Xavier Rhodes finds Colts zone defensive scheme “so much easier”

Getty Images

Back when cornerback Xavier Rhodes was at the top of his game with the Vikings, one could find merchandise with the “Rhodes Closed” slogan in reference to the way he locked up receivers while playing a lot of man-to-man defense.

Rhodes’ play slipped as his time in Minnesota came to an end, however, and he landed with the Colts after being released earlier this offseason. The Colts play a lot more zone coverage than the Vikings and Rhodes seems to be welcoming the change in how he’ll be approaching his job this season.

“It’s so much easier,” Rhodes said, via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “I’ll tell you that. . . . This one is more zone, eyes to the quarterback. That’s going to be the main difference for me, is being able to play looking at the quarterback, rather than looking at the man.”

A successful transition to the new scheme might not result in another wave of Rhodes merchandise, but it would give some new life to a career that hit a rough patch with the Vikings.

21 responses to “Xavier Rhodes finds Colts zone defensive scheme “so much easier”

  1. It’s becoming clearer why the Viking defense likes to ignore Zimmer. It’s too hard!

  2. If it’s easier to for an aging DB on the back-end of his career to learn, it’s also easier to exploit by opposing offenses.

  3. That assessment doesn’t build a ton of confidence in the guy. I get what he’s saying, but it kind of sounds like he can’t handle man coverage anymore.

  4. Rhodes was a shutdown corner for a while there but Father Time remains undefeated. He can no longer hold up in man coverage for majority of a game or slow down elite receivers. A switch to zone should be good for him to extend his career before transitioning to retirement. It’ll be interesting to see if another coaching staff can teach him how to make a play on the ball instead of just watching it into the receivers hands though.

  5. In other news, Rhodes was terrible in zone defense last year.

    As far as it being easier, maybe now he’ll remember when he has safety help over the top and when he doesn’t.

  6. In addition to declining athletic skills, Rhodes was straight up LOST at several points last year. I’m guessing the Rhode meets a Dead End this year.

  7. Of course he likes zone coverage. Its easier to blame someone else for getting beat.

    It was really sad to watch him get toasted last year and then try to blame Harrison Smith on the sidelines.

  8. I think Rhodes has a bit left in the tank if he’s used sparingly and in the right situation. He’s not the shut down he was a couple years ago. I’m not sure how he dropped off so fast but he really hit a wall.

  9. Rhodes and Diggs make up nearly 70% of the Vikings have $20.4 in dead money this season. Thanks to the best cap guy in the business and the extension worthy GM.

  10. Was there merchandise of him grabbing his hamstring and limping off the field every time he got burned.

  11. So by his own comments he’s admitting his skills have diminished quite a bit! All of the best want to play man and to be put on the best WR, it’s clear Rhodes wants no part of that anymore.

  12. Well, no one ever confused Xavier with Einstein. Not like the Vikes have had a top 10 scoring D most of the years Zim has coached or like modern offenses require more than simple zone defensive concepts.

    Nonetheless, I wish Xavier all the best and hope he has a bounce back season. He was a good person and a good team-mate with the Vikings. Again, those big bodied CBs have a tougher time keeping their legs and flexibility as they age, and Xavier is pretty beat up and aging.

  13. Xavier, if you want easy you should have went to the Packers. There you can hold the receiver while looking at the QB.

  14. Never ever ever thought he was anything close to special but I’ve been saying that all along, too many times watching him chase recievers and whining afterwards throwing a fit. Always wanted to blame somebody for his ineptitudes. Now, can we stop constantly talking about old vikings every single day, turn the page, and look to the future for a change.

  15. artic19 says:
    August 11, 2020 at 6:10 pm
    Xavier, if you want easy you should have went to the Packers. There you can hold the receiver while looking at the QB.
    ~~~~~~~~
    Thank you, for proving my moniker right, once again.
    It’s Dopes like you that keep me drunk.

  16. Viking Fan Blames Officials…..Everybody Drink says:
    August 11, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    artic19 says:
    August 11, 2020 at 6:10 pm
    Xavier, if you want easy you should have went to the Packers. There you can hold the receiver while looking at the QB.
    ~~~~~~~~
    Thank you, for proving my moniker right, once again.
    It’s Dopes like you that keep me drunk.
    —————-
    That might be true if I was a Vikings fan. Keep trying, you might get lucky one day.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.