There are faster corners.
And there are definitely bigger corners.
But how many corners are willing to stand in against a bigger receiver and, in the words of people inside Dolphins headquarters, “bite your face off?”
Bobby McCain has that ability.
No, not in the bath salts sense.
In the “I might be small but I’m mighty and I have zero back-down” sense.
And that, more than any other reason, is why McCain — generously listed by the organization at 5-foot-11 — is set to start for the Dolphins on the boundary in 2018 instead of the slot.
He plays bigger (and fiercer) than his size.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” McCain said, when asked if he agrees with his bosses’ analogy. “I came in with a chip on your shoulder. Ain’t nothing changed. Even after I re-signed, I’m still going to play with that chip on my shoulder. Ain’t nothing changed from my rookie year to now.
“Just keep better, keep preparing the right way, mentally, physically. Just being consistent,” he added. “That’s the biggest thing. Being consistent will keep you around this league.”
And get you paid.
McCain signed a four-year, $27 million contract extension in the spring, which made him the league’s highest-paid slot corner. But even then, there were hints that the Dolphins had bigger plans for him than just in their sub package.
He got reps on the boundary in OTAs and minicamp, and did well. But once training camp arrived, the Dolphins gave Cordrea Tankersley, Torry McTyer and Tony Lippett every opportunity to win the job.
What’s more, Tankersley had such a rough night against the Panthers last week, he told reporters afterward that his play was “straight trash.”
McCain, meanwhile, has been a treasure.
“I’m a plug-and-play guy,” McCain said. “I know it all and I can do it all. Being outside, being inside, it doesn’t faze me.”
Moving McCain outside has another benefit for the Dolphins: It gets Minkah Fitzpatrick on the field. The versatile rookie defensive back did not have a set position a month ago. He does now as the Dolphins’ nickel corner.
“They want the best players on the field,” McCain said. “That’s what we’re about. We’re trying to find the best fit for the secondary, find the best fit for the team. At the end of day, it’s not just about the secondary’s job. It’s about the defense. It’s about the team winning ballgames. If you can create turnovers and havoc on the back end, it’ll make it a lot easier for the offense.”
With McCain, the biggest question is this: How he is going to hang with receivers who have a full head on him?
Yes, the Dolphins can put Xavien Howard on an opposing team’s biggest receiver.
But teams are smart. They can do things to create favorable matchups.
There will come a time this fall that McCain will need to play bigger than his size.
No surprise: He believes he’s up to the challenge.
“My preparation,” McCain said, on what will help him make up for the difference in height. “At the end of the day, it all goes back to that. If you prepare the right way and you know things as film, little things such as body nutrition, every little thing helps. Watching film, you’ve got tall guys. You’ve got tall guys in the slot, you’ve got tall guys outside. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be a dog and get the job done.”
Think Cujo without a meal for a month.
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