|Is Cortland Finnegan better than Samari Rolle was?|
Cortland Finnegan (2006-present), with the benefit of two additional years of experience since we selected our inaugural team, is now in a strong position to challenge Samari for the position.
The two have many similarities. Each spent most of their rookie seasons on the bench, contributing in nickel packages. Rolle started only once as a rookie, sitting behind 8-year veteran Darryll Lewis, who went on to finish his career with two seasons in San Diego. Finnegan had two rookie starts, once at left corner and once in a nickel package.
Each of them became a full-time starter in their second season. Each earned first-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl selection in their third season.
Several notes on Rolle’s stats in the above table - 1) they include only his stats in Tennessee, none from Baltimore, and 2) stats for passes defensed not available before 2001, so Rolle’s PD are only from 2001-2004.
Stats for both are from Pro Football Reference, Rolle’s here and Finnegan’s here.
Rolle’s Tennessee career ended with the great salary cap purge after the 2004 season. His loss, along with that of Derrick Mason, were the two greatest over the long haul. Both Rolle and Mason continued to be productive for four or more years after leaving the Titans.
Rolle and Finnegan also have their differences, most notably their style of play. Finnegan has been the more physical player and contributed a lot more in run support than Rolle did. Samari, on the other hand, had better cover skills.
There are two plays I’ll always remember each for. I’ll always remember Samari’s interception vs. the Redskins just before halftime, and running the ball back as time expired. The Finnegan moment I’ll remember most was his 92-yard fumble recovery and return against the Jaguars, in a game where the Titans scored all of their touchdowns on defense.
Which do you think was the better right corner for the Titans, Samari or Finny? Please vote in our latest poll and share your opinion in the comments section.