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Redskins vs Dolphins Week 1 Player Spotlight: Brice McCain

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We all know about Brent Grimes, but what about the Dolphins OTHER starting CB?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Brice McCain

Cornerback

Age: 28

Height: 5'9"

Weight: 187 lbs.

College: Utah

NFL Draft: 2009 - Round: 6 - Pick: 188

Form

Back in August coming into training camp, after being signed away from the Steelers in March, Brice McCain was the assumed slot CB for the Dolphins.  He quickly found himself in a battle with Jamar Taylor for the starting job opposite Brent Grimes.  Well, McCain won the job.  Known as a competitor with good recovery speed, McCain got to work early in camp intercepting a pass from Josh Freeman.  While McCain is often seen as a slot CB (perhaps due to his diminutive 5'9" height), he views himself as a more complete CB than that and has proven so in various places in his past.  McCain played on the outside at Utah and was a starter on the outside for a while with the Texans.  He's very quick and perhaps aided in that by his shortness.  He's also got pretty good leaping ability.  After having 3 INTs for the Steelers last year, it's assumed that McCain will move to the slot against 3+ WR sets while playing on the outside in two-WR sets.

Second-best or not, McCain was definitely helped by Jamar Taylor suffering a quad injury late in camp and missing a few practices.  In 3+ WR sets, Taylor is likely to be the outside CB opposite Grimes with McCain sliding to the slot.

McCain is just a part of a banged up, muddled group in the Dolphins secondary.  It's definitely an area of their team that the Redskins should try to take advantage of Sunday.  They lost their starting FS Louis Delmas for the season with a torn ACL and CB Jamar Taylor has been dealing with the aforementioned quad injury.  The team's other starting S, Rashad Jones, has declared himself the best S in the league (take that with about as much seriousness as you took RGIII saying he's the best QB).  As recently as two weeks ago, the Dolphins hadn't settled on Delmas' replacement.  Taylor was the front-runner to start opposite Grimes until his quad injury.  Last season, the Dolphins were tied for 14th in the league in INTs, tied for 16th in sacks, 17th in completion percentage, 18th in passer rating, and 20th in yards per attempt.  Not exactly great numbers...  Of course, that was without Ndamukong Suh.

For what it's worth, I've read about Kenny Stills burning Brice McCain on multiple occasions throughout Dolphins training camp.

Skills

Brice McCain's skills are that of a prototypical slot corner.  He's short at only 5'9", has good speed, and gets his fair share of INTs.  He has the skills to play on the outside as evidenced by his time at Utah, starting for the Texans, and beating out Jamar Taylor for the starting job in Miami.  He's quick and does a good job of positioning himself well.  He's also an outstanding leaper.

McCain's definitely one of the faster CBs in the league though he only has average agility.  He's not very good in press situations, probably at least partially due to his small size and arm length.  We shouldn't expect to see him jamming too many guys at the LoS come Sunday.  It should also be noted that he's a below average tackler at the CB spot.  He's not known as a hard hitter and is very poor with his support against the run.  He can cover a little bit, but not so much with actually taking guys down once they make the catch.  Overall, I'd say his skills are below average for a starting CB.  He's more ideally suited as a team's third or fourth option there.

Potential Against the Redskins

It would seem that McCain is going to be over-matched in two-WR sets against the 'Skins.  He may have the best chance to hang with DeSean Jackson due to his speed, but are they really going to trust anyone but Grimes with that assignment?  Personally, I don't think McCain stands a chance against Jackson, especially because he has basically no chance at jamming him off the line.  Then again, if they go with Grimes on Jackson, that means little Brice McCain is going to have to deal with Pierre Garcon.  Garcon is a big, strong WR who excels at two things: blocking and yards after the catch.  Pierre would seem like a horrible match-up for McCain, as well.  It would make sense that Garcon would have no issue whatsoever blocking the diminutive McCain and I wouldn't want such a poor tackler trying to deal with Garcon after he gets the ball in his hands.  So I'm really not sure what they plan to do with McCain against either of those guys, but I'd pick on him all day if I were Kirk Cousins... regardless of who he's guarding.

In 3+ WR sets, it would make sense that McCain will move into the slot and cover Andre Roberts.  This is McCain's best chance to find some success.  Roberts isn't much bigger than McCain, so he may have a slightly easier time bringing him down though Roberts excels with YAC, as well.  I'd say he has the quicks and coverage skills to play with Roberts, but could be in a bit of trouble if Roberts makes the catch.

McCain has almost no chance in the run game due to his size and poor tackling ability.  Running directly at him is recommended.

Interesting Facts

In HS, Brice was All-District at both RB and DB.  He played CB, WR, RB, and returned both punts and KOs.  He also lettered in basketball and track, and ran the 100 meters in 10.3 seconds.

After being drafted in the sixth round by the Texans in '09, McCain spent the first five years of his career with the team.  He was released prior to last season before going on to join the Steelers.  He picked of Blake Bortles once and Andy Dalton twice as a Steeler.

You can check out Brice's Twitter account here: @McCain21