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Tuesday, August 02, 2005
More on Safety Nick Collins
by Mark Quarderer
I liked the pick at the time and said so in our draft day Forums. I thought our #1 need on defense was a safety with better range and tackling ability to help prevent some of the big plays that hurt us over and over again.
Collins, in the opinion of the coaching staff and scouts who spent thousands of hours reviewing film, attending combines, talking with coaches, etc.....was the best man for the job.
We all have favorite players and some people really liked Darren Sharper....hell, I liked Darren Sharper up until about 2003. But sometimes we let our personal affection for a player cloud our perceptions and we don't see clearly what they're doing on the field.
That's why God invented videotape.....so that we could watch plays over and over again and focus on specific individuals, and when I focused on Sharper it was pretty clear that his lack of range and sloppy tackling was hurting the team more than his occasional interception was helping it. Harry Sydney once said that Sharper was a liability in coverage and I agree. Another NFL scout said "If you can put a guy in the slot with two arms, you can beat Green Bay" alluding to the fact that neither of our safeties could cover man to man.
We gave up 77 big plays last year that resulted in over 300 of our 380 points. If Collins can help reduce that number to close to 50 big plays it has the potential of improving our scoring defense from 380 points to about 280 points and that would be one of the better teams in the league.
Collins isn't going to be a magic pill and I'm sure he'll make some rookie mistakes. But this defense can, and must, play a lot more cohesively and a lot more aggressively. I think Collins will help in that area.
But I've been burned before. I liked Jue as a rookie. I liked Anderson as a rookie. So please excuse me if I appear reluctant to jump on the Collins bandwagon. I'm cautiously optimisitc; I think he was a much needed pick; I think he can be a real good player for us.
Or he could be Marcus Anderson all over again. Time will tell.