PFF Team of Week 7
Each week the staff at Pro Football Focus watches over a combined 400 hours of football to ensure we know who the best players are. It makes us the premier outfit in player evaluation, used by NFL teams and fans alike to understand which guys are getting the job done and which guys aren’t.
It’s with this knowledge we can put out our Team of the Week, going beyond the box scores and the highlight reel plays to see who were the best players on every play of every game.
Here’s the Team of Week 7.
(Note: Team will be updated after Monday Night Football games are analyzed and on Wednesday when All-22 footage helps us study plays in even more detail where needed with an asterisk noting any change.)
Quarterback: Sam Bradford, SL (+5.5)
What a shame for Bradford who put in one the better performances in his career before his season was prematurely ended. That sums up his luck to a degree.
Honorable Mention: Russell Wilson (SEA)
Running Back: Marshawn Lynch, SEA (+2.9)
In breaking eight tackles Lynch entered “Beast Mode” on more than a few occasions. After a slow start to the year he’s really found his rhythm to overcome some line issues.
Honorable Mention: Frank Gore (SF)
Fullback: Bruce Miller, SF (+0.2)
The grade doesn’t lie. This wasn’t a classic week for fullback play, but credit to Miller for logging 55 snaps. Don’t see a fullback do that very often.
Honorable Mention: Richard Brockel (CAR)
Tight End: Jordan Reed, WAS (+4.8)
There’s something about the rookie isn’t there? The third-round pick is starting to make a big impression in the passing game and ended the day with 134 yards and a touchdown.
Honorable Mention: Rob Gronkowski (NE)
Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson, DET (+4.0) and Wes Welker, DEN (+3.8)
He’s back. Johnson looked as Megatron-like as possible in collecting 155 yards and two touchdowns in a dominant display. Welker operates differently but was at his chain moving best with seven receptions for 96 yards.
Honorable Mention: A.J. Green (CIN) and Anquan Boldin (SF)
Tackles: Joe Thomas, CLE (+4.0) and Austin Pasztor, JAX (+3.6)
There are few things certain in life. One of them is that Joe Thomas is going to show up on a Sunday and deliver as he always does. Perfect in pass protection the only blot on his game was a penalty. As for Pasztor he’s come in and performed far better than even the Jaguars probably expected with only a single hurry allowed vs. the Chargers.
Honorable Mention: Jason Peters (PHI) and Gosder Cherilus (IND)
Guards: Andy Levitre, TEN (+4.3) and Marshal Yanda, BAL (+3.9)
That was more like it from Levitre. He’s been a disappointment relative to how much he is being paid but if he can maintain this level of play those feelings will fade. In a similar respect Yanda hasn’t delivered based on what we’ve seen from him in years gone by but was back to his best for the battle with Pittsburgh.
Honorable Mention: Travelle Wharton (CAR) and David DeCastro (PIT)
Center: Scott Wells, STL (+4.1)
Since being manhandled by Glenn Dorsey, Wells has bounced back with some of the best play of his career. Long may he keep it up.
Honorable Mention: Jason Kelce (PHI)
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: J.J. Watt, HOU (+9.2) and Randy Starks, MIA (+7.1)
Not an easy choice with some sublime play. Watt was the slam dunk pick as he got back on track with a blistering showing against the Chiefs that included a sack, hit, two hurries and a batted pass (and some excellent work against the run). It was close between Starks and Jason Hatcher but in the end the Dolphin squeezed in based on earning his grade in 11 fewer snaps.
Honorable Mention: Jason Hatcher (DAL) and Muhammad Wilkerson (NYJ)
Defensive Interior – Nose: Joe Vellano, NE (+3.5)
After a slow start Vellano is really starting to find his feet in the NFL. He ended the day with six defensive stops against the run as he tries to minimize the impact of the team losing Vince Wilfork.
Honorable Mention: Marcell Dareus (BUF)
Edge Rushers: Robert Mathis, IND (+6.4) and Mario Williams, BUF (+5.0)
And so continues the extremely impressive year of Mathis. He made game changing plays as he finished with two sacks, two hits and a hurry, while his work in the run game was eye-catching as well. For Williams, he’ll be happy to not only have ended with seven quarterback disruptions (as he picked up his highest grade of the year) but also the game changing play.
Honorable Mention: Von Miller (DEN) and Ryan Kerrigan (WAS)
Linebackers: Sean Lee, DAL (+3.8) and Lavonte David, TB (+5.0)
You won’t see too many linebackers flying around the field like David did on Sunday as he picked up 10 defensive stops including three tackles for a loss. Lee made the cut based on his work in coverage that included a pick and a pass break up.
Honorable Mention: Malcolm Smith (SEA) and Brian Cushing (HOU)
Cornerbacks: Vontae Davis, IND (+7.9) and Richard Sherman, SEA (+4.5)
The highest grade we’d ever given to a cornerback before the Broncos fell to the Colts was a +7.3. Well, now Davis is the owner of that mark as he entered shutdown mode. It puts the play of Sherman (two pass break ups) in his shadow but don’t discount what he was able to do.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Browner (SEA) and Davon House (GB)
Safeties: Devin McCourty, NE (+5.0) and William Moore, ATL (+3.5)
Not much gets said about McCourty but he’s a safety who you only notice for the good things and that is a very rare quality. Moore is a different type of player and showed it against the Bucs with a more visible contribution and some big hits.
Honorable Mention: Earl Thomas (SEA) and Kam Chancellor (SEA)
Kicker, Mike Nugent, CIN: He may have missed one but he more than redeemed himself with a game winner from over 50.
Punter, Pat McAfee, IND: And this doesn’t even take into account the big hit on the sidelines!
Returner, Julian Edelman, NE: It was the consistency of Edelman that got him the nod over the one special play from Devin Hester set up by excellent blocking.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled