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Best, worst teams and players in coverage from the 2022 NFL preseason

Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Giants inside linebacker Tae Crowder (48) runs with the ball after making an interception against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

• The New York Giants' Tae Crowder and the Detroit Lions' Malcolm Rodriguez were among the best linebackers in coverage this preseason, and both made their respective 53-man rosters.

• Houston Texans second-round rookie Jalen Pitre led all qualifying cornerbacks in True Coverage Rate this preseason.

• Check out our other articles dissecting coverage in the NFL and college, including on Adjusted Coverage Rate and Perfectly Covered Plays.

Following our extensive research on coverage in football, and the creation of Perfectly Covered Plays and Adjusted Coverage Rate, we now have recent data to analyze from the 2022 NFL preseason.

Let's evaluate how each team and defender performed in coverage in the preseason, particularly rookies and those who were fighting for roster spots.

Perfectly Covered Plays

A “Perfectly Covered Play is where every coverage player on the field earns a coverage grade of zero or better on a single play. Here are the defenses that created the most Perfectly Covered Plays in the preseason by week. The league average this preseason was 36.2%, down from the 2019-2021 league average of 38.5%.

The Carolina Panthers‘ coverage unit covered plays perfectly at the highest rate this preseason, aided by perfectly covering nearly 70% of their plays in a dominating win over the Buffalo Bills in the final week. In fact, many of the top teams here had their best week at creating Perfectly Covered Plays in preseason Week 3, perhaps due to having developed more chemistry.

The Philadelphia Eagles struggled the most to generate Perfectly Covered Plays this preseason, doing so only 5% of the time in their loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders, who played in the Hall of Fame game, also had trouble creating Perfectly Covered Plays, which could have stemmed from them taking more conservative approaches by playing fewer starters due to the extra game.


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