The Week 11 All-PFF team is heavy with Jaguars players, and why not? The AFC South was supposed to be a three-team race this year, and the only sure thing was that Jacksonville would be the fourth.
Instead, they’re 6-4, and their six standouts from last week — Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jones, Vince Manuwai, Marcedes Lewis, Terrance Knighton and Daryl Smith — would look good on any team’s roster.
Also notable this week is the inclusion of practically the entire Miami front seven. Didn’t they lose, 16-0? Yep, but that wasn’t the defense’s fault.
Quarterback — Matt Ryan, Atlanta (+7.7)
Our leader in the Offensive Player of the Year race, he got there largely on the strength of his great effort in St. Louis last week.
Halfback — Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville (+4.4)
The Jags put two players on last week’s All-PFF team, and they have four on this week’s team — all of whom are stalwarts in the running game.
Fullback — Greg Jones, Jacksonville (+4.2)
See above. Jones plays as many snaps as any fullback, and rests atop our grades at an underperforming position.
Wide receiver — Steve Johnson, Buffalo (+4.6)
He’s had three really spectacular weeks in his past three, none better than his one-man show in Cincinnati.
Wide receiver — Greg Jennings, Green Bay (+3.8)
Jennings’ game grades have been on a slow, steady rise for most of the season after a slow start: In his past five games he’s got 520 yards on 43 targets (an elite 12.1 yards per) and six TDs.
Tight end — Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville (+2.9)
Back-to-back all-around efforts from Lewis, who is showing the form that made him a real breakout player in 2009.
Left tackle — Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (+4.5)
He’s been very streaky this year after a consistent 2009, but his highs have been very high. He’s only allowed 22 total pressures in 447 pass blocks, a very good ratio.
Left guard — Vince Manuwai, Jacksonville (+6.7)
Manuwai is a pretty consistent guy when he’s healthy, but he just destroyed the Browns’ front for Jacksonville and was one of the main reasons they won a game on a four-turnover effort from the QB.
Center — Dan Koppen, New England (+3.9)
This has to be great news for New England fans, who were wondering after a brutal first half whether their veteran center was hitting the end. It always helps to go against the Indy interior, but he was also strong the week before versus Pittsburgh.
Right guard — Josh Sitton, Green Bay (+2.1)
His consistently good season continued against the famed Williams Wall. Sitton for president!
Right tackle — Tyson Clabo, Atlanta (+5.4)
Clabo has shown flashes of Pro Bowl play in the past, but he’s really put it all together this year. Only 14 pressures allowed in 435 pass blocks.
4-3 Defensive Front
Defensive end — Mario Williams, Houston (+7.1)
How frustrating does it have to be for Williams? He has his best game of the year against his toughest opponent (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), and yet again his teammates can do nothing to stop another last-minute loss.
Defensive tackle — Terrance Knighton, Jacksonville (+5.9)
His breakout season reached new heights in the win over Cleveland; a sack, a pressure and five stops is a nice day for any interior lineman.
Defensive tackle — Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay (+4.2)
McCoy reappeared in our Rookie of the Year race for the first time since his great Week 1 performance. He had his second really great game in four weeks, and picked up his first two sacks of the year.
Defensive end — Matt Shaughnessy, Oakland (+6.3)
He’s been as good as anyone over the past six games — he and the rest of the Raiders’ front really played extremely well despite the 35-3 score versus Pittsburgh. He’s our No. 2 4-3 DE against the run this year.
OLB — Ernie Sims, Philadelphia (+2.6)
This is Sims’ second stop on the All-PFF team, which would be great if he didn’t have five negative efforts and three OK ones to go around those two performances .
MLB — Stewart Bradley, Philadelphia (+4.7)
Bradley had four simply awful games to start the season, but his play of late suggests that injuries were holding him back. He was great at everything a middle man is asked to do against the explosive Giants.
OLB — Daryl Smith, Jacksonville (+3.7)
Now this is the Daryl Smith we grew to love so much in 2009. After early struggles, he’s had a run of at least average games capped by a breakout versus Cleveland. His continued good play is going to be huge for the Jags if they want to win the race for the AFC South.
3-4 Defensive Front
Defensive end — Kendal Langford, Miami (+5.9)
The Dolphins’ front seven completely manhandled the Bears in that 16-0 loss that feels so long ago, and Langford was maybe the best of the bunch. But wait, there’s more!
Defensive end — Tony McDaniel, Miami (+5.8)
Langford is a solid player, but nothing in McDaniel’s mediocre career suggested a performance like this off the bench. Again, though, it was against the Bears.
Nose tackle — B.J. Raji, Green Bay (+3.0)
The up-and-down season of Raji continued against Minnesota. He’s had four really good games, four really bad games and two in the middle in his sophomore year.
OLB — Cameron Wake, Miami (+6.3)
Say, what’s that, another guy who went against the Bears? Wake returned to form after two so-so weeks, making his signature big plays and augmenting them with excellent run discipline.
ILB — Bart Scott, New York Jets (+4.2)
He didn’t show up on the stat sheet much (four tackles), but Scott has been a consistent stabilizing force for the Jets all year and the leader vs. the run.
ILB — Takeo Spikes, San Francisco (+3.4)
Give it up for the veterans. Joining the 30-year-old Scott in the middle is the 33-year-old Spikes, who has been brilliant in three years with San Francisco.
OLB — Koa Misi, Miami (+4.8)
Hitting the rookie wall? There’s no greater cure than playing against the Bears’ offensive line. Misi had one QB pressure in his three previous games before picking up five versus the Bears.
Cornerback — Chris Carr, Baltimore (+2.3)
Carr has really been a good find for the Ravens — his coverage has been more than acceptable all year, and he’s only had one bad effort against the run.
Free safety — Usama Young, New Orleans (+2.8)
Nothing in Young’s past suggested he was capable of such an effort, but thrust into the starting lineup, he had a very good game versus Seattle. He’s not going to be on this team often, but he’s definitely a nice supporting player for the Saints.
Strong safety — Abram Elam, Cleveland (+3.0)
Elam had the two best games of his Cleveland career back-to-back, but back-to-back heartbreaking losses put a damper on things.
Cornerback — Tramon Williams, Green Bay (+3.5)
Everyone knew the Packers had a shutdown corner, but it was supposed to be Charles Woodson, not Williams. Teams are averaging less than 5 yards a pass when targeting him this year, with four INTs in 62 targets.