Stats & Info: Johnathan Joseph

Numbers behind NFL’s best corners

July, 16, 2013
AP Photo, Getty ImagesDarrelle Revis and Richard Sherman rate among the best via video review
How can you measure the best lockdown cornerbacks in the league? The ones so good they build a reputation for being avoided while earning nicknames such as ‘Revis Island’?

From our statistical perspective, we looked at four things:

On/Off the Field analysis: How a team fares with their lockdown cornerback off the field.

Throws outside the numbers: Looking at statistics pinning the best cornerbacks, matched up against the best wide receivers outside the painted numbers.

Throws by distance: Which cornerbacks take away the big play?

Team performance: The best cornerbacks make their team's pass defense better.

Here’s a look at some of the NFL’s most successful cornerbacks from the last several seasons.

Richard Sherman & Brandon Browner
Richard Sherman leads the NFL with 12 interceptions and 34 passes defended or intercepted since he joined the league in 2011.

Sherman played 95 percent of the defensive snaps last season, and his numbers speak for themselves. However, his absence was felt during his rookie season, when he played 70 percent of possible snaps.

The Seattle Seahawks intercepted one pass every 19.4 attempts with him on the field, and one pass every 78 attempts with him off the field in his rookie season.

Sherman’s teammate Brandon Browner has nine interceptions in the last two seasons, tied for fourth in the NFL among cornerbacks, despite missing the last four games of last season due to suspension.

The tandem has shut down outside passing lanes for opponents. Against passes 10-plus yards downfield and outside the numbers, the Seahawks pass defense ranked among the top five in Total QBR, interceptions and completion percentage last season.

Perhaps their biggest impact is near the goal line, where their physical presence (Browner is 6’4” and Sherman stands 6’3”) shines. The duo has combined for four interceptions in goal-to-go situations over the last two seasons. No team has more than four interceptions in goal-to-go situations over that span.

Darrelle Revis
Darrelle Revis missed the final 13 games of the 2012 season after tearing his ACL in Week 3. Over the last two seasons, the Jets have allowed 15 touchdown passes with 23 interceptions with Revis on the field, holding opponents to a 41.4 Total QBR. With Revis off the field, the Jets allowed 20 touchdown passes with seven interceptions and a 50.5 Total QBR.

His value is also seen in his team’s overall defensive prowess. Since 2009, the Jets lead the NFL in fewest passing yards allowed, completion percentage allowed and are second in Total QBR allowed.

Revis' 2013 impact will be for a new team - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Patrick Peterson
Patrick Peterson intercepted seven passes in 2012, including an NFC-high four passes on throws more than 20 yards downfield. That is as many or more interceptions on such throws than 24 NFL teams.

The Cardinals defense had the fourth-best Total QBR and allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game last season, their highest ranks in the past five seasons.

Peterson has been a big part of the turnaround, playing a team-high 2,209 snaps (96 percent of defensive snaps) since he joined the league.

Peterson has impacted the game in many ways as he forced seven fumbles last season and led the NFL with five fumbles recovered.

He tied an NFL-record by returning four punts for touchdowns in his rookie season (2011), and his 699 punt return yards were the second-most in a single season in NFL history.

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT
Tim Jennings led the NFL with 9 INTs last season.

Tim Jennings
Tim Jennings made his first Pro Bowl and led the NFL with nine interceptions in 2012 for the Chicago Bears, after never intercepting more than two passes in a single season in his career.

Eight of Jennings’ nine interceptions came outside the numbers, a total that no other player topped during the last two seasons combined.

Charles Tillman
Jennings' teammate Charles Tillman forced 10 fumbles in 2012, and returned all three of his interceptions for touchdowns, tied for most in the NFL. Tillman has six interceptions over the last two seasons, returning a league-high five for touchdowns.

Johnathan Joseph
Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph has made two straight Pro Bowls, but was part of a Texans’ secondary that fell apart down the stretch last season.

The Texans allowed 26 pass plays of 30 or more yards, second in the NFL behind the New York Giants.

Including the postseason, the Texans allowed 31 pass plays of 30-plus yards, including 20 from Week 11 on.

They allowed 17 touchdowns and had three interceptions outside the numbers last season. Only the Vikings had a worse touchdown-to-interception differential on such passes.

Rodgers connecting with Nelson downfield

October, 20, 2012

Brett Davis/US PresswireAfter last week, Aaron Rodgers (left) and Jordy Nelson appear to be back on the same page.
Not many people saw Aaron Rodgers' six-touchdown performance coming in Week 6 against a Houston Texans defense that had the lowest Total QBR allowed (11.6) in the NFL. Rodgers finished with only the fifth game in NFL history with at least 330 passing yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Three of Rodgers’ six touchdowns went to Jordy Nelson, who has 19 TD receptions since the start of last season. (Only Rob Gronkowski has more, 20.)

Rodgers opened up the scoring by connecting with Nelson on a 32-yard touchdown down the right sideline. Nelson beat cornerback Johnathan Joseph on the play, and Rodgers took advantage of single-safety coverage as safety Danieal Manning was not able to give help over the top in time. (Single-safety defense is defined as one safety deep in pass coverage, usually down the middle of the field.)

On Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, how much will Rodgers try and target Nelson deep down the sidelines? Although the two had success against the Texans, Rodgers numbers are down considerably from last season on throws to Nelson outside the numbers that traveled more than 10 yards downfield.

On such throws in 2011, Rodgers completed 20-of-27 attempts to Nelson, the third-best completion percentage among any QB-WR duo in the league (minimum 10 targets). This season, Rodgers is just 5-of-13 on such throws to Nelson.

Against the Texans, Rodgers took advantage of single-safety defense to find Nelson down the sidelines with no help over the top. That’s something Rodgers struggled to do in the first five weeks of the season. Against Houston, Rodgers completed 10-of-14 attempts for 159 yards and three touchdowns against such coverage on throws outside the painted numbers, including five completions to Nelson.

In the first five weeks on throws outside the numbers against single-safety coverage, Rodgers was 19-for-39 (48.7 percent) on throws and averaged less than four yards per attempt.

Rodgers and Green Bay will face an improved Rams secondary. St. Louis has held opponents to a completion percentage of 33.3 down the sidelines on throws more than 10 yards downfield -- that’s the fourth lowest completion percentage in the league. In fact, the Rams have allowed only one pass play of at least 30 yards outside the numbers.

Also, the Rams have sent at least five pass rushers on 40.9 percent of opposing QB dropbacks over the last two weeks. That indicates Rodgers could see more single-safety defense and opportunities to attack the sidelines.

Rodgers will have to stay upright, however, as the Rams have a league-high eight sacks with such pressure in the last two weeks.