Are AFC West's top cornerbacks slipping?

October, 14, 2010
10/14/10
2:15
PM ET
KC Joyner is known as the Football Scientist. Few crunch the numbers and find meaningful information like Joyner does.

That’s why his findings on powerhouse AFC West cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugha are worth noting. With all due respect to Joyner, I’m not ready to pronounce Bailey and Asomugha on the downside of their careers. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Joyner writes that Bailey, 32, has given up 199 yards on 21 passes thrown his direction this season. That is a 9.5 yards-per-attempt (YPA) average. Joyner says that a YPA of nine yards or more will usually put a cornerback in the bottom third of the league. I saw Bailey once this season -- against Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning. Despite being hobbled with a foot injury, Bailey held Wayne in check for much of the game.

Joyner writes that Asomugha, while not thrown at a lot, is giving up too many yards when he is attacked. Over the past 21 games, Joyner notes, Asomugha has allowed 339 yards on 37 passes, which is 9.2 YPA. Still, being thrown at less than two times a game is a sign to me that teams don’t find it worthwhile to test Asomugha.

However, Joyner writes that there is strong cornerback play in the AFC West. Joyner says that San Diego’s Quentin Jammer and Kansas City’s Brandon Flowers are playing very well.

Joyner reports that Flowers has been thrown at 31 times this season, but he has allowed just 81 yards. That’s a YPA of 2.6. Jammer, a YPA stalwart the past two seasons, is allowing a solid 5.2 YPA this season.

It’s all very interesting and Jammer and Flowers are fine players. But I’m not ready to bury Bailey and Asomugha quite yet, either. I think the conclusion is that this is a top-notch division for cornerback play.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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