The Chicago Bears signed a much cheaper slot cornerback than some of the high market players. His 2018 numbers may have to do with that
The Chicago Bears moving on from Bryce Callahan was almost strictly salary cap related. However, they found a replacement in Buster Skrine, who is a similar size and frame to their old slot cornerback. The team is hoping that after coaching Callahan up from a UDFA to a star slot corner that they can do similar with Skrine.
Of course an obvious question with Skrine has to be why does he come so much cheaper than Bryce Callahan? To start he is two years older. On top of that, even with Callahan having injuries Skrine has missed eight starts in the past three seasons as well.
Passer rating allowed
Beyond that it was not a pretty 2018 season for Skrine. Quarterbacks were 37-59 when targeting Skrine. That went for five touchdowns and no interceptions, and a passer rating of 113.3.
For comparison Bryce Callahan was 32-48 when targeted. However, that led to one touchdown allowed and two interceptions. Callahan allowed an 80 passer rating when targeted.
Justin Coleman, who signed a big contract on the first day of free agency was 37-64 when targeted. He gave up two touchdowns to one interception which led to an 84 passer rating.
Yards After the Catch
Skrine allowed 314 yards after the catch last season. Callahan allowed only 198. In fact Callahan only allowed 319 yards all season which was the most allowed of his career. That would have been a career low for Buster Skrine.
Run defense and pass rush
Last season Buster Skrine had 20 tackles for loss, eight total pressures and eight missed tackles. Bryce Callahan had 17 tackles for loss, but 13 total pressures to go with seven missed tackles.
For what it is worth Pro Football Focus gave Bryce Callahan a 58 grade against the run with an 86 pass rush grade. Buster Skrine had a 78 run defense grade with an 80 pass rush grade. Run defense and pass rush have consistently been his stronger points of emphasis according to PFF.
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Players around him
You can blame the system that he was in and the lack of pass rush that the Jets presented, but the fact is that when he was on the sidelines for that brief stint in the middle of the season the Jets defense was better.
He played in 664 snaps last year and when he was on the field they allowed a 50% success rate through the air. On the 460 snaps when he was not on the field 46% of passing plays were successful.
One thing that could be in his favor is how the Bears performed without Bryce Callahan. The team had a 47% success rate allowed with and without him through the air.
Buster Skrine is not as good as Bryce Callahan but he has to be better than long standing special teamer Sherick McManis.
The Chicago Bears are hoping that without a drop off from McManis to Callahan that they can reap the benefits of a bouceback season for Buster Skrine.
They had better hope that is the case because if they get the same Buster Skrine from 2018, they are in for a long season.
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