Like Randall, Rollins' third season looms large

Quinten Rollins shined as a rookie, but he'd probably like to forget his sophomore season. Can he turn things around in 2017? 

A trend in today’s NFL is that defensive backs are increasingly coming in as one-size-fits all players. 
 
The lines between cornerback and safety are blurring, as are other positions on defense. Modish offensive schemes today employ a combination of classic boundary receivers, highly athletic tight ends, fresh-legged receiving backs and what’s become a starting position on offense, the full-time slot receiver. In light of this, defenses need equally versatile chess pieces. 
 
Quinten Rollins — yes, the same guy who struggled mightily in 2016 after an impressive albeit limited role in his rookie season — can be that type of player. Hybridity is seen by some as a shortcoming, but it’s the way the league is going. 
 
Plenty of guys possess pure, straight-line speed but have slow feet in short spaces. Others are weak when playing chase for 40 yards, but excel in sudden stops and sudden starts. Rollins, who ran as 4.57 40-yard-dash coming out of college, fits the latter description. 
 
What Rollins lacks in top-end speed, he makes up for in ball skills and versatility. 
 
Remember, Rollins’ third year in the pros will mark just his fourth consecutive year of playing football since high school. The four-year point guard at Miami of Ohio used a final year of eligibility to once again don a helmet, and after a nine interception season he’d done enough to be taken by the Packers in the second round of the 2015 draft. 
 
Rollins shined in his limited role in the 2015 season. As a matter of fact, quarterbacks targeting Rollins’ covered receivers posted a paltry 58.1 rating. Rollins showed instincts and ball skills, though questions about his speed continued to linger. 
 
Then came last season, in which Rollins appeared to lack confidence and never quite overcame nagging injuries. When you lack for speed it doesn’t help to be banged up. Rollins thankfully avoided a serious neck injury in the regular season finale in Detroit. He had to be immobilized and was carted off the field. 
 
Maybe that scary moment can serve as a metaphor for what 2016 was to his career. Rollins survived an ugly situation. His 2016 season was largely an ugly situation. But he’s healthy now, and with a clean bill of health in 2017, there’s no reason to believe — like the neck injury — that he can’t put it behind him. 
 
As Chris Peterson wrote yesterday in his piece on Damarious Randall, this third season will be crucial. Rollins is no different. He needs a shot of confidence. If he plays like he’s capable of playing, expect him to get some back. 
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Comments (21)

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Matt Gonzales's picture

March 31, 2017 at 03:51 pm

I think Rollins is a big part of why Hyde is not on our roster today. He should grow to be a good to strong complimentary player when not thrust into bigger roles than he can fill or hampered by injuries.

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The TKstinator's picture

March 31, 2017 at 06:25 pm

Hybridity.
Liquidity.
Verility.
Versatility.
Whole lot required for tenacious D.

Yo.

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Finwiz's picture

March 31, 2017 at 04:10 pm

Hyde's not on the team because somebody was willing to give him a huge contract with big money guarantee's, and the Packers did not view him that same high regard.
Rollins and Hyde are two different players. I don't think there's any correlation.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

March 31, 2017 at 04:40 pm

Two hybrid non- marquee players that play the slot. It's where the similarities end, but that's all that's needed.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 01, 2017 at 11:56 am

I think MattG is correct, but I also agree with you, Finwiz as well. As it happens, I agree that whether GB had Rollins or not, GB wasn't going to match that contract, but having a younger potential replacement on the roster had to make the decision easier.

Rollins' 3 cone (7.10) doesn't suggest great short area, change of direction, quickness. I was surprised that Rollins didn't have a better 40 time - it was slower than expected. Still wonder if Rollins isn't a bump and run boundary CB. But if he can play slot, that works too.

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badaxed's picture

March 31, 2017 at 05:49 pm

SLOOOOOOOOOOW! Let them GOOOOOOOOOO!
We need speed and tacklers at DB.

