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I’ll be really curious to see how Barry uses his 3 solid to great corners (range depending on how you feel about various grading and evaluating systems). Douglas, Stokes, and Alexander are a great trio on paper, assuming none of them regress a ton and if one of them does then you should still have 2 viable options. $7 mil a year for Douglas seems fine, especially with Stokes early in his rookie deal. They are paying like $25 million a year for the 3 of them. That’s starter money for 2 CB but have 3 starters and that is before any potential extension for Alexander who is like $13.5 million on the cap right now since he’s currently under the 5th year option of his rookie deal.
I think Barry had 3 CB on the field about 75% of the time. Stokes and Douglas (and Alexander when healthy) pretty much stayed outside and Sullivan handled the inside/slot stuff. I have to believe that any of the 3, even considering all of Sullivan’s experience, would be an upgrade over Sullivan doing the job. It’s not that Sullivan is bad, he was fine as CB 3, but he isn’t on the same level as the others.
Not having Stokes try to learn the nuances of outside and slot as a rookie made perfect sense. He also feels almost like a prototype of a man to man shutdown corner. He’s going into his 2nd year and adding more responsibilities would be fine. He has good change of direction and amazing recovery speed if he does get beat. He also demonstrated that the same move was not likely to beat him again the handful of times he was made to look like a rookie last year. So I’m pretty high on his ability to learn to do whatever he needs to. But it would still feel a bit weird to have slot be his primary roll.
Maybe Alexander just follows the primary receiver around. As has been pointed out a lot on this site the #1 receiver for a team will line up in the slot a lot. Alexander has demonstrated he can play from anywhere. Do that and you just leave Douglas and Stokes to handle a side with whichever sliding into the slot as needed? Or if you aren’t doing receiver match-ups assuming Alexander is still considered the top corner you always want on the field he could be outside the 25% of the time it’s only 2 on the field and slide inside when they need 3 or 4 on the field instead of having all 3 of them play in the slot from time to time.
Douglas is the only one I don’t see being primarily in the slot. Leave him on the outside and let him use his anticipation and understanding of how the plays unfold to keep making the big splash plays like last year. But again I don’t think he would be bad as the primary inside guy either if you prefer to have Stokes and Alexander do their blanket coverage that has QBs not wanting to throw at them that they have shown to be adept at.
Heck if Savage doesn’t bounce back from his down play last year do you replace him with one of the corners in some of the formations where he was likely to need to be in coverage?
I don’t think there is a bad option so as mentioned I’m really interested to see how it all unfolds. It’s very nice to be excitedly speculating about what the secondary might be able to do it’s been a minute for that.
I know you are way more tuned into the local rumor mill, that has provided some good info, so if you hear anything about what Barry might be thinking about doing with them that would be cool to hear.