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Position Battle: Nickel Corner

The Redskins don't have a true inside-position cornerback on the roster. Carlos Rogers played the position a few times in a pinch last season, but he's more comfortable on the outside. Fellow starter DeAngelo Hall has been an outside corner exclusively.

Fred Smoot lacks the size to play there, and has struggled with technique in the slot on the rare occasions he has been asked to play there. But if you're making me pick between Smoot, who had a rough season in 2008 and continues to battle nagging injuries, and Justin Tryon, it's not a contest. Tryon stands 5-7 on a good day and to put him in the slot against bigger, more physical wide receivers would be asking for trouble. I can't see him pressing too many receivers and getting away with it, and he lacks Smoot's veteran savvy.

We all know how important nickel corners are as spread offenses become more the norm and teams spend more than half the snaps in sub packages in some games. Tryon has some speed and athleticism but had difficulty adjusting to the pro game a year ago. To think he can go from inactive most weeks to being a legit No. 3 cornerback seems to be a stretch.

This probably becomes Smoot's job by default, although keep in mind that he was pretty much buried as the fourth corner late in the season. Rogers said after the Cincy game that Smoot wasn't really called on to be on the field at all, and that Carlos gave him some of his snaps as something of consolation. So it's not like this staff is in love with the idea of a whole lot of Smoot.

No doubt they'd love for a youngster like Tryon to emerge and I'd imagine that he'll be given a shot take some reps with the ones in camp. I'm not sure he will be able to overcome the lack of size, but he was the first defensive player the Skins drafted last April and they were attracted by his cover skills. His second NFL camp should be an interesting one.

By Jason La Canfora  |  April 1, 2009; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins by Position  
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Next: The Cutler Sweepstakes

Comments

this guy does hate on everything redskins. i'm starting to get it now.

Posted by: mopp04 | April 1, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

whats the latest on us getting cutler? will we pull him this week, this weekend or closer to the draft?

Posted by: mopp04 | April 1, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I found it interesting that Smoot was the SECOND corner on the depth chart for Minn but came back to Skins and ended up as the fourth.

Posted by: RambleOn | April 1, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

and what's the latest on the draft? we going LB, DE or RT. come on, put your rep on the line.

Posted by: mopp04 | April 1, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

What would GIbbs 1.0 do?

I think he would go after Cutler....

Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I would think Denver would want Cutler in the NFC if at all possible. If he goes to the Vikings they could be unstoppable.

Posted by: will_ga | April 1, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

still not a single mention of Cutler when thats all ESPN/NFL Network/Yahoo have been talking about...guess JLC's "sources" don't have anything to add? Keep up the good work guys!

Posted by: nag1055 | April 1, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Whaaa?

CR22 can give snaps away, but CP26 can't?

I smell Hypocrisy.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

How can you say AH is of bad character, he plays very hard on the field and is the best DT in the league.

Posted by: Flounder21 | April 1, 2009 10:35 AM

I don't know where I would get that idea...the whole stomping on a man's helmetless head, loafing in seasons not designated a contract season and driving recklessly to the detriment of others wouldn't count as bad character at all...

Posted by: brownwood26 | April 1, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

AND IF ANY OF THIS IS TRUE...

Then WTF i wrong with Carlos? Dude, we are trying to WIN.

I don't believe this. No way. HE might have told JLaC this to be shown in a good light, but no way it happened like that on the field.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Since when is the slot receiver known as "big and physical". This is usually where smaller, fast, and elusive WRs play (i.e., Wes Welker, Brandon Stokley, Randle El- who should be in the slot anyway). I don't know about this one. Anyway, I wasn't a fan of Tryon last pre-season but give him a go this pre-season and see what he can do.

Posted by: KBDC | April 1, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

My understanding was that this position was last competently filled by ... Leigh Torrence.

Posted by: dcsween | April 1, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure he will be able to overcome the lack of size,..............


By Jason La Canfora | April 1, 2009; 10:20 AM ET

History is doomed to repeat itself.

They said this about DGreen, too!

Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

don't know where I would get that idea...the whole stomping on a man's helmetless head, loafing in seasons not designated a contract season and driving recklessly to the detriment of others wouldn't count as bad character at all...

