The Denver Post made a big deal about Champ Bailey being benched at the end of the game yesterday. To be honest the quotes they use point more to a Mike Klis special and to a player not yet in football shape rather than one that was benched due to incompetance. Here is what both Jack Del Rio and Champ Bailey had to say after the game:
"I know we went in and we said hey we're not gonna try and play you 80 snaps on your first day back so there was a plan to kind of rotate, um have him start and rotate him through but not play him too much in his first game back in eight weeks."
"I've got to get my mind back right, got to get my body back right....that combination, plus being 35, it's tough. It's a tough game. It's a young man's game."
I think both the Denver Broncos and Champ Bailey are keenly aware of the situation and keenly aware of where Champ stands at this point this year. The original plan was for he and newly signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie along with Chris Harris in the slot to provide a trio that was deeper and more skilled than any other defensive back combination in the NFL.
Boom, lisfranc injury. Boom re-aggravated lisfranc injury.
Just like that--13 games later, only three of which Bailey has seen the field has brought into question the future of this 1st ballot HOFer.
Let us throw next year out the window. As it stands, Champ Bailey will seek to earn 9MM in base salary with another 1MM due in a roster bonus. At 10MM next year Champ is far too expensive at this point in his career. His path is easy to see: walk, retire, restructure. Only one of those options have him back in orange and blue next year.
We have four more weeks until the tournament begins. When it does, the Broncos will likely find themselves with two home games en route to a possible Super Bowl berth.
I would be fine with continuing to ease Champ into the lineup until playoff time begins, then maybe the preseason trio of Champ, DRC, and Harris can start to show the NFL what press man coverage is. There is absolutely no reason to rush him back to full-time action, especially with DRC not on the field. Champ has passed the torch, DRC is the new shutdown corner in our secondary. Chris Harris the man in the slot; Kayvon Webster has flashed immense man to man potential, and Quentin Jammer is that veteran presence that every team needs down the depth chart. This secondary at the corner position at least is deep enough to weather the injuries this team has faced lately.
Come tournament time, our secondary has the possibility of being something special, and Champ Bailey could still very much be a part of that.
The way I see it, win or lose, this is Champs last hurrah in Orange and Blue. Hopefully these 12-13 injury riddled weeks are nothing but the forward to a greater novel.
Do you think Champ Bailey will play a vital role on our defense before our season is done? Discuss!