The nature of competition is to find the best. In the NFL, the best team wins the Super Bowl. The best all-time team completes the Perfect Season. The best players are recognized by Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. The best all-time players are immortalized with enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (or are snubbed every year like Zach Thomas and Richmond Webb, but I digress).
Who is the best quarterback in the NFL? Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Patrick Mahomes? Add in all-time greats like Dan Marino, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning, and the debate only intensifies as people dig in on the wrong answer just because Marino never won a Super Bowl.
Is the greatest running back Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell... the list can keep going. But, that is what makes sports, and being a fan, fun. Who is the best is always a discussion that can be had.
This week, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks took a shot at ranking the best duos at each major position group in the NFL for 2022. The rankings, of course, lead to debate. Is the pairing of Buffalo Bills quarterbacks Josh Allen and Case Keenum really better than the Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy or Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo for the San Francisco 49ers? Where is the pairing of Mahomes and Chad Henne? Clearly the Kansas City Chiefs’ Mahomes/Henne duo is better than Murray/McCoy or Lance/Garoppolo.
See. You can always create debate.
On the defensive side of the ball, there should not be any debate about the best cornerback duo in the league. That is a clearly decided top ranking. Brooks’ second-place duo of Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters from the Baltimore Ravens and the third-placed tandem of Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas from the Green Bay Packers are both really good. But they are not the special duo down with the Miami Dolphins.
Brooks, in recognizing Miami’s Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are the top pair of cornerbacks in the league, wrote:
The Dolphins have invested heavily in the cornerback position, and it has paid off with an outstanding performance on the perimeters. Howard and Jones excel in man-to-man coverage schemes, and the defense’s success is predicated on their ability to put wideouts in straitjackets. Although the 28-year-old Howard is more of a ballhawk than shutdown corner, the perennial Pro Bowler has mastered the art of taking the ball away. Whether he snags the ball on a tip or overthrown pass or makes an aggressive break after reading the route, the veteran has a knack for coming down with picks. Jones, 29, does not possess the ball skills and instincts to register huge turnover numbers, but he is a sticky defender in coverage. As a decathlete with outstanding speed and leaping ability, the veteran provides blanket coverage against WR2s on the other side of the field. With a pair of high-end corners at his disposal, third-year defensive coordinator Josh Boyer can unleash the hounds on opponents with his aggressive blitz schemes.
Or maybe there are some areas where it is impossible to create debate. Brooks pretty well lays out the simple fact that Miami’s cornerbacks are the best duo in the league.
It has been settled.
No debate and fan bias here at all.