Often times when it comes to analyzing performances and determining who played well in the NFL, objectivity is lost. Biases and preconceived notions sometimes cloud judgment and other wise muddy up a proper study of said player. Fans, and even media, can find themselves making it tough to openly and honestly evaluate a body of work based on what they’ve seen or think they know about a player and their capabilities. For some out there, that may be how Anthony Brown and his 2021 season was viewed, as many did not view it the way it is now being analytically presented.
According to Nick Shook of NFL.com, Anthony Brown had himself a top 10 season as a cover cornerback.
Dallas Cowboys · CB
Passer rating allowed: 75.8
Catch rate allowed below expectation: -6.4%
Tight window pct: 28.2%
Target rate: 21.7%
Average separation: 2.6 yards
Targeted expected points added: -19
We always get a few surprises with these rankings, and Cowboys fans will likely raise an eyebrow at this one. (I know I did.) For much of 2021, it felt like Brown was getting attention for being on the wrong end of a completion, but his total résumé tells a different story. Brown saw more targets as the nearest defender than any other player in 2021 with 117, yet he was consistently right there to make a play — or, at the very least, make a completion difficult. Despite the high volume of targets, Brown’s tight-window rate was over 28 percent, and he allowed the sixth-lowest completion percentage among defensive backs (49.6). His completion percentage allowed below expectation finished at a solid -6.4 percent, and he finished with the sixth-lowest targeted EPA on deep balls (-6.8). While Trevon Diggs attracted the lion’s share of positive praise in 2021, Brown was there on the other side playing a solid No. 2 cornerback.
While all eyes were on Trevon Diggs and his First-Team All-Pro season, Brown was on the other side of the defense, quietly playing extremely well himself. Understandably when your running mate puts up 11 interceptions in a season, you might fly under the radar a little bit, but there seems to be a growing sentiment for giving Anthony Brown his respect for his quiet quality play.
The Cowboys are looking for second-year cornerbacks Kelvin Joseph and Nashon Wright to take a leap this season, however Cowboys brass should not rush if those players are not ready. In the meantime, it looks like they have a quality number two cornerback in Anthony Brown out there already.
It will be interesting to see how 2022 unfolds for Anthony Brown. Will he be able to build off his prior season’s success, or was it just an outlier in his career? Either way, it is safe to assume that much more attention will be paid to the veteran Cowboys cornerback.