I'm not much on fancy, well-written introductions and lead-ins during the season. And I doubt many of you read this feature hoping to find flowery prose. That's my way of saying I'm just going to get on with it.
Thanks to those of you who have been loyal readers over the years. This feature won't change much this year. If you're new to the inseason columns, welcome. I'll be transitioning from tiers and draft strategy -- though there will still be tiers featured in the coming weeks -- to team-by-team notes, every-down linebacker tables and discussion, and film study of IDP breakouts and disappointments. Those three elements will be a part of the RTD every week. There will also be a healthy dose of the usual metrics -- tackle opportunity, run-pass ratios, stat crew trends -- and more.
When I first began writing this feature years ago, schemes and position were a key part of IDP analysis. They still are. But, back then, there were fewer subpackage snaps and hardly any platoon situations at linebacker. Teams played a base defense -- then usually a 4-3 -- about 65-70% of the time. When they substituted on passing downs, it was almost always to a standard 4-2-5, with a cornerback replacing the strong side linebacker.
That doesn't happen anymore. Teams play a minority of their snaps in the base defense, sometimes as little as 20-25% of their snaps. Those base snaps are multiple fronts, with players switching responsibilities from one snap to the next. The subpackages are more varied than ever. 14-17 defenders may play at least 30-40% of their team's defensive snaps in any given game.
So, over the past few seasons, snap count has become all-important to IDP value. And while there are rotations along every defensive line and substitution patterns of note in the secondary, knowing each team's every-down linebackers has become a key piece of analysis to any successful IDP roster strategy.
I've been producing this table in the IDP Forum for many years. This year, I'm adding it to the weekly RTD. There will be a set of brief notes after the table each week, with extended discussion in the team-by-team notes section to follow.
NOTE: Those listed as every-down in italics are injury replacements who won't be every-down players when injured players return.
|TEAM||EVERY-DOWN LBs||75-100% SNAPS||INJ | SUSP|
|ATLANTA||PAUL WORRILOW||KROY BIERMANN|
|BALTIMORE||DARYL SMITH, C.J. MOSLEY||TERRELL SUGGS|
|BUFFALO||PRESTON BROWN||NIGEL BRADHAM|
|CAROLINA||LUKE KUECHLY, THOMAS DAVIS|
|CINCINNATI||EMMANUEL LAMUR, VINNY REY||VONTAZE BURFICT|
|CLEVELAND||KARLOS DANSBY, PAUL KRUGER, JABAAL SHEARD||BARKEVIOUS MINGO|
|DALLAS||ROLANDO MCCLAIN, BRUCE CARTER|
|DENVER||BRANDON MARSHALL||VON MILLER||DANNY TREVATHAN|
|DETROIT||STEPHEN TULLOCH, DEANDRE LEVY|
|GREEN BAY||A.J. HAWK, CLAY MATTHEWS||JULIUS PEPPERS||? BRAD JONES|
|HOUSTON||BROOKS REED, WHITNEY MERCILUS||BRIAN CUSHING, JADEVEON CLOWNEY|
|INDIANAPOLIS||D'QWELL JACKSON||JOSH MCNARY, ERIK WALDEN||JERRELL FREEMAN|
|KANSAS CITY||JUSTIN HOUSTON, TAMBA HALI, JOSH MAUGA||JAMES-MICHAEL JOHNSON||JOE MAYS|
|MIAMI||JELANI JENKINS, JASON TRUSNIK||KOA MISI, ? PHILIP WHEELER|
|MINNESOTA||CHAD GREENWAY, ANTHONY BARR|
|NEW ENGLAND||JEROD MAYO, CHANDLER JONES, ROB NINKOVICH, ? DONTA HIGHTOWER||JAMIE COLLINS|
|NEW ORLEANS||CURTIS LOFTON, JUNIOR GALETTE||DAVID HAWTHORNE|
|NEW YORK GIANTS||JACQUIAN WILLIAMS, ? JAMEEL MCCLAIN||JON BEASON|
|NEW YORK JETS||DAVID HARRIS, DEMARIO DAVIS, CALVIN PACE||QUINTON COPLES|
|OAKLAND||SIO MOORE, MILES BURRIS||NICK ROACH|
|PHILADELPHIA||MYCHAL KENDRICKS, DEMECO RYANS||TRENT COLE, CONNOR BARWIN|
|PITTSBURGH||LAWRENCE TIMMONS, RYAN SHAZIER, JASON WORILDS, JARVIS JONES|
|ST. LOUIS||JAMES LAURINAITIS, ALEC OGLETREE|
|SAN DIEGO||DONALD BUTLER|
|SAN FRANCISCO||PATRICK WILLIS, MICHAEL WILHOITE||AHMAD BROOKS||NAVORRO BOWMAN, ALDON SMITH|
|SEATTLE||BOBBY WAGNER||K.J. WRIGHT|
|TAMPA BAY||LAVONTE DAVID||MASON FOSTER|
|TENNESSEE||WESLEY WOODYARD, DERRICK MORGAN|
|WASHINGTON||PERRY RILEY, KEENAN ROBINSON, BRIAN ORAKPO, RYAN KERRIGAN|
You'll find a little of everything here. Mostly, I'll be noting depth chart changes and analyzing any scheme or role changes from the previous week's games. I'll also use this section to take an in-depth look at why certain players may be over- or under-performing. I'll try to get through every team each week as often as possible.
