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Five possible landing spots for Bob Sanders

The former Colts' safety should draw interest this offseason. Matt Bowen

Print This February 21, 2011, 05:30 AM EST
18 Comments

On Friday, I ran through my notes on safety Bob Sanders after his release from the Colts. A player I see that can still contribute—and act as an upgrade—for some rosters in the NFL. Injuries are a concern with Sanders. There is no way around that. But, when healthy, all you have to do is turn on the tape to see him impact on Sundays.

There will be interest for the former Indianapolis safety. Let’s look at five teams (outside of the possibility of re-signing with the Colts) that need to give Sanders a call.

Bob SandersICONExpect to see some interest for Sanders once we start free agency in the NFL.

1. Buffalo: There is some interest on the part of the Bills. Buffalo has a player in safety Jarius Byrd who will go after the football, but they need another impact player at the position. Donte Whitner wasn't the play maker Buffalo envisioned when they made him a first round pick, and with his contract up, the Bills could look at Sanders to possibly slide into the secondary in 2011. The question for defensive coordinator George Edwards would be where to play him: at free or strong.

2. Minnesota: The Vikings must address the safety position this offseason through free agency or the draft (which boasts a very average class coming out). If you want to play Cover 2, you need safeties that can play the top of the defense. There is a history between head coach Leslie Frazier and Sanders (which helps veteran players out in free agency) and there is familiarity with the defensive schemes. Sanders can get off of the numbers in Cover 2, play the deep middle of the field in their single high safety defenses or roll down into the run front. Bottom line: the talent of the Vikings’ depth chart at the safety position needs to be upgraded.

3. Washington: LaRon Landry is one of the top young safeties in the game from my perspective—but there is a revolving door at the free safety position. Sanders is an ideal fit for safeties coach Steve Jackson (who wants physical players that understand pro offenses), and the Redskins can find a spot for him in Jim Haslett’s 3-4 pressure scheme. Plus, we know owner Dan Snyder isn’t afraid to add a player with some name value. If anything, sign Sanders and let him compete in the Redskins’ secondary this summer at training camp—because I think he would fit alongside Landry.

4. Dallas: There has already been talk of the Cowboys taking a look at Rams safety O.J. Atogwe (who was just released) and we should add Sanders name to the list as well. Dallas has two corners in Terrence Newman and Mike Jenkins that can play man coverage, but with that comes a need for a safety that can get from the middle of the field over the top of any vertical route outside of the numbers. Sanders—like Atogwe—has that ability. A team to keep on eye on once we hit free agency—because the draft class coming out at the safety position doesn’t have big talent.

5. Chicago: Think immediate upgrade for Lovie Smith’s defense. That’s how I see it. FS Chris Harris did have a solid season in 2010, but the Bears could add Sanders to play alongside Major Wright in the secondary. And just like Minnesota, Sanders is walking into a scheme that he knows. However, the overall talent is what Chicago needs in their secondary to compete with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Why not give Sanders a look? He could be a fit.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

Comments

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LuckyHorseshoe
Feb 21, 2011
08:42 AM

injuries are a concern? Gee, ya think? Isnt it more likely that the Colts resign him to a heavily incentivized contract than any other team?

nacaboose
Feb 21, 2011
09:02 AM

Any chance he winds up in Denver?

Lance
Feb 21, 2011
09:02 AM

Matt, something weird is going on with your writing. Two articles in the three days about a guy who has played something like five games in three years? You should be honest and give full disclosure. Is hi agent a friend of yours and calling in favors to drum up demand? Did Sanders introduce you to some fine pussy and you're wanting to help him out?

Need full disclosure dude or write about a somebody not a has-been. I like watching Sanders play when he could but that's a while ago - there are other relevant stories you can write on.

Matt Bowen
Feb 21, 2011
09:29 AM
Matt Bowen

@Lance-

2007 Defensive Player of the Year is now a free agent--and can sign before a possible lockout on March 4th.

On top of that, the draft class coming out for the safety position is average at best--pushing Sanders (and O.J. Atogwe of the Rams) forward in terms of interest.

From my perspective, that is big in the NFL when all of the other talk is about labor negotiations that don't appeal to the entire league audience.

If you don't agree, I can't help you out--but please try and keep the comments professional here.

Thanks

winston123
Feb 21, 2011
10:41 AM

Lance- Whatt a horrible comment. Matt you guys should delete his post of at least edit the vulgarity out. This is not the appropriate forum for that talk.

mikeinla
Feb 21, 2011
12:29 PM

Sadly, the most probable landing spot is the IR list, no matter what team signs him. Too bad. He's awesome when he's healthy.

Lance
Feb 21, 2011
12:34 PM

Matt, my apologies - it was an inappropriate comment and I should never have have clicked the "submit" button. I appreciate your writing and insight and apologize again. Feel free to delete the comment if possible.

jeremiah
Feb 21, 2011
01:49 PM

as a packer fan i hope sanders signs with either of the NFCN teams listed above. the dude just can't stay healthy, and would be a complete waste of a roster spot for them. zyggi and jerry, let the bidding war begin!

