Back in late June, we noted that Darius Slay had teamed up with some of the best cornerbacks in the league to train during the offseason. Guys like Richard Sherman, Aqib Talib and Xavier Rhodes were all in attendance to help improve each other’s game and learn from personal trainer Rischad Whitfield.
Got some good work in with some of the best out there. @AqibTalib21 @_bigplayslay23 @XavierRhodes29_ @ahkello ... Preciate you @footwork_king1 working us pic.twitter.com/vHdUOG0k2F— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) June 27, 2018
At the time, we only had a couple videos—like the one above—to figure out what exactly was going on there. However, Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko has a detailed breakdown of the cornerback summit and what exactly went on during that weekend.
The summit, held at Sherman’s alma mater Stanford, was supposed to bring together 10 of the best cornerbacks in the league to help pick each other’s brain. The gathering was modeled after Larry Fitzgerald’s offseason workouts that often brought together the league’s best receivers. Due to schedule conflicts, the summit only produced five members: Slay, Sherman, Talib, Rhodes and Sherman’s teammate Ahkello Witherspoon.
But this wasn’t just five of the best defensive backs practicing together, it was a fully-immersed clinic.
“The most important thing on the docket that weekend: For 90 minutes, the five corners broke down their own film and explained the methods that make them exceptional,” Klemko explained.
For Slay, he chose to break down how to break down 3x1 formations. For Rhodes, it was how to be aggressive in man-coverage.
But the players weren’t just sitting in the film room watching highlights. They also took to the field to show off their favorite practice drills.
“During their two on-field sessions, each Pro Bowler introduced a drill that they felt was important,” Klemko wrote. “Sherman explained his six-inch first step and how he avoids wasting steps in the beginning of a route. Slay taught a backpedal drill for defending double moves.”
This shows that guys like Slay are not only committed to improving their game despite already being among the league’s best, but it also confirms that Slay is considered an expert in his field by his peers and he wants to share that with his colleagues.
That ability to teach could be invaluable to the Detroit Lions once camp kicks off. The Lions have a pair of young defensive backs in Teez Tabor and Tracy Walker that could really benefit from Slay’s tutelage. And, who knows? If Tabor takes the step some are expecting of him, he could be right alongside Slay at next year’s summit.
I highly recommend reading Klemko’s entire piece here to see just how committed Slay and his peers are to improvement.