Your patience with Calais Campbell was rewarded last week. His 10-0-1 line made up for last week's disappointment and then some. Although John Abraham is reportedly going to return this week -- and your guess is as good as mine how he's been cleared to return to play despite ongoing memory loss issues -- Campbell is the only pass rusher the Cardinals have. If you're in a scoring system that skews sack-heavy in any way, I'd think hard about looking to convert him into a more stable option. Offenses will game plan for him all season long.
Tyrann Mathieu played five snaps in his return to the field. He's at least another week away from returning to the lineup in anything close to a full time role.
Joplo Bartu had eight solos against Cincinnati but the news isn't all rosy. Prince Shembo, who the coaches trusted with ten snaps in Week 1 after continually looking for ways to get him on the field in the preseason, played 30 snaps in Week 2. Shembo had six tackles (four assists) on his own. This platoon is likely to continue. Be very careful with Bartu in lineups right now. If you haven't moved on Shembo in deep dynasty leagues (i.e. roster 6+ linebackers), do so this week.
Terrell Suggs put up another frustrating stat line against a usually strong Pittsburgh matchup. It's two weeks in a row without a sack and a disturbing trend. The Steelers didn't give their tackles much help and Suggs was relatively easily handled. It's hard to know how likely the trend will continue, however. Suggs still showed a good first step and good athleticism. But his speed rush wasn't working and he never showed a viable counter move. It's an easily made adjustment and one I'll be watching for in the coming weeks. Matt Elam's 5-5 week was impressive in the face of just 18 rush attempts (and 42 total tackle opportunities), but recognize that he won't be awarded five assists in most games.
Nigel Bradham returned to the lineup and played well. The Bills primarily used a dime subpackage against the Dolphins, however, and it was Preston Brown who remained on the field every down. That cost Bradham 10-15 snaps and sunk the prospects of Brandon Spikes, who saw no subpackage duty and played only 15 snaps total.
If you haven't been on the Spikes rollercoaster in previous seasons, welcome aboard. Spikes looked like the best every-down bet as the season started, but found himself on the injury report with his balky knee heading into Week 1. The Bills used Brown as their every-down player and he played well enough -- continuing the strong coverage he'd shown during the preseason -- to keep Spikes sidelined in Week 2, a week in which he was no longer on the injury report. Brown is on the verge of burying Keith Rivers, who remains out with a groin injury, on the depth chart. And Brown may have permanently passed Spikes on the nickel depth chart. There's lots of value in Brown right now. If he sticks in his current role, he's a LB2+ for the foreseeable future.
The off-field issues tearing the league apart right now are predominantly on the offensive side of the ball. Greg Hardy is the very notable exception. A late and unexpected gameday inactive due to domestic violence allegations, Hardy's Week 3 status is still unknown. But you should prepare for this to be an indefinite absence. Wes Horton and Mario Addison rotated heavily in Hardy's place in Week 2. Addison is the only fantasy relevant play for now. Kony Ealy surprisingly saw 30 snaps but needs a lot of developmental time before he'll be productive. With Frank Alexander returning from a four game suspension soon, Ealy isn't likely to carve out much of a role.
Ron Rivera hinted that Charles Godfrey would continue to platoon with Roman Harper and take the majority of the subpackage snaps in his Monday press conference after Week 1. So much for that. The Panthers were in a subpackage on 57 snaps against Detroit. Harper played 65 snaps and Godfrey just seven. So, while Harper's stat line wasn't any better in Week 2, the trend in snap count is strongly positive. With Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis playing in front of him, though, Harper's value will remain capped.
