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Team of The Week, Week 2

September 19, 2012

Tired of the box score telling you who the best players were?

Well don’t fret because we’ve had four people watching every play of every game in agonizing, relationship destroying detail, so the truly talented can get the praise they deserve.

So sit back, relax and see which players made the Team of Week 2.



Quarterback: Eli Manning, NYG (+6.2)

There should be an uneasy feeling in selecting a QB who was intercepted three times to this team, but there isn’t because, as good as Mike Vick was to close the game and as solid as Matt Ryan was, nobody did more to help their team win than Eli and his 510 game-changing yards.

Running Back: Pierre Thomas, NO (+4.0)

Reggie Bush had more yards, C.J. Spiller had more touchdowns, and Marshawn Lynch broke more tackles rushing. But with an astonishing elusive rating of 717.9 Thomas- who picked up 143 yards from scrimmage while forcing 12 missed tackles- was unmatched when he got his hands on the ball.

Full Back: Evan Rodriguez, CHI (+1.6)

He was only on the field for 12 snaps but Rodriguez continues to impress with his lead blocking duties. Suffice to say it wasn’t the strongest week when it came to fullback play.

Tight End: Vernon Davis, SF (+3.3)

You’d think 157 receiving yards would get you on this team, but some atrocious run blocking kept Brent Celek off. Instead a more rounded display from Vernon Davis that featured three missed tackles and two touchdowns got the nod.

Wide Receivers: Hakeem Nicks, NYG (+4.9) and Percy Harvin, MIN (+4.5)

I’d have no gripes with anyone suggesting that Roddy White, Danny Amendola, Vincent Jackson or Victor Cruz deserved to make the team, but with only two to go in Nicks and Harvin squeezed out the competition. Forcing four missed tackles Harvin is rapidly becoming the only guy Chrsitian Ponder can trust as he hauled in 12-of-13 targeted passes, while Nicks just keeps on making big plays. A dominant, dynamic and diverse duo.

Tackles: Joe Staley, SF (+5.5) and Mitchell Schwartz, CLV (+4.9)

Two players who didn’t have the easiest time of it in Week 1 bounced back in fine fashion. Staley was in dominant form against Kyle Vanden Bosch chiefly, allowing just one hurry to go with some superb work in the run game. The Brown, Schwartz, narrowly edged out fellow rookie Bobby Massie, and will be grateful he doesn’t have to face off with Jason Babin every week.

Guards: Jason Pinkston, CLV (+3.0) and Josh Sitton, GB (+5.0)

Two Browns offensive linemen in the team of the week, and neither is Joe Thomas or Alex Mack? Interesting times. Pinkston was perfect in pass protection with a positive grade n the run game to boot. While Sitton allowed one hurry, he manhandled the smaller Henry Melton for much of the game in a dominant display.

Center: Nick Mangold, NYJ (+4.5)

It’s early days but Mangold has hit the ground running with his 2012 season. The ease at which he moved Casey Hampton was stunning.


Defensive Front 4-3

Defensive Ends: Kamerion Wimbley, TEN (+5.8) and Chandler Jones, NE (+4.7)

No pass rusher quite smells Charger blood like Wimbley. In an outing reminiscent of his demolition of Brandyn Dombrowski in 2011, Wimbley feasted on an undrafted rookie, Mike Harris, to the tune of nine hurries. In New England the reputation of Chandler Jones continues to grow, picking up four more QB disruptions, a forced fumble and impressing in run defense.

Defensive Tackle: Kyle Williams, BUF (+4.4) and Kevin Williams, MIN (+4.3)

There was nearly a spot on this team for Derek Landri, but in the end the opportunity to create our own Williams Wall was too great to pass up on. The relentless Kyle did his best work rushing the passer with two sacks and two hurries, while Kevin was disruptive when the Colts ran. He only had the one tackle, but that stat can’t explain how he had his way with Mike McGlynn, Seth Olsen and anyone who thought it was a good idea to get in his way.

Linebackers: Von Miller, DEN (+7.8), DeMeco Ryans (+5.4) and Chad Greenway, MIN (+5.2)

It’s only Week 2 and I find myself feeling a touch of déjà vu as I wax lyrical about Miller once more. He was a force all over the field on Monday, with his game reaching another level as he becomes more than just a feared pass rusher. On the other side it’s been a while since we’ve seen Greenway look quite that good, but he really turned on it against the Colts. Nobody who saw DeMeco Ryans play would begrudge him his spot on the team, with his work in coverage a particularly highlight and pushed a very fine display from Brandon Spikes out of the spotlight.

Defensive Front 3-4

Defensive Line: J.J. Watt, HOU (+8.8), Kendrick Ellis, NYJ (+2.5) and Cory Redding, IND (+4.1)

If you haven’t watched Watt take over the Texans trip to Jacksonville, then do so. It was a rare display of defensive dominance that doesn’t come along that often. After a strong 2011 it was a surprise there wasn’t more interest in Redding, but there’s no shock that he’s putting in performances like this for Chuck Pagano. Two batted passes and two hurries highlight his impact in the passing game. Ellis was only on the field for 20 snaps but in limited action picked up four positive grades including an impressive tackle for a loss.

Outside Linebackers: Albert McClellan, BLT (+6.1) and Clay Matthews, GB (+4.7)

He might not be the most conventional 3-4 outside linebacker, but consider us impressed with McClellan who is grabbing his opportunity to start with both hands. Six defensives stops in the run game were the highlight, but he showed his rounded play with a pass deflection and two hurries. Matthews added a couple of defensive stops in the run game to a flattering four sacks that owe some to his incredible ability, and a little more to Jay Cutler holding onto the ball too long.

Inside Linebackers: Patrick Willis, SF (+4.3) and Kavell Conner, IND (+3.3)

There’s no surprise to see Willis on any team of the week, with him at his best as the 49ers train getting on chugging along. Detroit tried getting linemen on him at the second level, but he was too good to let that stop him impacting plays. In a week that didn’t feature a great deal of stellar linebacker play, Conner made enough plays with a pass deflection, sack and pressure to earn the selection.

Cornerbacks: Alterraun Verner, TEN (+3.8) and Cortland Finnegan, SL (+3.1)

We’re reuniting a couple of Titans here at cornerback. Finnegan had a pick and gave up just 7 yards in coverage as he continues to look worth the money. The man who has replaced him in the Titans lineup, Verner, has rarely disappointed and while Sunday was disappointing for Tennessee he can feel proud of his days work that included a pick and a pass deflection to go with just 16 yards given up.

Safeties: William Moore, ATL (+3.9) and T.J. Ward, CLV (+3.0)

In a league devoid of playmaking safeties keep an eye on William Moore. His interception, sack and touchdown breakup should have helped him make a name for himself on Monday Night Football. Ward, and in particular his work in run defense, is something that was really missed in Cleveland last year. He’s shown his talent since starting as a rookie.

Special Teams

A nice day from Justin Tucker including two from over 50 … If you’re going to spend a 3rd round pick on a punter then at a minimum they need to be punt the way Bryan Anger did on Sunday … Joe Lefeged led the way with five special teams tackles … Be very careful when kicking to Trindon Holliday who looked good running kicks back on Sunday.


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