Lwood
Feb 21, 2011
02:41 PM

Don't you think the Bears have seen this movie with Mike Brown? Although there's no telling what goes on between Jerry Angelo's ears, it would be a surprise if they did sign him....but never say never!

I liked your line Lance, but you're correct, it doesn't belong here.

Tim Evans
Feb 21, 2011
02:41 PM

But if he could stay health, he's a beast out there. A team will be able to get him on the relative cheap and for as much heart as Demond plays with, he'd be a veteran many teams would love to work along side of some young players.

@Jeremiah ... remember who our Packers picked in 2004? Mike Sherman picked Ahmad Carroll in the 1st round and Bob Sanders went in the 2nd (I'm sure the scout who advised Sherman that Carroll was a first round pick is probably no longer a scout!) :). A Bob Sanders would have been nice to have on those 2006-2007 teams.

GO HAWKS!

matrixnov
Feb 21, 2011
03:40 PM

Lance...

Comedies a "highwire act" without a safety net - while your comments were inappropriate get the gist of what you're saying - that being said can't believe Bowen would care one way or another about any former players to the point of compromising his integrity/credibility - understand this Lance, they're all out in the media competing off the field once retired as much as they did on the field if their goal is to stay in the game in an analyst or other role (NFL channel is witness to this phenomenon in a major scale)...at any rate the ONLY thing they have to keep them listenable is not "shilling" for former buddies/players in an obvious form and their integrity and credibility is assessed on each comment made - all that aside believe Bowen hit on Sanders relevance with the statement:

"On top of that, the draft class coming out for the safety position is average at best--pushing Sanders (and O.J. Atogwe of the Rams) forward in terms of interest"

Bowen, if Dawkins comes back for the donkeys would a free safety in moving Sanders to this position with Dawkins in the box make any kind of sense or is that just the potential for disaster in them "losing their game" at the same time and winding up with two, older, flat footed safeties - which the donkeys can ill afford - that being said IMO Hill has given them nothing - they do have a youngster drafted a couple of years ago out of Texas Tech, McBath who's a natural "cover safety", yet his inability to stay on the field has been frustrating - the replacement for Dawkins is in line as Bruton, a very strong, big safety from Notre Dame, yet doesn't seem overly instinctive and a bit stiff in the hips as well - not sure if either of them are ever going to be NFL starting safeties as they were both drafted in 2009 if not mistaken

Jimmy DiDago
Feb 21, 2011
04:55 PM

How about Cleveland? We have a youngster here that could certainly use his tutelage in T.J. Ward and Abe Elam is a FA and unhappy with his role here.

leebo
Feb 21, 2011
06:11 PM

I'm shocked that Houston is not on this list since it did have the worst pass defense in the league. Houston also has rolled the dice on medically unsound free agents and players in the past.

gavin
Feb 21, 2011
07:12 PM

Matt,
Has Buffalo made any effort to get Sanders yet by offering him a contract, or inviting him to 1 Bills Drive to talk about the opportunities he will have if he comes to Buffalo?

gavin
Feb 21, 2011
07:12 PM

Matt,
Has Buffalo made any effort to get Sanders yet by offering him a contract, or inviting him to 1 Bills Drive to talk about the opportunities he will have if he comes to Buffalo?

jhbenham
Feb 21, 2011
07:18 PM

why would the Bills drop a healthy, young Whitner to pick up a beat-down Bob Sanders? I think the Bills are more rational than that (I hope)..........

jackhammerebm
Feb 21, 2011
07:25 PM

Matt I have nothing but mad respect for you. I think your break down of X's and O's is something new and exciting in the world of print journalism, and I love the fact you're educating the masses on the schematics of this outstanding game. That said I disagree with the Sanders to Chicago as a fit. For one it brings back awful memories of Mike Brown. Two, isn't Sanders an in the box SS type? I know he plays FS, but he plays more like a SS. 6 INT's in his career is pretty unimpressive. Bears need a ball hawk. They have a roster full of SS's! Steltz is a SS, Wright is a SS, Harris is a SS. And Manning played SS last season. We need a ball hawk man. A CF. We haven't had that for since I can remember. Harris does get turnovers, but he's not a prototypical coverage guy because he ran a 4.7 at the combine! I can only imagine what his time is now. Very heady guy, but if he played SS and the Bears got a true FS than that would be a hell of a tandem.

I hear Atogwe got cut. Why not go after him? I think tats a total fit.Didn't he get drafted to be a cover-2 FS? Besides the way Sanders plays with such violence and his size tells me he's kinda like a Pisa Tinoisoma type guy. Another player Bears should cut bait with.

gavin
Feb 21, 2011
07:30 PM

Matt,
Has Buffalo made any effort to get Sanders yet by offering him a contract, or inviting him to 1 Bills Drive to talk about the opportunities he will have if he comes to Buffalo?

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