Posted by: brownwood26 | April 1, 2009 10:41 AM |

The on the field stuff is OK by me that show he is passionate, plus it was a stupid Cowgirl who probably tried to grab his a$$ or something.

Everyone on this blog has driven recklessly to the detriment of others, and if you say you haven't your lying.

I've heard no mention from his coaches or fellow players they say he loafed in none contract years, where's the proof to back this comment up.

These stats don't tell me he was loafing or not playing hard.

YEAR TEAM G TOT SOLO AST PD SACK FF REC INT YDS TD
2002 TEN 16 30 21 9 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
2003 TEN 12 32 21 11 4 2.5 0 0 0 0 0
2004 TEN 10 36 25 11 2 1.0 2 0 0 0 0
2005 TEN 14 52 36 16 1 3.0 1 0 0 0 0
2006 TEN 11 30 23 7 2 2.0 0 0 0 0 0
2007 TEN 13 40 32 8 4 6.0 0 0 0 0 0
2008 TEN 14 51 41 10 2 8.5 3 0 0 0 0
Career 90 271 199 72 18 24.0 6 0 0 0 0

Posted by: Flounder21 | April 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Tryon is about the size of Darrell Green. Little guy who could cover big recievers (Michael "the coke machine" Irvin). DG28 had a lot of confidence in his ability, thats what Tryon needs. But just throwing him in might backfire if he's not ready. Blache will work him in from 4th, to 3rd CB if he shows some improvement. Late round and undersized guys tend to work harder to get on the field.

Posted by: VaBeachBlitz | April 1, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

What would GIbbs 1.0 do?

I think he would go after Cutler....

Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:35 AM

Really?

I remember Gibbs 1.0 DEVELOPING starting QB's like Schroeder, Rypien, and Humphries. In fact, the one mistake Joe regrets was letting Humphries go (because they felt he was too careless with the football BTW) He liked veteran back ups. That's what Williams role was, and it paid big dividends if I recall.

Posted by: edvar | April 1, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

what about Westbrook?

Posted by: alex35332 | April 1, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Everyone on this blog has driven recklessly to the detriment of others, and if you say you haven't your lying.

I've heard no mention from his coaches or fellow players they say he loafed in none contract years, where's the proof to back this comment up.

Posted by: Flounder21 | April 1, 2009 10:51 AM

Driven fast? Yes. Recklessly? Rarely if ever. And that's apples and oranges as far as I'm concerned because I've never paralyzed a man driving 100 mph.

And every account of Haynesworth being an underachiever has come off the record...as would any less than glowing critique of a teammate/player.

Let's move on...I think I've made it pretty plain that I hated the Haynesworth signing, but that's neither here nor there at this point...what's done is done. He's a Redskin now and I'll continue to hope for the best and expect the worst.

Posted by: brownwood26 | April 1, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

One thing JLa forgets to mention is that most teams put their 3rd corner on the outside and move one of their top 2 to the slot when playing in the Nickel. In fact, this is what the Skins always did with Springs. Springs played inside and Smooty whet outside.

My guess is that Rogers is going to have to learn to cover the Slot position. No reason he can't do that. He is young, big, fast, and has succeeded at every level. He has all off-season and training camp to learn it. I just wish he had better hands.

Posted by: Wemiss21 | April 1, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Since when is the slot receiver known as "big and physical". This is usually where smaller, fast, and elusive WRs play (i.e., Wes Welker, Brandon Stokley, Randle El- who should be in the slot anyway).

Posted by: KBDC | April 1, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

EXACTLY!!!

Posted by: VaBeachBlitz | April 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

He also tried to trade for John Elway in '92....

Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

WHat about putting Moore or 48 at nickel from time to time to go up against bigger guys and do run support?

Posted by: alex35332 | April 1, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I know that most of the Cutler/Shannahan discussion was earlier this morning. And, I know this doesn't add much to the discussion, but I bet Portis would be sooooo psyched is Shannahan came to DC.

