When it comes to corners, how much does size matter?
With all the success had by the Super Bowl champion Seahawks in 2013, a great deal of attention was paid to Seattle's big and physical defensive backs. Corner Richard Sherman (6-foot-3) and safety Kam Chancellor (6-3) were especially effective throughout the team's run to a title.
When healthy, Aqib Talib (6-2) changed the way the Patriots played defense, and his height allowed him to lock down big targets like Vincent Jackson and Jimmy Graham.
Ty Law (5-11) had pretty good size for his position when he was dominating on the outside for the Patriots, but in a conference call with media members on Wednesday he explained that length isn't required to be a standout corner.
"I don’t think it’s a size thing," he said. "I understand the receivers, they’re bigger, they’re taller, they’re faster. I like football players. And I think when you have football players that can play the position, they can cover. There’s one thing about having cover guys. There’s another thing about having football players."
With the addition of Darrelle Revis (6-0) and Brandon Browner (6-4) this offseason, not only did the Patriots add size. Law says they added the tough, savvy kind of "football players" a team needs to succeed.
"The Patriots right now have two football players at the cornerback position that you do so many different things with," Law said. "You can match them up. If you want to match up size, you have the ability to do that. When you’re talking about a guy like Darrelle Revis, he’s not the biggest guy, he’s not the smallest, but you can put him on anybody and he’ll find a way to take them out. Whether they’re 6-foot-5 or 5-foot-10, he can play football and do everything.
"Brandon Browner is a bigger guy, you can put him in the inside as well and play him like a small linebacker so that is an asset, it’s something that’s going to be fun to watch Coach [Bill] Belichick. I know he’s not just going to keep him out there on the corner. He’s going to have some fun with this guy. Because he’s a football player he can do that: he can play outside, he can play inside, he do all the things maybe a smaller guy can’t do."
For Law, who works for Comcast SportsNet as a football analyst, the logic isn't all that hard to follow.
"There’s no sense if you’re big and fast and can’t play football, that’s not impressive to me," he said. "I’d rather have a slow guy, maybe not that fast, and might not hit the hardest, but he does everything well because he’s a football player. Whatever you tell him to do, he can be successful at it. They have two guys that fit the bill and I see them making a strong push to bring another championship back to New England because of those two guys."