The Inside Slant

Wide receiver Darnerien McCants nearly lost his confidence working against corners Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot last year. Turns out working against them was the best thing for him. And here's why.

Once McCants, having a strong camp, stopped being in awe of those two he started to improve. But Bailey sped that improvement with a few tips.

Bailey noticed that whenever McCants would go to cut, he'd stand straigh up in the air. It's something any good corner would notice and would tip off what McCants was doing, allowing a corner to smother him.

''He's so tall he doesn't need to do that,'' Bailey said.

Another tip: stop staring at where you're about to run. McCants had that nasty habit, too. He could get away with that in college, but not in the NFL.

''He's fast enough that he can just run,'' Bailey said.

And McCants would not diversify his moves. On slant routes, he'd do the same thing, step left and go right. Now he's mixing it up, keeping the corner guessing.

''His confidence is growing and his talent is getting better,'' Bailey said. ''It's all coming together. He's not tipping his routes anymore.''

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