I recommended grabbing Lamarr Houston last week and I'm sticking to my guns. The pass rush is still there and the sacks will come. The tackle stats are the worry. See if things improve against the Jets. If so, he can be returned to lineups. If not, he may be waiver wire fodder.
Charles Tillman unfortunately tore his triceps muscle again and will miss the rest of the season. It may also be the end of his career. Those of us who have been playing in IDP leagues for 10 years or longer appreciate the extreme consistency Tillman brought to the cornerback position. He'd be a first ballot IDP Hall of Famer. Kyle Fuller -- who would've been my top IDP corner just ahead of Jason Verrett -- will replace him. You saw a sense of what Fuller can be on Sunday night. Elite ball skills and zone awareness, mixed with a willingness to support the run. That's the recipe for a stud fantasy corner. Don't hesitate to snap him up in all formats.
Vontaze Burfict left last week's game twice with possible concussion symptoms. He was cleared to return after the first concern, then ruled out -- albeit with what the team called a stinger -- after the second instance. There were multiple indicators Burfict's injury may be another concussion. This would be his third since midseason 2013 and second in two weeks. I think it's extremely unlikely Burfict will be cleared to play in Week 3, especially with the Bengals' bye coming in Week 4. His absence could extend after the bye if he has suffered another concussion.
In Burfict's place would be Vinny Rey, who was briefly a darling of IDP owners last year after a short run as an every-down middle linebacker. Rey will play every down if he's in there for Burfict, but don't overreact. Emmanuel Lamur will see the most value if Burfict can't go.
Carlos Dunlap is showing signs he's finally found the key to weekly consistency. He was on the injury report with a hamstring concern early last week, but recovered to play 56 of 68 snaps and was in Matt Ryan's face all day. He's on the verge of joining the elite defensive end tier. Geno Atkins is close. His burst and acceleration and stamina aren't there yet, but he's playing two-thirds of the defensive snaps.
I wrote last week that the division of snaps between Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson was probably deceiving. Though it wasn't easily decipherable, it felt like Kirksey's heavy usage over Robertson was more game plan and package driven than a sign that the rookie was on the verge of an every down role. In Week 2, Kirksey played 40 snaps, Robertson was on the field for 22. Kirksey is still struggling to shed blocks and will have to improve to push Robertson aside permanently. Be patient here, but recognize that Kirksey never showed the skill set that would support elite numbers in Mike Pettine's scheme. It may take a year of coaching and in-game seasoning to get there.
Last week, I wrote about Rolando McClain's strong all-around play and suggested it might not be long before the Cowboys put him in subpackages. That happened in Week 2. I didn't think McClain was quite as good last week, but he's clearly the team's best linebacker right now. I have concerns about his durability and the potential that his newfound coverage ability may turn back into a pumpkin before Halloween, but ride the production wave while you can.
A better than expected statistical effort from a base-only middle linebacker will be a theme of this week's column. Nate Irving is one of at least four backers that fit the profile. Irving will always do well in a heavy between-the-tackles game. That's what the Chiefs (31 rush attempts, forcing the Broncos into a nickel package on just 15 of 86 snaps) provided the Denver defense last week. Don't overreact to Irving's big day. Brandon Marshall is still the primary every-down linebacker.
It's time to watch T.J. Ward's trend carefully. Ward finished sixth on the team in tackles this week despite his primo defensive role. Over the years, we've learned that players who don't shake a concerning early season trend by Week 4 often carry their disappointing statistical weeks through the season.
DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch are playing at a higher level than ever. For now, both can be considered LB2+ plays, but if the Lions get on a roll, the front seven is strong enough to depress their own tackle opportunity. Those excited about Tahir Whitehead's strong play and insertion into the starting lineup are seeing why defensive role and snap count are all-important. It's just too hard to put up numbers as a base-only strong side linebacker. Whitehead played 8 of 62 snaps in Week 1 and 23 of 67 snaps in Week 2. Without an injury to Tulloch or Levy, Whitehead just won't get the playing time to support fantasy value.
Brad Jones missed last week's game with his quad strain. There were rumblings throughout the Green Bay media that the team could use this as a tipping point to move Jamari Lattimore into the lineup long term. It's too soon to say anything for certain, but Lattimore had a solid outing and it's likely Jones will miss at least another week with the quad strain.