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NitschkeFan's picture

March 31, 2017 at 07:50 pm

Same as his backfield mate, he looked lost out there. Bite's on play action, easily fooled by WR moves, seems clueless as to where his Safety might be.

I don't think it was all injury. They both stunk and as Packer fans there is a lot of wishful thinking that it was mostly due to injury. I hope so but I highly doubt it.

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worztik's picture

March 31, 2017 at 08:41 pm

I think we need to run a 2 QB scheme to REALLY confuse the TV announcers!!!

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worztik's picture

March 31, 2017 at 08:41 pm

I think we need to run a 2 QB scheme to REALLY confuse the TV announcers!!!

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worztik's picture

March 31, 2017 at 08:42 pm

You've now entered the NO MIND ZONE!!!!

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Rossonero's picture

March 31, 2017 at 09:04 pm

It's put up or shut up time for Randall and Rollins. Staying healthy will be critical, but if they play poorly, they will quickly realize why the average NFL career is only 3 years -- the shortest of any major U.S. league.

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porupack's picture

April 01, 2017 at 01:53 am

I don't believe in the mystical 'bounce-back' as if that is something one would plan for. That is just as good as 'lets hope'.

One can point to the 'Sam Shields factor' that elevated both Rollins and Randall performance in year 1. Thus, without Shields, we saw the purer performance of Rollins and Randall in 2016.
Thus, we are more likely to expect around same performance as 2016, than 2015 if nothing else changes.
So rather than hope for the mystical thing called bounce-back, there has to be a change if we want a "bounce-back".
either; 1) get a true #1 CB that roughly equaled Sam Shields,
2) coach the hell out of Randall/Rollins
3) Change schemes to accommodate the loss of a Sam Shields caliber player.
4) hope it was only injuries, and Sign Davon House as my insurance policy.

If I was a planner, I'd damn sure not pick number #4 as my solution to start the season.

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The TKstinator's picture

April 01, 2017 at 11:47 am

Davante Adams?

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ironman3169's picture

April 01, 2017 at 07:34 pm

Many have opined that Randall and Rollins could make the bid jump like Adams did. The missing factor is that the #1 receiver came back last year. This year, the #1 corner is not coming back...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 01, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I am changing mystical to mythical in my mind. I assume GB is going to do #2, #3 (lot less confidant about this, though), #4, and probably add a #5: draft a CB in the first or second round, and perhaps a #6: double dip at CB in the upcoming draft if things fall well.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 01, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I am changing mystical to mythical in my mind. I assume GB is going to do #2, #3 (lot less confidant about this, though), #4, and probably add a #5: draft a CB in the first or second round, and perhaps a #6: double dip at CB in the upcoming draft if things fall well.

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EdsLaces's picture

April 01, 2017 at 01:59 am

Will Rollins be any good? in a word ....no.

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NMPF's picture

April 01, 2017 at 10:21 am

Living in Philly in the late 90's watching Al Harris, it took 4 years to develop into a darn good CB. I'm not sure the team can hang their hats on these 2 but the rookie promise both showed and the injury bug last year, patience is needed before the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth.

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Dzehren's picture

April 01, 2017 at 02:54 pm

Randall and Rollins had injuries & are not a 1 or 2. We have a deep stable of fast, quick but inexperienced CB's- all we really need is 1 shut down corner to solve the problem. looking at the depth chart, OLB/pass rusher needs a lot of attention....

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mbrand1969's picture

April 01, 2017 at 06:16 pm

what we all forget is he only played football 1 year in college he is a basketball player that went into football . he is raw and he is being shaped into what the team wants

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croatpackfan's picture

April 02, 2017 at 04:46 am

To many of you there is some facts from the past - 2nd seasons of Jordy Nelson, Sam Shields, Davante Adams, Morgan Burnett, etc.
It is not so uncommon to see bounce back seasons from young players. There is more evidence for expecting that bounce back, than not.
Also, I know that spitting on Rollins is not against Rollins, but against ... (guess who)?
Pathetic...

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