WHO WINS THIS WEEK IN OUR WR/CB MATCHUP? JARVIS LANDRY VS MARSHON LATTIMORE… FIGHT!!
The WR/CB Matchup Guide is something I will be working on each and every week. I will examine a WR/CB Matchup that is most intriguing for me each and every week in an effort to provide you with some clear concepts and knowledge on what could possibly take place within those white lines. I will breakdown potential past matchups as well as what their respective offensive/defensive schemes could present between the two targets.
Jarvis Landry vs Marshon Lattimore
Just as a precursor, I’m choosing Landry here over Gordon simply because of the sheer volume of targets Landry received in week 1. Gordon could very well be showed from time to time by Lattimore but I think shutting down Landry and leaving him useless to the Browns offense could be much more valuable in the grand scheme of things. Last season the matchup between the two resulted in 6 catches on 7 targets (his second lowest of 2017) for 40 yards. This year… could be very different, so lets dive into this matchup a little deeper.
Target-Hog Receiver vs Lock-Down Corner
Landry possess a very basic but highly productive skillset as I like to label him a “Target-Hog” from the WR position. He eats up an increased amount of targets year in and year out while sustaining positive production as a whole. In his first 4 seasons, he accumulated the following:
Over 112 targets in each year shows he is heavily involved in whatever offense he is apart of, regardless of QB. The question coming into this year was, How will Landry be used? The answer was simple after their matchup in week 1… ALOT. Targeted 15 times for 7 receptions and 106 yards sure does let me know all I need to know about Jarvis heading into his week 2 matchup with Lattimore. His routes are crisp, efficient and his agility is off the charts but against an elite corner it takes more than that to dominate the matchup.
Lattimore, is also a very skilled athlete and his coverage skills on film, show why he dominated in his rookie campaign. According to PFF, lattimore had the highest percentage of targets he defended on be intercepted or defensed in 2017. Thats a ridiculous stat and 3 percentage points higher than the second guy on the list.
Time and time again, Lattimore continues to get physical with receivers and forces them to be stronger and also faster than him (at the same time)… which many receivers in the league can not live up to. This is one of the main reasons why I love this matchup. Lattimore possess the skillset to challenge receivers each and every play to ensure they are working as hard as possible to garner a target from their QB. Lattimore, to me, is more skilled than Landry and can possess a more athletically challenging matchup for him this Sunday.
I think this tips the arrow over to Landry a little bit but I’ll explain my reasoning. Tyrod Taylor, currently the starting QB for the Cleveland Browns, has been consistently known for being a highly efficient NFL player since he gained the starting job in Buffalo before the 2015 season. Jarvis is the dream of a quarterback that doesn’t look to stretch the field too often and is going to consistently garner a lot of Tyrod’s targets each and every week.
Over the 2016 season, Tyrod went a robust 195-247 (78.9%) from the 9 yard line and in. Coincidently he was 86-150 (57.3%) form the 10 yard line and out in that same season. He loves eating up the underneath routes and creating highly efficient passes to ensure his receivers have space to make things happen. His completion percentage went up by more than 20 points which tells me how truly special he is in the short game during not only that year but his entire NFL career.
While Lattimore is an elite corner, having him play underneath against Landry is going to be a tough matchup for him to stay the least. Weaving in and out of traffic during routes (linebackers and other corners) is tough for any corner to fight through but at the same time, you have one of the best route runners in the game making life difficult on you. This can leave some vulnerabilities for Landry to exercise and Lattimore can’t do much about it.
He can attempt to press Landry but Todd Haley (as we’ve seen in Pittsburgh) gets very creative when trying to get his top receiver (don’t argue with me about Josh Gordon yet) the ball as much as possible.
I don’t think the Saints give Lattimore much help here as Landry mostly fights for his yards after catch as opposed to catching the ball 20-30 yards down field and producing that way. I think those two things could potentially give Lattimore some issues in this matchup and could entice me be fairly comfortable deploying Landry in this game.
How will the game play out? Will that affect the usage of Landry while simultaneously putting more strain on Lattimore in coverage?
The Saints had an atrocious showing last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick so they’re main focus in practice has to be on the defensive end and providing a scheme that helps their high scoring offense be more effective as a whole. That tends me to believe that the Saints come out firing both offensively and defensively and get up on the Browns fairly quick, leading to Tyrod dropping back and throwing a higher number of passes then he generally does.
This HELPS Jarvis.
Landry is an underneath and short-route threat and if the Saints possess a big lead well will lead to more passes. Most teams sag their corners off and allow for everything to be caught underneath (so they don’t get hurt for a big game)…. AND WHO CATCHES AN INSANE AMOUNT OF PASSES UNDERNEATH??… DING, DING, DING! If you said Jarvis Landry in your head while reading this then well you are right!
Landry wins this highly contested and star-studded matchup but what I say isn’t written in stone. The games are played for a reason, and outside of the wins/losses, to provide people who make claims the detail and outline on whether they were right on wrong. Check in next week as I recap this matchup and look forward to breakdown an exciting WR/CB matchup for week 3 (hint: It’s an AFC/NFC West Crossover).