All-Star Team of the Week: Week 2
That’s Week 2 with the exception of Monday Night Football in the bag and it’s already starting to feel like football never left! There’s just 15 weeks left, though, and that will pass quickly so opportunities to make our All-Star Team of the Week roster will come and go in a flash.
But before we look too far into the future, let’s take the time to highlight the second Team of the Week of 2014. (note – if any grades are altered slightly after our All-22 review process, they will be updated here.)
(Note: Updated since All-22 review completed)
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, GB (+4.1)
Bouncing back from an opening week loss to the defending Super Bowl champions, Rodgers lead the Packers to their first win in 2014, pipping Philip Rivers to this spot as he did.
Honorable Mention: Philip Rivers, SD
Running Back: Darren Sproles, PHI (+2.9)
Sproles was the difference maker as the Eagles picked up the win on the road on Monday night, showing how important a part of their offense he is going to be this year.
Honorable Mention: Damien Williams, MIA
Fullback: Tommy Bohanon, NYJ (+0.9)
It wasn’t a great week for players at the position, but Bohanon finished with a positive grade and edged out several other lead blockers.
Honorable Mention: Marcel Reece, OAK
Tight End: Jimmy Graham, NO (+4.7)
Two big touchdowns and an impressive showing might not have been enough to give the Saints the win in Cleveland, but it did earn Graham his spot here.
Honorable Mention: Niles Paul, WAS
Wide Receivers: Jordy Nelson, GB (+4.5) and Sammy Watkins, BUF (+3.1)
With 209 yards and three missed tackles forced, Nelson was the best receiver we saw on Sunday, but the emergence of Watkins is a bigger story. Looking every bit the player the Bills thought they were getting when they drafted him, he gave fans plenty of reasons to get excited.
Honorable Mentions: Demaryius Thomas, DEN and Eric Decker, NYJ
Tackles: William Beatty, NYG (+3.4) and Joe Barksdale, STL (+4.5)
Bouncing back from a below average Week 1, Beatty was nearly perfect in pass protection, allowing just the single hurry from 46 pass blocking snaps. Barksdale didn’t allow a single pressure on the right side, but also added some impressive play as a run blocker.
Honorable Mentions: Eugene Monroe, BAL and Ju’wuan James, MIA
Guards: Josh Sitton, GB (+3.3) and Jahri Evans, NO (+3.7)
A better weekend for right guards than their partners on the left, but a perfect day in pass protection saw Saffold get the nod on the left. On the right Evans looked good both in pass protection and as a run blocker.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Sitton, GB and Louis Vasquez, DEN
Center: Nick Mangold, NYJ (+3.0)
A strong showing from Mangold put him well in front of any other center in the league this week as the long term Jets player didn’t allow any pressure while standing out against the run.
Honorable Mention: Brian De La Puente, CHI
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles) and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: Calais Campbell, ARZ (+5.7) and Mike Daniels, GB (+4.1)
Daniels was the more balanced of the two but both made life miserable for opposing offensive linemen in Week 2, with Campbell responsible for nine defensive stops on his own.
Honorable Mentions: Earl Mitchell, MIA
Defensive Interior – Nose: Paul Soliai, ATL (+3.0)
With a showing that gave the Falcons what they expected from him when they signed him, Soliai was solid against the run on the road in Cincinnati.
Honorable Mention: Pat Sims, OAK
Edge Rushers: Chandler Jones, NE (+9.0) and Tyrone Crawford, DAL (+5.8)
Jones played in an interior role a week ago and struggled, but back on the edge this week he shone, registering two sacks and five hurries. Crawford did his damage on a limited snap count with five total pressures from 22 pass rushing attempts.
Honorable Mentions: Khalil Mack, OAK and Julius Peppers, GB
Linebackers: Patrick Willis, SF (+3.0) and DeMeco Ryans, PHI (+3.1)
Taking a spot he’s become all too familiar with over the years, Willis made some nice plays in coverage to find himself tied as our second highest-graded inside linebacker in Week 2 so far. He’s pipped to the post only by Ryans, who had the best game of any inside linebacker in Week 2 in the win on Monday night.
Honorable Mentions: Luke Kuechly, CAR and DeAndre Levy, DET
Cornerbacks: Leon Hall, CIN (+4.1) and Terence Newman, CIN (+3.5)
Allowing just 31 yards in coverage while picking off one pass and breaking up another saw Hall seal his place here. He’s joined by teammate Newman, who helped form a formidable duo against Atlanta on Sunday.
Honorable Mentions: Terence Newman, CIN and Chris Harris Jr., DEN
Safeties: Josh Evans, JAX (+2.8) and Antoine Bethea, SF (+2.5)
A strong showing from Evans for the Jaguars saw him land this spot over Cleveland’s Tashaun Gipson. Bethea on the hand has slotted right into place in San Francisco as Donte Whitner’s replacement at strong safety.
Honorable Mentions: Tashaun Gipson, CLE and D.J. Swearinger, HOU
Kicker: Graham Gano, CAR: 3-for-3 on field goals, one from 50+, and five of his six kickoffs resulting in a touchback? That’ll do it.
Punter: Pat McAfee, IND: Simply put, one of the best performances you’ll see from a punter all year. Four punts, two inside the 20, and an average of 55.3 yards per punt. Nice work.
Returner: Ted Ginn, ARZ: That impressive 71 yard punt return is what separated Ginn from the rest of the pack this week.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon