Originally Posted by njx9
absolutely. but i like reasoning =P
moreso when there's an odd argument being made (that gates is better/more important than bailey). it's more interesting to debate the idea behind it.
i'd submit champ was more important, given the 7 (? i may not remember right) interceptions inside the opponents 5 yard line (preventing scores). the argument could be made that denver was a 6-10 team without bailey. i'm not sure you could've made the same argument for gates last year (the chargers would've been worse, but i'm not sure they would've been worse to the same degree). further, champ is one of the best run defenders at the cornerback position, so he's not just taking one player out of the game, he's helping to prevent big gains in a division with two of the best running backs in the league, allowing the linebackers to play more aggressively or to protect inside better.
It is an interesting debate. I don't mean any disrespect to Champ, he's still in my top 3. Champ's red zone picks are a good stat (why the hell do teams throw at him near the goal line?), but you can't really put a number on the impact Gates has, unless you are just comparing him to other tight ends, in which case he is the best. Taking guys out of the box, takes another tight end or linebacker out of LT's way. He doesn't need any more help. Gates usually demands a double team too, to really be effectively stopped, especially in the red zone. He's a big reason LT was such a goal line monster last year.
Champ probably has a bigger impact on his defense than Gates, just because LT is such an 800 pound gorilla, but for my money there's no bigger matchup problem in the NFL than 85.