PFF Team of Week 8
Week 8's top marks pulled together to form full offensive and defensive lineups as Khaled Elsayed highlights the best at each position.
PFF Team of Week 8
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 8.
(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: Andy Dalton, CIN (+5.2)
It seems only yesterday we were all writing Dalton off after another frustrating performance. Well the third year quarterback has rebounded nicely from an early season slump and this was his best game to date. Bengals fans will be hoping he can keep it up.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Running Back: Eddie Lacy, GB (+2.5)
Others had better numbers but Lacy really worked for those yards to wear the Vikings defense down, and (unlike Andre Ellington) didn’t put the ball on the ground. Such are the margins that you lose a spot on the team doing things like that.
Honorable Mention: Adrian Peterson (MIN)
Fullback: Anthony Sherman, KC (+2.4)
Back to his best after a horrible outing in Week 7. We forgive you Anthony.
Honorable Mention: Jamize Olawale (OAK)
Tight End: Ben Watson, NO (+2.8)
He’ll never be confused with Jimmy Graham as a receiver, but his all round game was on full display as he played a healthy 47 snaps and earned positive grades across the board.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson, DET (+5.9) and Marvin Jones, CIN (+5.7)
Two of the highest grades we’ve ever given any receivers and they both come in the same weekend. Johnson dominated and the only thing holding him back from a record breaking figure was a fumble. Jones incredibly did his damage on just 19 snaps.
Honorable Mention: Jordy Nelson (GB) and Jarrett Boykin (GB)
Tackles: Jordan Gross, CAR (+5.2) and LaAdrian Waddle, DET (+4.8)
There has been talk of this being the last year for Gross in the league and if it he looks set on going out on a high note. Just one hurry allowed and some fine run blocking. Over in Detroit the Lions may have stumbled onto a long term solution as they look to fill the hole created by the departure of Gosder Cherilus. A fine effort from a rookie UDFA.
Honorable Mention: Jake Long (SL) and Zach Strief (NO)
Guards: Evan Mathis, PHI (+4.1) and T.J. Lang, GB (+4.0)
Another appearance on this list for the league’s most consistent linemen in Mathis. It remains eye catching that his performance rarely drops. Lang isn’t getting a lot of press but outside of two poor games he’s stepped up his game since switching to the right side.
Honorable Mention: Rob Sims (DET) and David DeCastro (PIT)
Center: Jeremy Zuttah, TB (+3.4)
Forced to switch back to center, Zuttah proved a big upgrade on Ted Larsen and imposed himself in the running game.
Honorable Mention: Manny Ramirez (DEN)
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 (+6.4) and Jonathan Babineaux, ATL (+5.6)
Two guys from the same game, both making a big impression. I’m not the biggest fan of a defense that has Babineaux operating outside the tackles on occasion, but inside he’s a terror and was a handful especially against the run. As for Campbell he was even better with a sack, two hits, three hurries and two batted passes. Impact player.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Williams (BUF) and Brett Keisel (PIT)
Defensive Interior – Nose: Phil Taylor, CLE (+4.8)
Taylor had to beat out some stiff competition to get the nod here with Dontari Poe unlucky not to get any mention whatsoever. As it is his work in the run game held off all challengers.
Honorable Mention: Marcell Dareus (BUF)
Edge Rushers: Junior Galette, NO (+5.2) and Von Miller, DEN (+6.2)
One player really breaking out in the Saints defense is Galette, and while you’d expect it to be for his pass rushing, it was his run defense here that wowed us. Watch out rest of the league, Miller is back and with a sack, three hits and two hurries, quarterbacks are going to find that out sooner rather than later.
Honorable Mention: Robert Quinn (SL) and Lamarr Houston (OAK)
Linebackers: Derrick Johnson, KC (+4.9) and Daryl Washington, ARZ (+4.2)
When people talk of the best linebackers in the league not enough time is given to Johnson who continues to shine with his ability to make plays in every phase of the game. In Arizona Washington may not be quite as complete as him but he showed his own versatility by matching up with Tony Gonzalez on more than one occasion, getting some pressure on Matt Ryan and getting a pick.
Honorable Mention: Jamari Lattimore (GB) and Vontaze Burflict (CIN)
Cornerbacks: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DEN (+4.9) and Adam Jones, CIN (+3.8)
With Leon Hall out for the foreseeable future the Bengals really need Pacman to step up. Consider him doing do after his one pick and one pass break up day. “DRC” allowed just eight yards into his coverage all day while ending the game with his own interception and two pass break ups.
Honorable Mention: Mike Jenkins (OAK) and Prince Amukamara (NYG)
Safeties: Will Hill, NYG (+3.4) and T.J. Ward, CLE (+4.0)
Hill got the nod to start to combat the high tempo Eagles offense and responded with his best game as a pro. Ward is no newcomer to making Teams of the Week and may well just be the premier in the box safety in the league.
Honorable Mention: Reshad Johnson (ARZ) and George Iloka (CIN)
Kicker, Nick Folk, NYJ: Can you ask much more from a kicker?
Punter, Matt Bosher, ATL: A great day of punting and some nifty work with his onside kicking.
Returner, Cordarelle Patterson, MIN: A danger every time he touches the ball.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled