Panthers Film Room – New CB Bashaud Breeland

The Carolina Panthers plan to sign a Redskins corner to replace Daryl Worley. With a 3 year for 24 million deal, the Panthers hope this corner can help bring some stability to a shaky secondary.

No, he’s not Josh Norman. However, he’s no scrub either.

Coming off his best season, former Redskins Bashaud Breeland boasts quite the haul on his stat sheet. In 15 games last season, when targeted, Breeland allowed only a completion rate of 37% for 285 yards total in man coverage, and 47.8% overall. To add on, PFF has Breeland 11th best in the NFL in yards per cover snap. Finally, Breeland has 60 passes defensed in his career, the fourth-most among cornerbacks since 2014.

According to Bleacher Reports’ NFL1000 rankings, Breeland is ranked the 21st best corner in the NFL. He beats out the likes of Josh Norman (24th), James Bradberry (26th), and Aqib Talib (27th) on this list. That’s pretty incredible considering these corner’s reputations.

So, with that, here’s a peak at just the kind of player the Carolina Panthers are getting.

Press Coverage

One thing teams really like to see in their long-armed physical corners is their ability in press coverage. Simply put, the concept involves taking advantage of the corner’s physical ability to disrupt the receiver. At the line of scrimmage, the corner faces the receiver, giving him little to no cushion. The corner then proceeds to jam and disrupt the receivers’ route with timing, physicality, and technique.

In Breeland’s case, he’s quite good at press. He shows fantastic ability at the line of scrimmage of patience, recognition of receiver set-up, and jamming. Afterwards, he follows through with excellent rotation and hip flexibility and stays glued on his receiver downfield.

For example, take a look at the top part of the screen in the below video:

Against Watkins, these traits on full display. At the snap, Breeland shows good patience as he waits for Watkins to set up and do his thing. Once he has a good handle of Watkins’ approach, Breeland proceeds to jam and impede Watkins route. Sticking close like glue, he takes away the receiver’s impact on the field and turns him into a no-factor.

Physicality, intelligence, and recognition. As usual, Breeland showcases solid traits needed in a physical lengthy corner Carolina covets. Like Bradberry, Breeland does really well against the press. Hard to critique his performance here.

Play Recognition & Response

Another quality traits corners have is their ability to react and deal with the QB’s intent. On the field, a QB will generally progress through a few reads as dictated by the play. Corners have to recognize what the receiver in front of them is doing, alongside the QB’s intent on the play.

For Breeland, he shows good play recognition and response to such. He has a propensity to eye down the QB and dissect their intent, allowing him to decipher the best possible measures to counter and make a play.

For example, take a look at the play below.

In this scenario, Breeland is in off-coverage. During the play, he remains on top and gives himself enough room to keep up with the receiver coming up to him. As he runs with the receiver, he also keeps his eyes on the QB and ball, remaining situationally aware. Stays stuck like glue on the receiver, leaving an insanely tight window for the QB to throw in.

The result? Breeland comes in with a PBU.

Another example includes his counter against speed. Take a look at this instance vs. speedy JJ Nelson

Unfortunately, Breeland is not the fastest corner on the block, so occasionally he will have hiccups against speedy receivers. However, he shows just the right way to deal with them during this rep.

As seen, Breeland lines across JJ Nelson as his assignment. Respecting Nelson’s speed, Breeland elects to stay in top coverage against Nelson. Watch once again his eyes remain steadfast on the QB and ball as he runs down the field, adjusting and pushing JJ Nelson towards the side.

As a result, JJ Nelson becomes a near non-factor as Breeland forces a tight window throw on the QB. An incomplete pass follows due to such.

Recognition, awareness, and responsiveness. Quality traits that Breeland expresses.

Countering Short Routes

Finally, another strength of Breeland includes his work against short routes. Generally put, one of the Panther fanbases’ biggest complaints have been the overuse of Worley and Bradberry in off-coverage. Giving the receiver space, the complaint was how easy opponents chopped up and took advantage of such circumstances.

In Breeland’s case, one of his strengths happen to be against quick short routes. He shows good ability to remain stuck on his assignment and undercut well to prevent plays. Against receivers like Michael Thomas or Alshon Jeffery, he does very well at containing and keeping their impact to a minimum.

