Sep 23, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans corner back Tommie Campbell (37) returns a kick for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
‘Cause nobody wins: We both lose.
That’s the opening line to the chorus from Radney Foster’s 1993 Billboard No. 2 country single, “Nobody Wins.” Maybe that’s a good way to describe this training-camp competition between Alterraun Verner and Tommie Campbell. Neither has won a permanent spot as the starter alongside Jason McCourty. That may end up as the permanent situation.
On Aug. 29, Verner will start his third preseason game when the Tennessee Titans play the Minnesota Vikings. Campbell has started one. Despite that discrepancy, defensive coordinator Jerry Gray admitted that each cornerback could alternate starts throughout the regular season. No. 2 cornerback would depend on weekly matchups.
Here’s what Gray said to The Tennessean:
"Come Pittsburgh week, we know we have to make a decision. But we’re going to look at Pittsburgh’s roster and see which guy fits that week, and we may end up using both guys during the course of the season because one guy is stronger on one area, and the other guy is stronger in the other."
Verner and Campbell have different skill-sets that give them advantages over certain receivers. One example of that came in the Aug. 24 preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Verner had difficulty controlling Julio Jones on the line of scrimmage. Although Verner had a couple questionable penalties, Jones went uncontested on a 42-yard reception. Campbell’s 6-3, 198-pound frame allows him to play more of a physical man-to-man coverage style.
Using two matchup-based role players at the No. 2 cornerback position? Keep an eye on how much Campbell progresses with more playing time.
Who do our readers prefer as the No. 2 cornerback? Should Verner or Campbell win the job outright? Does Gray have the right idea with alternating starters based on matchups? Is there someone else (e.g. Coty Sensabaugh) who’d do better at that role and may end the season as McCourty’s partner in crime?
Answer in the poll below and discuss in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.