Daimion Stafford was an unlikely suspect for a breakout performance on Sunday, but that's exactly what happened against the mighty New England Patriots. He was called upon to start for the injured Da'Norris Searcy and he didn't disappoint. Stafford was all over the field, contributing in coverage and run support. It begs the question; why hasn't he gotten more playing time?
The Titans' secondary as a whole has been inconsistent, to put it politely. Man coverage has been a huge issue, especially on the outside. Stafford appears to have the athletic ability to play the center field position as a free safety.
This may be the best example that I can show to you. Check out how Stafford reads Tom Brady's eyes and jumps over to help out Michael Griffin in man coverage.
Stafford is the single high safety on this play, covering the deep portion of the field by himself. He plays it perfectly, diagnosing where the throw was going quickly. He shows off his wheels and gets to Gronkowski right after the ball had arrived. Gronkowski has a step on Griffin, but Stafford cleans up. He delivers a perfect (and legal) hit and puts the star tight end on his back.
There were a few more examples that I could show you, but the following one stands out. It's a cover two look and Perrish Cox opens up a big window for Brady and Brandon LaFell.
As you probably know, Stafford was flagged for a helmet to helmet hit. I don't really care about that -- it was still a fantastic play. Cox immediately jumps the running back on a swing pattern, giving LaFell plenty of room to work uncovered. Stafford sees this happen and immediately takes a perfect angle to LaFell. He lays into him, but LaFell was able to hang on. It was a great play from both sides, but it was particularly refreshing to see Stafford play it as well as he possibly could.
Stafford played all of the defensive snaps on Sunday and was credited with four solo tackles and one assisted tackle. He took great angles to the ball and assisted with run support throughout the game. He brought some physicality to a secondary group that desperately needed it. We'll see if this performance gets him more playing time going forward. If it were up to me he would get the start in both of the remaining games. He could be an answer at safety.