He'd probably bust out the title belt again

Posted by: --swb | April 1, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

C'mon people...stop comparing Tryon to DG! DG was a legit 1st round pick with ridiculous speed. Probably would have gone higher had he gone to a bigger school. Started as a rookie if I recall correctly. I never even heard of Tryon before the Skins drafted him and I'm sure we'll be listing him with the Rashad Bauman's of the world once it's all said and done. The only thing he's got in common with DG is size.

Posted by: brownwood26 | April 1, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sold on Tryon, but we've only seen him for one year. Height is a huge advantage for a receiver, so he better be something special.

He was projected a late sixth round pick (by SI) and we took him in the fourth, so maybe they see something there - or maybe we reached again.

I'd feel a lot better bringing in a little competition for him.

Posted by: edvar | April 1, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

This underlines the need for skins to trade down for additional picks. Tryon may pan out but we need CB depth for talented backs. I would really like to see us trade down even though our second round last year kind of sucks at this point. I think we need OT, OLB, (inside) CB and mucho mas. Can't get great everywhere but this inside passing game is going to kill...

Posted by: ElYeah | April 1, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

He also tried to trade for John Elway in '92....
Posted by: 4thFloor | April 1, 2009 10:58

4th, Was that a gibbs or Casserily initiative?

With you, Alex. What about Westbrook? Dude should get a chance.

Matteral Richardson is still on the Texans. The have like eight corners on their roster! 6-0, 197 lbs. How does Tryon beat out Richardson? I know it's not on the field.

Posted by: matthewvickers | April 1, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Cutler Engaging In Damage Control?
Posted by Mike Florio on April 1, 2009, 10:39 a.m.
Now that Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler has pissed and moaned his way out of Denver, he’s apparently trying to reverse the perception that he’s a pisser and/or moaner.

Buried in a Denver Post article regarding the team’s decision to give Cutler his Oompa Loompa now is a report that Cutler had packed his car and shipped it to Denver, where he planned to participate in a voluntary minicamp on April 17-19.

Intended message: “I’m a team player. So if you put together a Herschel Walker-style trade package and then pay me a bunch of money, I won’t become a pain in your ass a year or two from now. Trust me.”

We’re also hearing that the Cutler camp is privately claiming that he didn’t fail to return calls and/or text messages from coach Josh McDaniels and owner Pat Bowlen.

As we understand it, the Cutler camp isn’t claiming that he returned the calls and/or texts. The Cutler camp, we’re told, is claiming that he never got them, and that the issue is being used as a way to justify trading him — and as a way to make him look bad (which of course makes no sense because it only makes it harder to get a Herschel Walker-style trade package if Cutler is perceived as a punk by other teams).

Mike Klis of the Post also says that Cutler was “surprised” by the news that the team had decided to trade him.

Perhaps Cutler was “surprised” in the same sense that Ralphie was “surprised” when he got that Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time for which he’d been pestering his parents for weeks.

Finally, we couldn’t end this one without a nod to Taco Bill’s latest, which shows one of the Broncos’ options for Cutler that has been to date overlooked.

Posted by: brownwood26 | April 1, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Last years draft was horrible. Tryon is 5'7 and looked like a High School player in preseason. We should have gone somewhere else with a 4th round pick. That Fred davis Pick should have been a Tackle too. (Sigh)

Posted by: cbace10 | April 1, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Last years draft was horrible. Tryon is 5'7 and looked like a High School player in preseason. We should have gone somewhere else with a 4th round pick. That Fred davis Pick should have been a Tackle too. (Sigh)

Posted by: cbace10 | April 1, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

How is this any different then last year Springs missed 7 games, we still had the 4th ranked D. Do what ever you did in the games that Springs missed.

We never got passed on for big yardage last year, there were some big plays here and there but thats it.

Posted by: Flounder21 | April 1, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

ElYeah, we can pick up FA DB's to play nickel just as easily. It doesn't have to be a draft issue this year. (as an alternative if we can't trade back)

And BTW, all the more reason to NOT do the deal for Cutler. Campbell and our #1 leaves us with no good options. And we should not dip into next years picks for this year, That always bites us in the @ss later.

Posted by: edvar | April 1, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me

A) If we generate more rush on the QB, less 3 wrs against us since the need to protect.

2) I agree CR should learn this slot position

#) Or one of the safeties, like Doughty.

