Following the Denver Broncos' crushing 38-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs, a popular opinion may be for the team to consider moving the 34-year-old Champ Bailey from cornerback to safety. There may even be good reason for this, considering the way he was torched by Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith several times in the game.
But would this be a smart move?
After all, Bailey has made 12 consecutive Pro Bowls and still had a very good season, playing in every one of the team's games for the first time since 2009. Lost in the sorrow of the disappointing end result of a very promising season is the fact that when the same two teams met one month earlier, Bailey shut Smith down, allowing just one catch for 14 yards.
Smith got the best of Bailey in the rematch, but that doesn't necessarily call for drastic changes:
John Fox on moving Champ Bailey to safety: "I don't see that.''— Jeff Legwold(@Jeff_Legwold) January 14, 2013
On the other side of Bailey, Chris Harris is becoming a star at cornerback and is one of the best up-and-coming talents in the entire league. However, the team doesn't have a better option beyond that. They will need to make a decision on whether to bring Tracy Porter back after his injury-riddled season. Tony Carter is an unrestricted free agent as well. Neither of them will play cornerback any better than Bailey, nor will Omar Bolden.
Instead, the Broncos should look for a stronger option at safety. Rahim Moore had a good season in his second year in the league, but all of the plays Bailey was burned on by Smith were much more forgivable than the play Moore allowed at the end of the game. Mike Adams had a nice season but a healthy Quinton Carter has more long-term appeal for the team.
The Broncos lost a chance to host the AFC Championship Game for several reasons. Whether it be coaching, bad play-calling, losing their starting running back or the defense, a case could be made for several factors.
In the end, it was a total team loss, one that can't be blamed on one player or one play. Bailey had a bad day, just like all great players do. He is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and he will be fine in that role next year, as will the team.