Tennessee’s best All-Time free safety: Robertson or Griffin?

Photo by Andrew Strickert for Total Titans
Marcus Robertson has been Michael Griffin’s position coach for four years.  Was the teacher better than the student is?

We continue updating our All-Time Tennessee era team with a review of the free safety position.  Marcus Robertson was selected to our initial team in 2008 and is now being challenged for the spot by 2007 first-round draft pick Michael Griffin.

Robertson spent six years in Houston, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 1993, and four seasons in Tennessee with the Oilers/Titans.  He concluded his career with two years in Seattle before retiring.

Robertson took a position in the Titans front office for several years as Director of Player Development before becoming assistant secondary coach in 2007.  His first year as a coach was also Griffin’s first year in the league and Marcus has been Griffin’s position coach ever since.  Robertson was promoted to secondary coach in 2009, taking Chuck Cecil’s position, when Cecil was elevated to defensive coordinator.

SS Blaine Bishop played next to Robertson for eight years and the pair were known as Fire and Ice.  It was an ideal pairing, with the hard-hitting four-time Pro Bowler Bishop (Fire) and ball-hawking All-Pro Robertson (Ice).  Although Ice was overshadowed by Fire in his physical style, don’t make the assumption that Robertson couldn’t hit.  Not only did he hit receivers, he was a willing and able tackler in run support, which is not something you can say about a lot of DBs.

Player Yrs Gms INT TD PD FF FR TD Tkl Ast
Robertson 4 56  7 0 5 4 2 130 64
Griffin 4 64 15 1 37 6 5 0 227 75

Robertson’s stats in the table above reflect only those while in Tennessee, and not those from Houston (1991-96) or Seattle (2001-02).  Passes defended were not a recorded stat until 2001.  Robertson’s career stats, from Pro Football Reference, are here and Griffin’s are here.

At one time I believed Griffin was something of an enigma because he was so inconsistent.  His rookie season was promising enough to give hope that he could become special.  Griffin followed it up with a very good 2008 season but a terrible 2009, prompting me to ask if he was worse than Lamont Thompson.  Last year was a tale of two seasons for Griffin, with a good start and poor finish, much like the Titans season.

I’m not sure when I first realized this, but Griffin is actually quite consistent in one regard.  He consistently plays up or down to the level of the players around him, though that’s not uncommon.  In Griffin’s case, though, it does seem more pronounced than it does in other players.

Robertson gets my vote for free safety on our All-Time Tennessee era team, for his generally high and consistent level of performance.  I may be wrong about Griffin, so, as always, please feel free to disagree.

Please vote in our new poll and add your opinions in our comments section.

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