Alfonzo Dennard is out tonight for the New England Patriots, leaving the question of who is going to replace him. Though the answer will likely be Kyle Arrington, it would be much better if Logan Ryan assumed that role.
Ryan has been very impressive ever since he started playing significant snaps. In his last three games, the rookie cornerback has filled the stat sheet with 11 tackles, one interception (which was a pick-six), one forced fumble, and one-and-a-half sacks. Simply put, he has made plays on all levels.
By comparison, Arrington has mediocre stats in his last three games. He has nine tackles and no forced turnovers . The lack of sacks cannot be held against Arrington because of a lack of blitz opportunities. However, it is safe to say that Arrington has failed to make plays lately.
Stats are one thing, but the eye test is another. When one watches Patriots games he or she can clearly see that Ryan is coming on. Before Aqib Talib went down, Ryan was not playing any meaningful snaps. Ever since that happened, though, Ryan’s snaps have increasingly gone up. Whether he has played outside or functioned as the nickel cornerback, Ryan has continuously contested passes.
As for his counterpart, Arrington has failed to continuously contest passes. In fact, Arrington has been picked on by opposing quarterbacks ever since Talib went down. He is especially susceptible in the red zone where opposing wide receivers are free to run corner routes and lose Arrington in coverage. The problem with Arrington is that he guesses routes too much and lacks the athletic ability to make up for his mistakes.
So when the Patriots suit up tonight against the Carolina Panthers, Ryan should be guy to play right cornerback in Dennard’s place. That way Arrington can play nickel cornerback, a position that is his best fit. It would be better for both players if this happened.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.