SAN FRANCISCO - FILE: Nate Clements #22 of the San Francisco 49ers intercepts a ball in the endzone against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on December 12, 2010 in San Francisco, California. According to reports on July 30, 2011 Clements will sign a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
While the Bengals were practicing Saturday evening, the organization signed former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Nate Clements; largely in response with losing Johnathan Joseph to the Houston Texans Thursday night. Pro Football Focus said that Nate Clements was "comfortably the best corner in the NFC West" last season, great against the run and only second-best in coverage.
He notched up a division leading 30 stops but also allowed the most YAC (368) and a 64.5% completion rate. He was a top fantasy performer with 3 interceptions, a sack and 81 total tackles tackles. Expect him to produce similarly next season as his production level was on par for the rest of his career.
A stop is a solo tackle against the ball carrier that constitutes a failure for the opposing offense. According to Pro Football Focus' grading system, Clements' grade of +9.9 in 2010 crushed Joseph's grade of +3.0.
Clements did have his struggles last year. Against the Carolina Panthers, he allowed 118 yards to opposing receivers, which included a touchdown. Opposing quarterbacks posted a 90.5 quarterback rating on passes thrown to receivers that Clements was covering.
That being said, signing Clements gives the Bengals a much better option than what the team had in place Saturday afternoon before the signing. Unknown injury situations with Adam Jones (and legal issues) and Morgan Trent forced the Bengals to use Jonathan Wade during the first team defense. How bad is Wade? He allowed six touchdowns, an opposing quarterback rating of 136.9 and a 65.2% completion rate with Detroit and Cincinnati. Of the 19 passes thrown to receivers he covered, two resulted in touchdowns with the Bengals.
Marvin Lewis is pleased with the Clements signing, writes Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“You watch him play and see how smart of a player he is. He’s a fine, fine player… He’ll be 32 at the end of December. He’s been a great cover player. A fine player up in Buffalo and then out there and continued it. He just wanted to get into a situation where he felt good and comfortable.”
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