Lost in the drama of the play in which Jacoby Jones got beyond Rahim Moore and broke the hearts of the Denver Broncos in last year’s playoffs are the struggles of another player that day: Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey.
Torrey Smith burned Bailey all game, keeping the Baltimore Ravens in the game to eventually pull off the miraculous comeback 38-35 victory. Even coming off a stellar season at age 34, it turns out that the results of that game were a sign of struggles to come.
Besides fighting a lingering foot injury this season, Bailey has struggled to be effective. It is in that context that the Broncos have decided to use a now-healthy Bailey as their third cornerback in Nickel situations. Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the team will continue with that plan in the playoffs:
I give credit to Bailey, a proud 12-time Pro Bowler, for accepting his reduced role. He is putting team ahead of personal pride. It helps that in today’s game, the nickelback plays more than the middle linebacker. And Bailey understands his limitations because of his left foot injury.
I see Bailey sticking in the nickelback role through the playoffs, although it will be interesting to see how they work rookie Kayvon Webster back in from his thumb injury.