~) ...just because i wanted to use the tilde....

Posted by: Zeebs | April 1, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I say we need linebacker depth above drafting CBs. We definitely should trade down to get an extra pick or two and draft a starting OLB and another developmental backer because London Fletcher is old and R. McIntosh's knees never hold up a full season and HB Blades is...well he's HB Blades. LB is a REAL concern. Pick up a cheap nickel corner when teams make some training camp cuts.

Posted by: KBDC | April 1, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure he will be able to overcome the lack of size,..............
By Jason La Canfora
----------------------
History is doomed to repeat itself.
They said this about DGreen, too!
Posted by: 4thFloor
----------------------
Are we comparing Tryon to Darrell Green?

To quote Lloyd Bentsen:
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.


(all in good fun)

Posted by: isnadd | April 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

From the uh-oh dept;

Peter king DOES NOT mention the Skins as a possible landing spot for Cutler... isnt that like the reverse curse or something???

Stay tuned...

Posted by: Zeebs | April 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: Zeebs | April 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

PFT is basing its whole circle jerk off speculation by some no name reporter in Denver.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 1, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I think it is hilarious how people are saying we need more picks, but at the same time talks negatively just about everyone that was picked last year with the exception of Horton. And if Horton was drafted in the 4th round instead of the 7th half of you would call him a bust. You cant be a bust if you dont get a chance to play. Tryon looked bad in preseason last year, so what. Give him a chance and he might be serviceable.

Posted by: KingJoffeJoffer | April 1, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

wow can JLC can hate some more on EVERY young player on the skins, i bet if we took matt ryan last year and didnt get to the playoffs you would hate on him too! Tryon was a 4th rd pick who was playing behind veterans, you don't even have game film of him yet continue to blast him, maybe thats the same rationale why most of us on RI hate your work.....just a thought

Posted by: hillb03 | April 1, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Interesting for you JASON, scary for REDSKINS fans. I have consistantly posted here that TRYON will never accomplish anything more than tryon' in the nickel and dime packages so necessary these days. The club is in trouble in this area and TRYON in no way fills the bill. He could have five years' experience, and I would feel the same. The dude may be the fastest thing since DARRELL GREEN, but he is not DG in any way, shape, or form. Punt returner is the one area he excelled in in college and that's where he should be used, if at all.

This season there's just too many other areas of pressing need to address this DB weakness properly. Band-aid will be applied until another draft and FA can deliver a true back who fills the position.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 1, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I happy with Smoot as a 3rd CB, but having unproven Tryon and Westbrook in the 4th and 5th CB spots makes CB depth an issue. Maybe both will step up this year, but it would be wise to bring in an inexpensive veteran CB to complete with them in camp.

Posted by: siris | April 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Tryon's an interesting guy. Very short, it's true, but also a solid 190 lbs. He actually played well against big receivers from USC and the other Pac 10 teams, and struggled a bit against the smaller, quicker WRs. The opposite of what you'd expect.

He seemed completely unprepared for the speed of the pro game. Not uncommon among rookies, especially those overconfident types. Hope this year he'll come better prepared. It would be way too early to write him down as a loss.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 1, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JLaCan'tReporta for a post that actually has nothing to do with the position battle and is just your rant on why you don't like who they have.

Posted by: JLR75 | April 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe anyone even believes that we need to draft a DB. If we cannot contain a big wide receiver or tight end with our corners, then that is what they make safeties for. The Redskins have three quality corners and then some guys with potential. If they see some undrafted player who might contribute, they should sign them but there is no way they should use a draft pick on a defensive back. On defense they need an end and a linebacker. On offense they could use a tackle, center-guard, and maybe a speedy running back. It seems to me these priorities far outweigh the need for a dime defensive back.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | April 1, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Leigh Torrence couldn't cover NFL receivers. Whether the Redskins made a mistake as Mel Kiper thought in reaching for Tryon in Round 4 (Kiper had him as a #6 or #7 pick) is another question.

But to think Torrence was going to beat out Smoot and be the #3 corner here is nothing but post-case wishful thinking.

Posted by: leopard09 | April 1, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I will never let Tryon on the field on my madden team this year. 5 wide? I'll put albright on the corner.