A.J. Hawk played every down while Lattimore missed 12 of 71 snaps. That's not the whole story, though. Dom Capers is clearly looking for answers -- both in run defense and pass rush -- and used lots of different fronts against the Jets. In particular, there were lots of underfronts with an Elephant rusher. Two notable things there. First, Clay Matthews and Juliius Peppers were sometimes on the same side of the field, with Peppers in a three point stance. Second, and maybe most important for fantasy purposes, was Mike Daniels aligning in a 3-technique role often. That's a potentially dominant role for hiim and his 5-0-1 role in 67% of his team's snaps is going to pop on film.
Finally, the front seven didn't come off the field against many of the Jets' multi-wide receiver sets. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix replaced and rotated with Micah Hyde much more often than last week. It's not evident from Clinton-Dix's goose egg, but the rookie got 56 snaps to Hyde's 22.
Mike Mohammed continues to replace Brian Cushing on nickel downs. Wait this one out, it'll break back in Cushing's favor soon. Cushing has too much pass rush ability to keep off the field in passing situations. Whitney Mercilus was back on the field every down with Jadeveon Clowney out after knee surgery.
D.J. Swearinger Sr's day ended early after he suffered a hyperextended elbow. He sounded optimistic after the game, but watch his practice notes closely this week. There's not a viable fantasy target behind him on the depth chart.
The Colts have been quiet with injury information since Chuck Pagano took over, so we're still in the dark about the severity of Jerrell Freeman's hamstring strain. Josh McNary was billed as a very athletic linebacker with projectable coverage skill by the team. I didn't see it in his preseason play and limited inseason snaps, but I was willing to be impressed. It's hard to knock a guy for looking bad against the likes of Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy, but McNary isn't inspiring.
Josh Evans put up Johnathan Cyprien numbers last week. If Cyprien remains out with concussion symptoms, Evans will again be a good start this week. Don't expect 14 tackles against Indianapolis, however. The Jaguars' home stat crew isn't as friendly with assists and there's very little chance the Jacksonville defense will get the ridiculously high 69 tackle opportunities and 42 rushing attempts they did against Washington.
Dakoda Watson made his first appearance in Week 2. That makes the Jacksonville linebacker rotation five deep, with Watson and LaRoy Reynolds rotating and Telvin Smith Sr and Geno Hayes rotating. Watch the Reynolds-Watson situation closely. That could break in Watson's favor soon, especially if he's ready to start seeing more pass rush duty.
More bad news for the Chiefs. Eric Berry left last week's game with an ankle sprain and may not be able to play in Week 3. Ron Parker replaced him and played mostly in coverage. His seven tackles led the Chiefs. Josh Mauga remained an every-down linebacker this week, but James-Michael Johnson played more snaps than expected due to the injuries to the back seven. I'd still watch Johnson very closely. He may not pay off big until Joe Mays replaces Josh Mauga later this season, but I think the opportunity is coming.
Don't sweat the relative quiet from Justin Houston and Tamba Hali last week. Peyton Manning is a very difficult sack, especially when he drops back just 26 times and the bulk of his passes are a variety of wide reciever screens.
I was surprised this offseason when Jelani Jenkins didn't put much pressure on Philip Wheeler for playing time at outside linebacker. Jenkins had begun to cut into Wheeler's time in the final weeks of 2013. He was very good in coverage and more than held his own against the run. I wrote last week that Jenkins would likely get an every-down shot with Dannell Ellerbe out for the season and might be the best of the injury replacement targets from Week 1. His 8-5 stat line was helped by a few extra assists awarded by the favorable Buffalo stat crew, but he was impressive.
With Koa Misi possibly returning soon and Philip Wheeler closer to full health, it's not certain how the Dolphins will align at linebacker. But Jenkins will stick at weak side linebacker for Ellerbe and should see nickel snaps, too. Jason Trusnik is a temporary replacement for Misi, but played in the nickel over Wheeler in Week 2. He's worth a spot LB3/LB4 start if Misi misses another week.
It's disappointing that Seantrel Henderson held Cameron Wake in check last week. Wake had his moments, however, and I think it's safe to chalk this up to an unexpectedly strong week from Henderson. Stick with Wake.
It's a week for linebacker mirages. Jasper Brinkley led the Vikings with a 8-3 line. His defensive role didn't change; he's still a base middle backer only. Brinkley, always a reasonable between the tackles player, took advantage of the 37-15 run-pass split from the Patriots' offense in Week 2. 29 of those rush attempts were from straight-ahead backs Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden. Don't look for a repeat performance from Brinkley anytime soon.
