Sometimes it takes awhile for coaches to truly evaluate their players. For example, Kyle Arrington has been used as one of the top three cornerbacks for the New England Patriots this season, despite only being the fourth-best cornerback on the depth chart. That all changed last Saturday when Arrington was pulled from his slot cornerback position in favor of Logan Ryan.
Apparently, Matt Patricia had seen enough of Arrington’s antics. The fifth-year cornerback was not giving up any big plays, but he was surrendering the most receptions of any of the Patriots defensive backs. That has been par for the course all season long, yet it took until now for Patricia to realize this.
It is better late than never though. Arrington was reportedly benched in the late second quarter, and the defense only gave up 10 points after that. This all came after Andrew Luck was lighting up the Patriots’ defensive backs.
And on came Ryan to save the day. Ryan has been a fine rookie this season, demonstrating ball skills similar to what Devin McCourty was showing in his own rookie season. Yet for some reason, Patricia thought it would be best to play Ryan sparingly.
Arrington is not a terrible cornerback, so long as he stays in the slot. However, Patricia kept moving Arrington around from slot cornerback to outside cornerback, and that is when Arrington gave up big plays.
Ryan, on the other hand, is not known for giving up big plays. Almost every reception that the rookie cornerback surrenders is contested. Cornerbacks will give up catches, but those who constantly contest them are the real keepers.
Patricia cannot afford to mess around with a date with Peyton Manning looming. Manning has been the best quarterback in the NFL this season, and has the weapons to boot. So to counter that, it will be up to Patricia to make sure that Arrington stays out of the top-three group of cornerbacks.
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.