Posted by: 428Maverick | April 1, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The name Shawn Springs should help the knuckle heads here. He had the athletic ability to play shutdown corner in the slot position and free safety killing 2 birds with one stone. He is gone a victim of salary cap machinations. Clearly better off with a perennial competitor for the Superbowl in New England even at a reduced salary.

This is a key position. One that they should consider drafting for in the first round along with a left tackle even before OLB/DE.

Unfortunately silly drafts and even sillier trades and FA deals by the FO wherein THEY DID NOT USE THE draft's upper rounds, (since Arrington and Samuels), to acquire replacments in the lines and at linebacker (excepting McIntosh) have left the team with more than a few gaping holes.

Posted by: periculum | April 1, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks JLaCan'tReporta for a post that actually has nothing to do with the position battle and is just your rant on why you don't like who they have.

Posted by: JLR75 | April 1, 2009"


Smoot did end up at #4 because he got burned ... OFTEN! Blache is no different from Petitbone. Petitbone put at least 2 2nd round draft picks on the bench and let them go the following year for the same kind of lackluster performance.

Both Rogers and SMOOT whined often about being sent to the rear of the depth chart. Let's face it, Smoot was a bad FA signing on the Redskins part. Boy wouldn't it be nice to have that multimillion he counts against the CAP for a Dre Bly or a Samari Rolle. Good choices to fill the position described above.

Posted by: periculum | April 1, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"I cannot believe anyone even believes that we need to draft a DB. If we cannot contain a big wide receiver or tight end with our corners, then that is what they make safeties for.
Posted by: RedSkinHead | April 1, 2009"

Well gee I think that was why BLACHE kept talking to Springs about moving to Safety. Becoming a hybrid nickel corner and safety to extend his career. HE COULD SHUTDOWN COVER. No one else really could.

The reason why LaRon Landry plays Free Safety is because he can cover ... and Horton can't. Doughty might step back in but his coverage skills weren't the best.

Yes they do need to draft for this position and its as important as the others. You have to be able to cover the other team's 3-4 wide receiver sets don't you?

Otherwise how effective will Haynesworth be if they are always wide open.

Posted by: periculum | April 1, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Smoot's best days are behind him and he was pretty much buried on the bench after getting beat deep by Amani Toomer for the first TD in the Giants game. He's clearly lost a step and was never known for his ability to play in the slot....Springs would have been perfect for that role and as a FS, but the Skins had no cap room. I think Springs has another good year or two in him even if it's in a part-time role.

Tryon should have been cut last summer, but Vinny would have been embarrassed to have a 4th round pick cut. Don't be surprised if he is cut during camp this year if a veteran FA becomes available. He has no size, lacks in speed, and is a marginal special teams player.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

If you thank Cutler would have done better behind the line the Skins have.

Your an Idoit!

If the skins had not gave away there picks for JT they could draft a Corner.

Posted by: shamken | April 1, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

cant they in all seriousness bring back torrance?? was he reupped by the saints?

Posted by: drewkinnear | April 1, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like Los an Hall are going to be expected to play a lot of man coverage. The Skins might need to use 2 men on the dangerous 3 rd WRs they will face.

Is Tryon really 5'7"? As long as he can stay with a guy and make the tackle he can play!

Posted by: pabrian2003 | April 1, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

but if they didn't have JT, we couldn't use those picks on a corner. They may take a CB. The position seems to translate well and command the big dollars of a # 13. I would go OT or Rey I guess.

Posted by: pabrian2003 | April 1, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Pericu,
How many times did Rodgers and Smoot whine? And, what did it sound like? Clearly, you were there and know everything, so please give us the details.

Posted by: pabrian2003 | April 1, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I say Leigh Torrance. Oh wait.

Posted by: drischord | April 1, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Skins should sign lewis sanders for the vet minimum, he is 6'1" and a Terp

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | April 1, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

In nickel, if the roster is as it is today, they could put Tryon outside and roll 'Los inside IF they did not want to put Smoot on the field.

Or, put Smoot outside and again roll 'Los inside.

Try to open your mind a little jlac.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | April 1, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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