Xavier Rhodes – CB
There was once a time when teams wouldn’t dare throw the ball towards Xavier Rhodes. He would stick to opposing No. 1 receivers like glue and shut them down. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case this season.
Something isn’t right with Rhodes. There were glimpses of this a year ago when he was getting targeted and actually getting beat by receivers he would normally shut down. He did battle a lot of injuries that year and his struggles were chalked up to that. But he is healthy this season and the struggles have remained.
Rhodes’ struggles began in the preseason. He was getting beat by inferior receivers and questions surfaced about his effort and technique.
It all came to a head in during Minnesota’s matchup with New York in Week 5 when rookie Darius Slayton beat Rhodes deep on a touchdown pass that kept the Giants in the ball game. That would never have happened to the Xavier Rhodes of a few years ago.
It’s unclear what is up with Rhodes this season. Perhaps Mike Zimmer is asking him to do different things and it isn’t working. Most likely, age is beginning to catch up to him and he’s simply lost some confidence.
Rhodes isn’t as fast as he once was and he doesn’t have the recovery speed to catch up to a receiver if he guesses wrong on the initial route. He will need to make some adjustments in the way he covers to make up for this.
Rhodes is still a top-notch NFL player, but maybe his days of being a true shut down cornerback are coming to an end.