METAIRIE, La. – Former New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer is still keeping close tabs on the team and has agreed to join me on occasion to share his thoughts.
Click here for Greer’s thoughts on the Saints’ struggles up until now. Here are his scouting reports on some of the Saints’ defensive backs, as well as a look ahead to Monday night’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens:
On the up-and-down play of safety Kenny Vaccaro and cornerback Corey White: “This is the first year of both of these guys being THE guys, people who are solidified as starters and expected to make plays, especially Corey. So we’ve seen glimpses from Corey in which he’s made plays, and I definitely think [he can still be an asset]. I’m not too critical, because I understand how tough it is when nothing’s going right, we’re gonna search for someone to blame.
“And I think the fans had such expectations for Kenny that he hasn’t met. But the thing is that Kenny has higher expectations for himself, and I’m sure that he is at the facility right now wondering what he can do to become a better player. Knowing Kenny, he’s extremely motivated to become great. And this slump that he’s having, I know it’s only for a time. I’ve talked to him, and I’m sure that he’s the worst critic. So even though I’ve expected him to have a better season, I think we also see the effect of just the shake-up of the secondary. He’s worn so many different hats. At the beginning of the year, when they signed Jairus Byrd, Kenny is looking to him like, ‘How do I get to that level? How do I become one of the best in the league?’ So with that being taken away, Kenny is thrust into a new leadership position in his second year. While he’s still learning who he is as a player, people are looking at him as the face of a secondary, saying, ‘Where do we go?’ People don’t understand how that impacts your game. But that’s why we get paid the big bucks.”
On defending the Ravens: “You know I’m familiar with Steve Smith. He has been so successful for such a long time, and he’s having a great season. I would think, depending on how the secondary looks this week, with Rafael Bush being put on IR, it’s interesting to see how they’ll shake things up. But if Keenan [Lewis] is healthy, I look for him being on Steve Smith. Steve Smith is a stutter-and-go receiver. I don’t mean the double move. I mean when he comes off the line, as soon as the ball snaps, he is going to hesitate to get you to sit back on your heels, and then he’s gonna run 100 miles per hour in the opposite direction. He lives off that. But the good thing about Keenan is he is one of the most patient, technique-savvy guys in the league. So he’s a great matchup for Steve Smith. Keenan’s gonna finish the play better than anybody.
“Now Torrey Smith is another guy that doesn’t take a long time getting out, either. He’s a one-cut guy; he’ll make one move and then go full-speed. So Corey or Patrick [Robinson] could be in that position, depending on what they do. If Patrick is playing Torrey Smith, it fits with his strength set. Patrick is patient; he’s a guy that is extremely fast and can stay with the best receivers. I think he’ll succeed in that matchup; he just has to make sure he keeps his eyes on Torrey Smith’s hips. And one thing I’ve noticed, even though Patrick took a lot of flak, if you watch last game or the last couple games, I haven’t see one catch in which Patrick hasn’t contested, whether it’s a catch and tackle or a pass break-up. He is playing at a high level right now. As an evaluator of corners, you want to see contested passes, you want to see that corner right next to the receiver as soon as he catches it.
“If Corey plays that position, then he has to understand they’re going to look for him. But Corey is strong, and he can battle with Torrey Smith on the short routes. He has to stay technique-sound and stay on Torrey Smith’s upfield shoulder. They both can do the job; they’re just gonna have to be aware that Joe Flacco’s gonna target them.”