Two Sundays ago, it was Logan Ryan who played a very limited amount of snaps. Yesterday, Alfonzo Dennard got the short end of the stick. That may be an understatement as the talented cornerback only saw the field for five of 73 defensive snaps. What is going on here?
Matt Patricia decided to roll out Aqib Talib, Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington as the three cornerbacks in his base nickel package. It certainly worked out, as Joe Flacco was stymied by the Patriots’ secondary. However, it is not supposed to be this way. Dennard has clearly been better than Arrington this season.
If anybody could get into Patricia’s head, he or she would probably find two reasons for why Dennard was benched. First and foremost, the cornerback was coming off his worst game this season. Dennard was owned by Brian Hartline in the game against the Miami Dolphins. Arrington might have had a better game that day, but not by much.
Secondly, Dennard has been dealing with a knee issue for a couple of weeks now. He underwent what was called a “minor meniscus procedure” about five or six weeks ago. Since then, Dennard has not played as much as we are accustomed to seeing. But, the only noticeable off-game that he had after his procedure was against the Dolphins, so this type of reasoning is still puzzling.
It seems that Patricia is determined to keep Arrington on the field even though he is still the fourth-best cornerback. Sure, he plays really well as a nickel cornerback, but that does not mean that he should stay on the field. Ryan has played nickel cornerback before and did well there too.
Meanwhile, Dennard has locked down the right cornerback position almost all season. There are times when he has been burned, but not consistently. In fact, Dennard is one of the better no. 2 cornerbacks in the NFL. Patricia will probably never realize this though.
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.