I’ve spent most of the week in deep thought about one of the more important things in life right now: Why don’t Robert Quinn and Chris Long have a nickname yet? Bash Brothers is already taken. I was thinking something like Ebony and Ivory, but I guess we probably want to avoid the race issue. Then I got to thinking that the word sack should probably be included, but that evokes memory of another duo. Regardless of what you call them, you have to call their performance on Monday Night Football spectacular. On a night when the St. Louis offense couldn’t close the deal, their defense gave them a chance to win.
Quinn and Long combined for 9 tackles and 6 sacks in one of the more dominant pass rush displays we’ve seen by a team this year. Their impact performances were nearly matched by Bruce Irvin, who had 8 tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble in just his 4th game back from a suspension. There were plenty more great games in Week 8, as well as some not-so-great games, so let’s take a closer look.
Chris Jones – I led off with him last week, and I’m not going to mess with a good thing. After his huge game against the Jets, Jones reprised his performance with 7 tackles and sack against Miami. The bad news is that the Pats traded for Isaac Sopoaga on Tuesday, giving Jones some competition up front. Jones should still see the majority of the snaps this week, but it’s definitely a situation to monitor given the production coming from this spot.
Osi Umenyiora – I honestly can’t bring myself to believe that he’s washed up. Throughout his career, when healthy, Osi has been a constant threat in third-and-long situations, but this year something just seems off. It might be that Atlanta’s secondary is so terrible that Osi doesn’t have the time to get to the QB. Whatever the reason, Osi is moving down my ranks until he shows me that he still has it.
Craig Robertson – One of the more pleasant surprises in the LB ranks this year has been Robertson, who has become a nice complement to D’Qwell Jackson, and has possibly eaten into Jackson’s production. Robertson put up his best game of the year on Sunday, racking up 11 tackles and a sack and he’s nearing the top 20 LBs on the season. If he’s not owned in your league, make a move now.
Dont’a Hightower – Last week I told you that I was leaning towards Brandon Spikes as the Pats LB to own for the rest of the season. While I’m not exactly changing my tune a week later, I am altering the tune slightly. Auto-tuning if you will. Because it appears that the Pats will be trotting out two LBs that are worth owning each week. Spikes had a solid 9 tackles, but Hightower exploded for 10 tackles and his first sack of the season. Both of these young LBs should be owned.
Earl Thomas – Before the season, I thought Thomas was just a cog in a Seattle secondary that was too crowded to produce another IDP contributor. A month ago, I thought Thomas was worth adding, but thought his fast start would slow down. Now I am telling you that I was wrong. Thomas currently sits at DB2 on the year, and he’s put up at least 6 tackles in all but one game. He has improbably (in my mind at least) become a must-start in the DB ranks.
Week 9 IDP Rankings