Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/7/12
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Antoine Bethea has been one of the best players on the Colts for years, and is one of the better safeties in the league. It's too bad not many people know about him.

Antoine Bethea has been one of the most productive players on the Colts for the last several years. He's been one the one good constant on the Colts defense for the last few years. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have had their highs, but they fail to stay consistent, especially Freeney. Antoine Bethea has emerged as one of the best tackling safeties in the league... well actually, the best tackling safety in the league.

He's tackled more people in the last 3 years than any safety in the league, and by a lot. He's had 340 tackles since 2009, which is 80 more than the guy with the 2nd most (Yeremiah Bell). He also has a lot of solo tackles, which shows his incredible tackling ability. 

The safety is the last line of defense. If the running back or receiver gets past the safeties, you're in tons of trouble. So to have a reliable safety that can tackle, is a great thing to have. Then, add to the fact that he's had 5 interceptions in the last 3 years, and you've got yourself one hell of a safety. Oh, did I also say that he has dazzling speed that could catch the majority of receivers/running backs. He's a great all around safety, which is tough to find these days.

When you say "great safeties" you think of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Troy Polamalu is phenomenal everywhere, so there's no need to talk about him. Ed Reed however, is interesting. I'm not saying Antoine Bethea is better than Ed Reed, but he should be up there with him, in terms of playing ability right now. Now, Reed may be considered the better safety, but that's because he's more of a threat in coverage. He's a ballhawk. The problem is, he's a terrible tackler. Bethea averages 6.5 tackles a game in his career, and 7 in the last 3 years. Ed Reed, well, he's different. He averaged 3.7 tackles a game in his career, and 3.3 in the last 3 years. He's not the same tackler. Not even close. Tackling is one of the most overlooked parts of a safety. 

Let's look at another quality: speed. Antoine Bethea is faster than Ed Reed right now. Bethea ran .03 seconds faster than Ed Reed in the 40 yard dash. That's nothing major, and it isn't the best factor to judge speed. Another thing is their age. Reed is 6 years older (Reed = 33, Bethea = 27). He's gotten slower, whereas Bethea is in his athletic prime. He's faster than Reed. 

// > The reason that Bethea is overlooked is because he's not a ballhawk; he's not that incredible threat in coverage. He's not that guy you plan against, and he's not the guy that the analysts talk about, but that doesn't mean he's bad. He does the stuff that no one really looks at. The interception is a game changing play, but so is the touchdown saving tackle.  If you notice the little things that Bethea does, it shows you why he's above and beyond a lot of the safeties in this league, and should be up there with the Ed Reed's, the Troy Polamalu's and the Adrian Wilson's. Next time you watch a Colts football game, watch Antoine Bethea and watch how he plays. He can do everything! He's the most underrated safety in the league, and one of the most underrated players in the league. Be sure to check out other great articles at Everything Colts. var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
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