To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure the last time I was "comfortable" with the 49ers' secondary. Even though the Niners have pretty consistently fielded a top-ten defense for a few years now, the weakest link always seemed to be the secondary. There doesn't seem to be an easy fix, too, though Eric Reid was a huge revelation last season. But, even last year, I was always queasy when an opposing QB looked downfield. It just felt like somebody was going to give up a big play.
Of course that's to be expected in the modern NFL. I imagine most teams probably don't feel overly confident in their secondaries. It's really difficult to defend the pass in the NFL. But, I think the closest I got to feeling confident in our secondary was in 2011, and Carlos Rogers was a big part of that. So, I thought it would be fitting to write a brief good-bye to him, since he was an entirely pleasant man, a good Niner, and a stabilizing force for the team's amazing run in 2011.
Why did Rogers have such a good year in 2011? Well, according to ProFootballFocus, it was his consistency. He ended the 2011 season with an overall pass coverage grade of 9.2, which is quite good (PFF, for the uninitiated, grades a player's performance in different categories each game and assigns a number value, with positive numbers better than negative numbers). During that span, which includes the two playoff games against the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants, he only had five games in which PFF gave him a negative pass coverage grade.
Historically, this type of consistency is not in Rogers' repertoire. Last year, for example, he had eight games with similarly negative pass coverage grades. In the year before he became a Niner, he had five such games in 12 starts with the Redskins.
Part of the reason for such variability, I think, is the fact that he can line up anywhere on the field. He frequently moved around, especially in the slot, for the 49ers and this flexibility provided the 49ers with many opportunities to get creative on defense.
So, I just wanted to give Rogers a warm send-off. As a fan, he was fun to watch and fun to listen to during media events. It was sad to see him leave the team as a salary cap casualty, even if he hadn't been able to reproduce his great 2011 season.
And congrats to the Raiders; you guys are getting a really good player.