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A New Way to Measure Corner Play

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The good folks over at ProFootballFocus.com are on a continuous quest to improve the statistical data available for fans to measure the performance of a player. They latest endeavor is to improve the analysis of the cornerback position, and this is something they themselves admit is not an easy task:

With the limits of television footage, it would be an accurate statement to say cornerback is the trickiest position for those outside of NFL teams to analyze.

They included every corner that was on the field for at least 300 coverage snaps in 2010. This gave us a nice even number of 80. First they went beyond times thrown at. They wanted to break this down compared to the amount of snaps that player was on the field.

Not surprisingly Nnamdi Asomugha was No. 1. He was only thrown at 6.6 percent of the snaps when he was in coverage. Not surprisingly that led to Stanford Routt being thrown at 18.1 percent of his coverage snaps. That was good for 67 out of 80.

The next step is to measure receptions allowed per percentage of coverage snaps. Again, and not surprisingly, Nnamdi is first again. He allowed a competed pass on three percent of his snaps. Second was Asante Samuel at 4.7 percent. What's encouraging about this is Routt checks in at 16th by allowing a completion on 7.7 percent of his snaps.

Then for their third and final look they combine their first two. They figure the percentage of catches allowed versus times targeted and then divide that by coverage snaps. Here Nnamdi is not top dog. In fact, he isn't even in the top 20.

Stanford Routt is though. He checks in at No. 6.

So, what does all of this mean? Not a lot. We already knew that Nnamdi was so good teams just don't bother to throw at him. However, this is yet another study that shows no matter which way you slice it or dice it Stanford Routt had a very solid year, and he did so lined up against the oppositions No. 1 receiver on many occasions.