The reports coming from Minnesota during pre-game warmups were frightening. New England beat writers were noting Chandler Jones was not only continuing to line up at 3-4 defensive end, he was seeing time at nose tackle in some packages. That was enough to scare me off using him in some situations and I'm sure some of you who follow me on Twitter may have done the same. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, as Jones saw nearly all of his snaps as a 3-4 outside linebacker. The improvement in his stat line to his usually impressive 6-2-2 is no coincidence.
Jones may not stay at outside linebacker, however. It's likely he moved off the line due to the midweek quad strain Jamie Collins Sr suffered. As usual, there hasn't been much information reported on Collins' status. We'll know more after Wednesday's practice participation report.
There were some indicators that Dominique Easley could take over the 5-technique role from Chandler Jones. He's not a great fit there, however, so it's not a major surprise the Pats turned to a healthy Chris Jones and Vince Wilfork as their ends. Easley should continue to be a subpackage pass rusher.
Joplo Bartu deceivingly led his team with eight solos in a rotational role. The same can be said for David Hawthorne, whose nine tackles led the Saints in Week 2, despite sitting on 21 of his team's 75 snaps. Ramon Humber continues to see time in subpackages. Kenny Vaccaro had a clean sheet this week, with no missed tackles according to ProFootballFocus and a strong 5-2 stat line. Vaccaro continues to get multiple pass rush opportunities, as Rob Ryan is using him as his primary blitzer from the secondary. I still believe the best is yet to come for Vaccaro.
Cameron Jordan doesn't have a sack this year and has just one solo. But his pass rush and run defense continue to be very good. The statistical production is coming, whether the Saints get more consistent on offense or not.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Jason Pierre-Paul capitalized on a strong matchup with a sack and a half against Arizona. He's not all the way back, though. Both sacks were coverage sacks and one of his batted passes was because his pass rush was stoned at the line of scrimmage. He did look strong playing the run at times, which is a sign that he's not favoring his shoulder much. I expect him to get stronger as the season progresses but he's a boom-bust play for now.
Injuries in the back seven will shuffle the fantasy value of the New York backers and safeties. Jon Beason was back in Charlotte seeing Dr. Robert Anderson after aggravating his foot injury and may well be out for multiple weeks. That moves Jameel McClain into the middle and, possibly, into an every-down role. He's worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.
Walter Thurmond is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. That could thrust Antrel Rolle back into a slot role and increase his expectation. Don't count on that just yet, though. Trumaine McBride was in the slot after Thurmond's injury and Stevie Brown has been hit-and-miss in coverage. The Giants may need Rolle at safety more than they do in the slot.
NEW YORK JETS
Demario Davis -- two sacks and at least four strong plays against the run facing a Green Bay offense that stresses linebackers. I'm still looking for parts for his bandwagon, but at least the auto dealers are answering the phone again. We'll see. Quinton Coples also had an impressive day in pass rush against the Packers. Feels like a mirage here, but there's long been enough talent with both guys to watch for a burgeoning trend.
The Raiders were this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. First, the Good. Khalil Mack played in more packages (sometimes over Lamarr Woodley) and had his best all-around game (including the preseason efforts) thus far. It's a performance he'll look to build on against New England next week. Don't rush him into lineups yet, though. The Patriots are a solid pass rush matchup now, but it's not guaranteed that Mack will see time in packages against the Patriots' spread.
Now, the Bad. Sio Moore had an MRI Monday to evaluate an ankle injury. That's two potentially significant injuries in two weeks. The neck strain in Week 1 proved a non-issue, but Moore has to be durable to hold value.
Finally, the Ugly. Miles Burris. There was absolutely nothing to like about Burris in run defense last week. His faults boosted the numbers of both Tyvon Branch and Charles Woodson (who looks slow and on his very last legs). Branch is struggling in coverage -- he's slow, too -- but he'll be productive supporting the run behind Burris and Kaluka Maiava if it comes to that this weekend.
Mychal Kendricks left Monday night's game with what was originally called cramps. So, it wasn't good news on when he was sent for an MRI on Tuesday. Casey Matthews replaced him and immediately prompted a storm of tweets debating whether he may be the worst defender in the league. If Matthews is forced into the lineup, I'd find a way to get Malcolm Jenkins into your lineup against Washington next week. DeMeco Ryans, too.
Lawrence Timmons was better this week, but his 7-5 stat line was buoyed by a favorable Baltimore stat crew. This may be a good sell high moment for those looking to move on from the Timmons enigma. Ryan Shazier again left the field in a small handful of passing situations, but it's not enough to harm his fantasy value.
