us to expect those plays to arrive.

In this piece, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. Ranks Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner fifth on his list of five up-and-coming cornerbacks.
"Verner spent much of the second half of last season on my Rookie Watch, as he came on very strong despite not being a particularly high draft choice. He isn't physically overwhelming and lacks the real ‘wow factor’ of a guy like (Patrick) Peterson, but Verner is effective. He is feisty, aggressive and further along with his fundamentals than most corners his age. There are not a lot of big names on the Titans' defense, but Tennessee does feature three very good cornerbacks in Verner, (Jason) McCourty (listed below) and Cortland Finnegan, who has really rebounded strong this season after a subpar 2010."

Two of Williamson’s three honorable mentions were from the AFC South: Jacksonville’s Derek Cox and Tennessee’s Jason McCourty.

A lot of people ask about the Titans chasing an additional corner for 2012. If they re-sign Finnegan, they’ve got three quality guys and a promising kid in Tommie Campbell. I think they’ll have bigger concerns at safety (where contracts are up for Michael Griffin, Chris Hope and Jordan Babineaux), at receiver, on the defensive line and at guard.