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Old 12-04-2013, 11:58 AM   #124
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Natedogg's Avatar
Mile High.

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Narcville, USA
Posts: 2,479

Travis Henry

A pretty decent response from Mike Klis, of all people.

Question's been asked before a thousand times. But I'll ask it again now that he's back. Is this the end for Champ Bailey? Maybe a switch to safety because he's lost a step?
--Greg, Centennial

The Chiefs had 28 plays in the fourth quarter Sunday -- 17 in one possession; 11 in another. Champ Bailey's fourth quarter snap count: zero. In all, he played in 30 of 72 snaps, which means he was in on 30 of the first 44 snaps, or 68.2 percent, through the first three quarters.

With the Broncos up 35-21 heading into the fourth quarter, it may have been determined Champ already had a nice workload for a first game back from injury. The coaching staff did this in a couple games last year. But when things got tight again during that last Kansas City drive, I was surprised Bailey wasn't out there.

I do not think this is the end for Bailey, just like Knowshon Moreno was not a first-round bust through his first 3 seasons, just like Sylvester Williams is not a first-round bust now.

In each case, there were circumstances involved that led to frustrating performance. In Bailey's case, I believe he's struggling to perform because of rust and injury. His foot isn't right. It's better. It's healthy enough to play. But it's not right.

The rust may be his greatest deterrent. Cornerback is, by far, the most highly skilled athletic position in football. Fleet-footed, freakish receivers act. Cornerbacks react.

And there's no doubt it's much more difficult to shake away rust at 35 than 28.

Bailey is also hurt by expectations. I mean Kayvon Webster had a tough time covering Sunday. Alex Smith went after him. But Webster is a rookie drafted in the third round. Outside the Broncos' building, expectations for Webster are minimal.

Bailey is a 12-time Pro Bowler. When he gives up completions, the reaction is, "Champ is done!" There's no question receivers have been driving Bailey off the ball this year. But let's give him a couple weeks. I think Bailey will still be one of the Broncos' top three corners - along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris - by playoff time.
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