Robert Quinn has yet to notch a sack in two weeks. However, ProFootballFocus charting data has him on pace for 32 quarterback hits and 24 hurries. The sacks are coming. It's a longshot, but take the temperature of the Quinn owner in your league to see if he can be had at a discount. Aaron Donald had his first quarterback pressure this week on a dominating power rush from the nose on a subpackage snap. He should've been credited with a sack (see right) and probably will later this week.
The Chargers played a very impressive all-around game against Seattle. The defense saw only 40 plays against the Seahawks. That's significantly less than the number of tackle opportunities the average defense sees in a week -- nearly 50. The Chargers limited themselves to 32 tackle opportunities, only 13 of those on rush attempts. It's no surprise, then, that the starting corners led San Diego in tackles. Jason Verrett had a nice five solo tackle debut. It won't be enough to push Shareece Wright aside just yet. If Brandon Flowers returns, Verrett goes back to a nickel role.
The low snap count hit rotational players like Jerry Attaochu hard. And the Chargers are still not ready to put Manti Te'o on the field for every down.
Two weeks into the season and Tank Carradine has yet to play a down. While I acknowledge that Justin Smith looks rejuvenated and Ray McDonald has always been an underrated 5-technique, it won't be long until Carradine is sitting next to Brandon Graham on my wish list of players who deserve to be freed from NFL purgatory. Also, still no sign of Chris Borland. Barring an injury, this case is closed. There's just not enough practice reps after the season starts for a rookie to bump a veteran like Wilhoite.
Not much of note here. Byron Maxwell missed some snaps with an injury, so make sure you track his situation closely this week. And Malcolm Smith was a mess in coverage at weak side linebacker. That might force the Seahawks to consider using Bruce Irvin more at strong side linebacker in the base defense.
Ugh. Gerald McCoy will miss time with a broken hand. Mason Foster is likely to miss time with a dislocated shoulder. Both injuries occurred last week. The front line was already without Adrian Clayborn (IR-biceps) and Michael Johnson (ankle).
Dane Fletcher replaced Foster at middle linebacker and played every down. Don't be surprised if strong side linebacker Jonathan Casillas stays on the field this week, however. Neither are likely to be consistent fantasy options. Expect both Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson to see increases in tackle production. The Bucs need Michael Johnson back quickly. William Gholston and Da'Quan Bowers started at end and did little. Neither did Akeem Spnece, who took over McCoy's snaps.
Jurrell Casey is going to be used very similarly to how Ray Horton used Calais Campbell in Arizona. And he'll be productive. While I was never concerned Casey would struggle with the transition from 4-3 defensive tackle to 3-4 defensive end, I did not expect him to look so comfortable as a standup edge rusher. Yes, that's Casey in the GIF to the right.
There's good news and bad news with Wesley Woodyard. First, the bad news. With Zach Brown out and Zaviar Gooden in, Woodyard was moved to the strong inside linebacker spot. Woodyard sheds blocks well, but he's not NaVorro Bowman. More blockers on him at the point of attack will mean less tackles. The good news is that Gooden struggled every bit as much against the run. And it's no coincidence that the Titans added veteran James Anderson this week. I don't think it'll be long until Anderson is seeing base SILB snaps. The sooner that happens, the better for Woodyard.
Ten sacks against Jacksonville. Ten. Subtracting those sacks, Washington defenders saw only 24 tackle opportunities (10 on rush attempts). In context, that makes the 4-2-0.5 with three quarterback hits line from Keenan Robinson very impressive. Brandon Meriweather returns from his two game suspension this week. He's likely to see significant playing time immediately.
INSIDE THE METRICS
If you're a long time reader of this column, you know about tackle opportunity and you know about stat crew anomalies. I didn't write about either much last season, but I'm going back to the roots of the RTD and making metrics a regular feature again this year.
The power of the data in this section will grow exponentially as the season progresses and our sample size increases. In time, the tackle opportunity data and pressure metrics and run-pass ratios will be helpful in matchup decisions, waiver wire pulls and more.
***This section will be back soon. Most of my time will be spent reviewing games over the first couple of weeks of the season. Luckily, you have access to a crazy amount of data in Larry Thomas' IDP Matchup Sheet. Make sure you're checking that out every week.
Subscribe to The Audible on iTunes or download our weekly IDP podcast here every Thursday for injury updates, player analysis and matchup discussion. Check my article page on Sunday morning for notes on every team's key injuries, depth chart changes and IDP expectations. Follow and ask questions on Twitter @JeneBramel.