Next year Darrelle Revis is up for Hall of Fame induction for the first time. He stands a good chance at doing this that—being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Also on the ballot is Ronde Barber who has been moving up from the Final 25 to the Final 15 and this year made the cut to the Final 10.
They are two flavors of NFL cornerbacks.
Revis is the man coverage specialist, "Revis Island" they called him because he'd cover the opponent's best receiving without helo from the safety, at least less often than most players.
Barber was a Cover-2 zone corner in base, requiring him to re-route receivers and playing in the flat and also covering but the "2" in Tampa-2 is one safety helps each side of the field. Barber, though was a slot corner when teams went three-wide and there Barber did his damage.
Playing in the slot puts a corner in the same kind of situation as a man corner, it;s just in the seams, where chunk plays occur. Also, Barber would have to take the tight end because the strong safety is patrolling the deep half of the field on his side.
From the slot, Barber was asked to cover a slot receiver or a tight end, but also he'd blitz, he'd play the run on sweeps or off-tackle plays to his side. He had to do a lot of different things and do them well.
In his career Barber made 63.0 tackles for loss, we call them run/pass stuffs and for comparison, Warren Sapp had 65.5 such plays in his career.
Among corners, there has been only one player, Antione Winfield, who is close with 59.5 R/P stuffs. However, he had only 7.5 career sacks whereas Barber had 28 sacks taking his players behind the line of scrimmage to 91.0—Winfield had 67.0. No one before or since had the kind of success than Barber at nailing people for losses.
Barber picked off 47 passes and scored 12 defensive touchdowns and forced 16 fumbles, stemming from his tackling skills, he was like a linebacker in terms of that skill—not the "woo hits" as Ronnie Lott called big hits, but from the perspective of great technique and not missing tackles. When one plays Cover-2 one has to tackle well and Barber was likely the best tackling corner of his era.
All those things make Barber stand alone in NFL history as someone who has 25 or more sacks and 45 or more picks in a career.
Revis had 29 interceptions but he was not challenged much. He was also not playing around the line of scrimmage. He was one of, if not the best press-man corners since Deion Sanders—a true "shutdown corner".
His skill set was great technique, ability to read routes and stick to a receiver, and then to play the ball and knock it away or just be in a position to where the pass cannot be completed.
|Charts by PFJ|
Revis' 2009 season was legendary—people still talk about it. he posted a 32.3 individual passer rating while being a consensus All-Pro. His career DPR was 65.3 and he allowed 24 touchdowns with 29 picks we mentioned earlier in the post.
With the scheme the Bucs played Barber's individual DPR was higher for his career—74.3 and allowed 43 touchdowns with the 47 picks but within the constructs of that scheme, he was a huge part of why it worked—the key things in a Tampa-2 defense is a great rush (Warren Sapp), greater linebacking that can match a tight end on the "hole" and safeties who can cover half the field and deliver a blow to the receiver (John Lynch) and a Tough zone corner who can forced the run and also cover the top outside receivers in the short zones, the flat or curl/seam areas. That was Barber.
Both had many outstanding years but in 2016 for Revis and 20o9 for Barber, the numbers fell, or shall we say rose with both having a DPR over 100. However, you can be assured that this happens to the best of corners in the stat-filled era. A player has an average or poor season now and again. It's just with corners it's out in the open, we can see the touchdown pass or yards being given up.
Sufficeth it to say, these numbers sets for both players are Hall of Fame-worthy. For example, Charles Woodson's career DPR was 66.3, Ty Law's was 63.4, Champ Bailey's was 68.6. Barber's is slightly lower but he was also playing closer to the line of scrimmage and short passes were easier to complete and completion percentage is a key component to the DPR.
|DPR via STATS, LLC.|
So, how will it shakedown in a year? No idea. We'd speculate that both will be in the Final 15 and that both will make the top 10 even and dare we say it—take two of the five slots to go with surmised inductees DeMarcus Ware and Joe Thomas and perhaps Zach Thomas?
Hopefully, the voters will allow for both kinds of corners to be honored a superior man cover-guy and a top slot corner who made scores and scores of big plays—touchdowns, picks, sacks, stuffs, forced fumbles and so on and so on.
It is not unlike a great pass-rushing defensive end like a Jason Taylor making the Hall along with one more like a Richard Seymour, a great run defender who could get after the passer as well but not to the extent of the rushing end. A similar theme runs through the Revis/Barber saga. They have the same name to their position but they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum of that spot.
We hope there is room for both flavors.