All-PFF Team, Week 4

| October 6, 2011

Ah, if only they could scrimmage. Pitting this offensive group against this defense would provide an afternoon of outstanding football. The offensive line alone would scare mortal D’s into surrendering yards and these two defensive fronts could wrap up a win simply by stepping off the bus.
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A host of veteran performers is sprinkled with some rookie flavor to form the All-PFF Team for Week 4. The best of the best from quarterback to safety, here are some of the top individuals at each position as we saw it this week:
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OFFENSE
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Quarterback: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (+8.2)
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Has already made the Panthers relevant again with some incredible performances, but this was his best yet. Picked up a couple of touchdowns to go with his 374 yards and managed to lead all quarterbacks with five completions of 20 yards or more. Simply outstanding so far.
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Running Back: Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (+3.8)
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205 yards on the ground. 106 of those after contact. Forte is a running back at the top of his game right now, keeping the Bears offense ticking. Now, will Mike Martz keep faith in him?
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Fullback: Bruce Miller, San Francisco 49ers (+2.9)
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A first appearance for the 49ers’ rookie. They could be onto something given his lead blocking against an Eagles team that fullbacks tend to play well against. Maybe it’s something to do with their linebackers …
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Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions (+3.0)
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Remember when they said Brandon Pettigrew would be NFL-ready? They were wrong. But two years later he’s starting to really show up, and quietly had a very good day against the Cowboys.
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Wide Receivers: Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (+3.5) and Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos (+4.4)
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Both men just held off strong challengers from Steve Smith and Wes Welker with two incredible performances. Lloyd was practically uncoverable, making Sam Shields and Tramon Williams look very average on his way to 136 yards. The numbers really don’t tell the whole story as he made some excellent grabs, and was underthrown numerous times. Nicks broke two tackles, picked up a touchdown, and finished the day with 162 yards. Just another day for the Giants receiver.
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Tackles: Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati Bengals (+3.7) and Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys (+4.8)
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Is there a better left tackle in football than Andrew Whitworth right now? Just the one pressure allowed in the Bengals come from behind win over the Bills. The rookie Smith had his best day as a pro, even after giving up that sack. Very encouraging.
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Guards: Richie Incognito, Miami Dolphins (+2.4) and Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens (+3.4)
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Incognito has a bit of the bully in him and Miami took full advantage in Week 4. Get the big man pulling and meeting those smaller guys head on. He did so on numerous occasions and there was only ever going to be one winner. Yanda playing well is predictable – perfect in pass pro and positive with his run blocking. Yawn.
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Center: Chris Myers, Houston Texans (+3.8)
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You may not want to believe it but there isn’t another center in the league playing close to as well as Chris Myers. An All-Pro type year continued with another superb display against a Steelers team that tend to make life tough for centers. Not for Myers in this form.
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DEFENSE
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Defensive Ends (4-3): Michael Bennett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+11.5) and Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bengals (+6.1)
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Am I skirting the rules to have two guys who play predominantly on the left? Maybe, but both men earned a spot on this team. The Bucs’ Bennett had a career day, picking up five total pressures (including two sacks) and creating havoc in the run game with a +6.6 rating in this regard. Dunlap is responding well to more action with a season-high 39 snaps. Still, could he not do with some more action? Five QB pressures say so.
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Defensive Tackle (4-3): Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.8) and Kevin Williams, Minnesota Vikings (+3.8)
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It wasn’t the sack and two pressures that earned McCoy this spot. It was what he did to the Colts’ run game, constantly disrupting it. It’s good to see Kevin Williams back doing what he does best, making life extremely hard for the entire Chiefs interior line.
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Linebackers (4-3): Will Witherspoon, Tennessee Titans (+5.1), Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (+5.2) and Von Miller, Denver Broncos (+4.8)
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Colt McCoy went after Witherspoon 11 times, and he picked up just 47 yards as Witherspoon broke up three passes and closed quickly on the others. Miller spent most of his game against Green Bay with his hand in the ground on his way to two sacks, a hit and a pressure. Lewis continued his excellent start to the season, coming up to make three defensive stops and giving up just 7 yards on the four balls thrown his way. Still got it.
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Defensive Line (3-4): Darnell Dockett, Arizona Cardinals (+6.6), Barry Cofield, Washington Redskins (+2.5) and Antonio Smith, Houston Texans (+3.7)
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Dockett hasn’t always been the most consistent player in the league, but he’s always flashed his talent. The Giants couldn’t handle him as he made his presence felt on a four-pressure day. The Texans’ Smith may be the biggest winner with their switch to the 3-4, wreaking havoc to the tune of a sack and five hurries. Week four was where the Redskins started to see some of their investment in Cofield repaid. Now if only he got to play against the Rams every week.
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Outside Linebackers (3-4): Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs (+7.4) and Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins (+6.9)
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Our two terrors off the edge combined for five sacks, two more hits and 13 pressures. That’s scary.
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Inside Linebackers (3-4): Bart Scott, New York Jets (+6.5) and Paris Lenon, Arizona Cardinals (+2.8)
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He’s not everyone’s idea of how a linebacker should be, but how can he not be when he plays like this? Not only did he come up big in the run game as per normal, he also put three hits on Joe Flacco in very limited blitzing. The Cardinals’ Lenon hasn’t often made this team, but he earned his spot in a week that wasn’t filled with stand-out performances.
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Cornerbacks: Patrick Robinson, New Orleans Saints (+4.2) and Lardarius Webb, Baltimore Ravens (+2.3)
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The Saints’ RCB didn’t allow a single reception, but did manage to pick off one ball and nearly get another. More Blaine Gabbert, please. Webb will be happy with his day of one pick and one reception allowed. As with Robinson, quarterbacks had a 0.0 QB rating when throwing at him.
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Safeties: Darian Stewart, St Louis Rams (+4.0) and Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers (+3.5)
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One week after making the “Had a Bad Day” team, Stewart steps up with a much-improved performance, breaking up both balls where he was the primary man in coverage. Weddle managed to intercept one, and have another taken away from him, but it was his positioning that was key against the Dolphins.
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SPECIAL TEAMS
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Ryan Succop (+5.2) picked up four touchbacks and was perfect with his kicking (including two from 50+) … Texan Brett Hartmann (+2.7) did a nice job with his punting against the Steelers … Is anybody surprised Devin Hester (+2.2) makes this team after another return touchdown … Rashad Johnson and Curtis Brown led the league with three special teams tackles for the week.
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Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled … and be sure to follow our main Twitter feed: @ProFootbalFocus . .
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