For example, take a look at the play below.

 

At the snap, the Eagles attempt a pick play to get receiver Alshon Jeffrey open on the slant. However, Breeland isn’t having any of that. He recognizes the pick play forming and incredibly avoids the pick by going underneath. Afterwards, he recovers and sticks on Jeffrey on the slant, allowing him to undercut and force a PBU.

Consistently, Breeland shows good ability at stopping most short, quick routes. This skill is quite necessary in the NFC South, with solid offensive minds and players used to making plays through short chunks against the Panthers. With Breeland, the task to commit to this style of play increases in difficulty, giving the advantage to their defense.

Grade

For a rough idea of the scale, 0-2 is pretty poor, 3-5 mediocre/needs work, 6-8 is starter quality level play, and 9-10 is elite. 

  • Instinct & Reactivity: 8/10
    • Shows incredible instincts and understanding of plays. Will stay put with receivers and follow the QBs eyes. Recognizes gaps and speeds through towards target like heat-seeking missile in run coverage. However, can occasionally over-pursue certain routes. Will bite on double moves on occasion. Needs to also work on coordination of feet and eyes to prevent hiccups and stumbles.
  • Press Coverage: 9/10
    • Very good at reacting to receivers in press. Will patiently wait out receiver’s moves and react accordingly. Jams well and shows decent physicality. Can occasionally be out-muscled, but otherwise very few complaints overall. Elite press ability.
  • Overall Coverage: 7.5/10
    • Keeps up with receivers in most cases. Will  Can be beat by speed, but understandable due to athletic constraints. Occasionally can be a liability in zone coverage at times. Could work on prevent over-pursuits or biting on offensive baits. Otherwise, stats back up his ability to cover and keep receivers out of plays.
  • Recognition & Awareness 8.5/10
    • Near elite awareness and recognition. Keeps eyes on the QB and understands receiver location. Does well to push and keep receivers out of plays while creating a hard window for QBs to throw into. Needs to refine coordination of eyes and feet when looking at QB at times to prevent occasional staggers. Otherwise, quality work.
  • Ball-Skills 4/10
    • Very little attempts at stealing the ball. Only interception of 2017 came off errant throw. Needs to be more aggressive at the ball and try and create turnovers. Considering he is the Panthers’ highest paid corner, it’s imperative he tries and improve in this area. Solid cover corner, but won’t surpass high-end CB2 status without good ball-hawking ability.

Summary, Criticisms, & Report

Overall, Bashaud Breeland is a player with a lot of potential. Currently, his play lands around a high-end CB2/low-end CB1 play. He shows incredible instinct at keeping receivers out of plays, aggressiveness and physicality in press coverage, and a great propensity to cause a lot of PBUs. He’s a solid cover corner and a definite upgrade over Daryl Worley.

One of Breeland’s best traits is situational awareness. He will look at the QB and understand what is happening on the field. To add on, he will decipher plays and routes while coming up with a decent counter of his own. Finally, he keeps receivers out of field of play and remains in pursuit, sticking to them like glue.

What is concerning is his consistency. One of his main problems is maintaining consistency. While exponentially better last year than the year prior, he still follows certain games with poor performances. One week, he looks as if he could compete with any elite receiver and keep them contained. The next, he may even struggle with covering receivers like Brenton Bersin. Consistency is the one factor he needs to work on, and so far, it appears he’s only becoming more consistent.

The thing Breeland could most improve on is definitely his ball-hawking skills. His lack of interceptions only continues the issue the Panthers faced the year prior concerning takeaways. While some of this stems from his role as CB2 in Washington’s defense, it still is a trait he needs to develop. He needs to understand when to take risks and go straight with instinct to feast on his prey.

Overall, Breeland is a solid addition at a relatively cheap price in comparison to his free agent counterparts. At 8 million per year, this deal is a solid one that will last well until the next CBA. Breeland should provide quality play with plenty of upside.

At worst, Breeland’s just another CB2 on the Panthers.

At best, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.

 

Writer for the CarolinaHuddle. In-depth analysis, breakdowns, and articles all related to the Carolina Panthers.