Mike McCarthy and his staff have decided to keep Atari Bigby and Nick Collins as starters at safety today and for the foreseeable future. This is a mistake. Atari Bigby has been a problem in pass coverage. He has been guilty of several stupid personal fouls and other penalties that have resulted from his style of play. Whatever upside he provides on run defense, he is a major liability everywhere else. I suspect that McCarthy has chosen to play him today because the Raiders have the fourth-ranked run defense in the NFL. That’s understandable, but short-sighted.
Aaron Rouse has been very good in his three starts. He has two interceptions and almost had a third. He seems to be the instinctive player that Nick Collins was his rookie year. He anticipates what the quarterback is going to do and makes quick decisions. In some ways, he reminds me of a younger Darren Sharper. He should be the starter.
At the same time, reports this week suggest that Jarrett Bush regained his job as the #3 cornerback. That is inexplicable. Bush looked like he’d never played corner against Dallas. But it wasn’t just the Dallas game. Bush had struggled in coverage over several game prior to that loss. He performed well before that and reportedly looked good in practice, but that seems like a long time ago. Tramon Williams played well in relief of Bush against Dallas and looked very good in the preseason. Will Blackmon, who may not be healthy yet, also looks promising.
Again, it may be the case that Bush and Bigby have looked better in practice than their competitors. And it is true that McCarthy sees them daily and we do not. But performance in games is what matters and it sure looks like the coaching staff is sticking with their guys despite game tape that suggests they should move on.