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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Griffin, Bethea make safety Power Rankings

By Paul Kuharsky

I don’t see every AFC South game from start to finish.

So I certainly don’t see every NFL game start to finish.

And I think to really have a sense for and to appreciate good safety play, you need to see guys play regularly to have a full understanding of them.

I know Antoine Bethea is a first-rate safety, a dependable guy in the Colts' scheme who could play centerfield on my team. I know Michael Griffin can be really good, but is not consistently dependable enough.

If you’re on the highlights weekly like Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed (when they are healthy), you’re easily identified. Otherwise things can be a lot more subtle.

All of that is my way of saying you can probably find a dozen reasonable arguments with which to shred my ballot.

First though, here’s James Walker’s summary of where we wound up and the safety Power Rankings results.

I’m in that piece talking about Bob Sanders, but my response to a question on Griffin did not make it.

So here's my answer to how he could finish sixth without any points out of his division's blogger:

“Griffin can be very good, but he's very inconsistent. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2008, then had a terrible 2009: Bad angles and missed tackles galore. In 2010, he rebounded, played well during the Titans' good start and seemed to be back on track. Then he was a big contributor to the brutal finish. He can let off-the-field stuff distract him and handles criticism horribly.”

I felt I could find 10 guys who were steadier players, and steadiness in a safety is crucial.

Bethea is certainly one of the 10, and a 10th-place tie is too low for him.

I respectfully ask my peers who they think was spearheading the pass defense for the AFC South-winning Colts last season when the starting corners (Kelvin Hayden and Jerraud Powers) missed 11 games, the starting strong safety (Sanders) missed 15 and the second-string strong safety (Melvin Bullitt) missed 12.

I’m sure, in turn, some of the other bloggers can come at me for not having the full picture on one of their players.

Anyway, here then is the one-eighth of those final results that came from yours truly.
  1. Troy Polamalu
  2. Ed Reed
  3. Nick Collins
  4. Ryan Clark
  5. Adrian Wilson
  6. Antoine Bethea
  7. Eric Weddle
  8. Eric Berry
  9. LaRon Landry
  10. Antrel Rolle