Grading the ‘Boys: Brandon Carr and Gerald Sensabaugh 2012 Grades
In the preseason, I predicted that Carr would end up with 60 tackles and four picks, not far off from his final line of 53 and three. Carr came out of the gate on fire, allowing only 56 total yards and no touchdowns in the Cowboys’ first three games. After a mediocre stretch during the middle of the season, Carr finished the season hot as well. In the final quarter of the year, the cornerback allowed an average of 32 yards per game, intercepting two passes—including the monumental overtime pick against the Steelers—and allowing zero scores.
By season’s end, Carr turned in a really good season. The most surprising stat is that he was targeted 87 times—more than rookie Morris Claiborne. Carr allowed 51 of those passes to be completed (58.6 percent) for 644 yards (7.40 YPA)—all solid numbers.
My favorite stat to analyze cornerback play is yards-per-snap—the number of yards they allow for each snap that they’re in coverage. It’s an even better indicator of cornerback efficiency than YPA because it rewards cornerbacks for not being targeted. Sometimes, elite cornerbacks allow higher YPA because they’re only targeted when their receiver is wide open. If a cornerback has outstanding coverage and isn’t thrown at, however, it won’t be reflected in YPA.
Carr ranked 25th in the NFL in yards-per-snap in 2012 at 1.16. Interestingly, that’s the same number allowed by Terence Newman in Cincinnati. Claiborne checked in at 1.21 yards-per-snap.
In 546 snaps in coverage, Sensabaugh was thrown at 23 times. He allowed 16 catches for a 69.6 percent completion rate. The fact that Sensabaugh was targeted only once in every 24 snaps in coverage is a good thing, and the 9.74 YPA he allowed isn’t bad for a safety. Sensabaugh didn’t give up a touchdown all year. Of the 58 safeties who played at least half of their team’s snaps, only 10 others can claim that. Of those same safeties, Sensabaugh ranked in the top 30 percent in yards allowed on a per-snap basis.
As a run defender, Sensabaugh recorded 58 tackles—his lowest total since 2007. Sensabaugh made a tackle on 5.9 percent of his snaps. In comparison, his tackle rate last year was 7.5 percent and in 2010 it was 7.6 percent. I also tracked Sensabaugh as missing the most tackles of his career with 12. That means Sensabaugh missed a tackle on 17.1 percent of his attempts, which is way too high. Over the two prior seasons, Sensabaugh missed fewer than 10 percent of the tackles he attempted.