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07-09-2011, 10:27 AM
DT2K: The recognized star vs. the unheralded heroNFL.com
Published: July 7, 2011 at 07:57 p.m. Updated: July 8, 2011 at 06:12 p.m. Liked: 0 |
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... ule=HP_cp2 (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d820a92b1/article/dt2k-the-recognized-star-vs-the-unheralded-hero?module=HP_cp2)

With "The Top 100 Players of 2011" wrapped up, it got us thinking: Who are the greatest players of the new millennium, the Y2K era? Since 2000, broad developments in NFL strategy have taken place, as well as the specialization of the players who fit into these new schemes. So who has thrived most in the league's ever-evolving environment?

Today, former New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns linebacker Willie McGinest and NFL.com's Elliot Harrison make their cases for the best defensive tackle. Got an opinion of your own? Sound off in the comments section below.

McGinest: A case for Seymour
Richard Seymour came into the league with the Patriots in 2001, and he wasn't like the typical rookie. He was a lot more mature. His ability to absorb the information, the defense, pick it up and get right in the groove made him special. You see some of that right now with some of the young guys, like Ndamukong Suh, who can be productive right away.

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With Richard's size, you couldn't beat him one-on-one. His speed and agility made him so hard to block. And he also was so good at holding the point, which made my job easier. If the defensive tackle is getting pushed five yards back, then I can't make any plays from the linebacker spot.

His mentality reminded me of me, only because he didn't take (expletive) from anybody ... even as a rookie!

He didn't care if there was an All-Pro across from him. Richard saw it as a challenge. Anybody can beat up a bum all day long.

If you look at Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli, he didn't get that big, big name until they put an ISO on him in a playoff game, and he kept beating Bruce Smith. That's because Smith was the best at that time. And I think Seymour had the same mentality as Boselli, that, "I want to go against the best or I want to dominate them, to let people know that I'm one of the best."

Richard Seymour vs. Casey Hampton (2001-2010)
Player Tackles Sacks Pro Bowls
Richard Seymour 289 48.5 6
Casey Hampton 180 9.0 5
The main thing about Seymour is ... he is always competing, even with his teammates. When we played together, he would say, "Who's gonna make the big play?" He sought challenges, competing against me or whoever else to see who could make the big stop.

Seymour is more diverse of a player than other defensive tackle in this era. You can move him inside, over the nose or over the guard. He has played a lot of defensive end, but he's not just a pass rusher. And on some occasions, we even stood him up. He's also a guy who can block field goals ... he's diverse.

Basically, Seymour can play a bunch of positions on the line and be effective at all of them.

Players in the discussion: Seymour. That's it.
Great ... but don't belong: Kris Jenkins, Kevin Williams
Guy(s) nobody talks about: Haloti Ngata (people do talk about him somewhat, but he's very good. Hasn't played enough yet.)

Harrison: A case for Casey Hampton
Casey Hampton gets my vote as the best defensive tackle for Player 2K.

He didn't make the all-decade team. He has nine career sacks. And he doesn't even look athletic.

This is a nod to the nose tackles who are the point men in the proliferation of the 3-4 defense, and big No. 98 has been the overall best at his job, controlling his space so that Steelers linebackers can play in space. He has been good enough to be a five-time Pro Bowl pick ... good enough to be on the Steelers' all-time team next to "Mean" Joe Greene and Ernie Stautner, both Hall of Fame defensive tackles. Good enough for our Pat Kirwan, too.

There's nothing sexy in Hampton's game. He doesn't do sexy. He just contributes to winning. Here's all you need to know: Since he came into the league in 2001, the Steelers have finished in the top three teams in points allowed six times, including three first-place finishes.

While some great players such as LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu have contributed to those numbers, none of those guys were there in 2001 when Pittsburgh finished second in yards allowed, third in points allowed, and made it to the AFC Championship with freaking Kordell Stewart at quarterback. Hampton was, starting 11 games as a rookie (including playoffs).

Along with defensive end Aaron Smith, Hampton has been the constant in Pittsburgh's defensive dominance in this decade, occupying blockers in Dick LeBeau's 3-4 scheme so other guys can make plays and get those awful Fatheads made in their likeness.

Hampton has a big head, but not from any huge ego. His job has been that of the humble man's, doing the dirty work in the middle like Vince Wilfork, or even a Jason Ferguson, commanding double teams. If single-blocked, they'll destroy your team's run game.

It was hard to pick over Kevin Williams. Excruciating with La'Roi Glover. I almost called a tie with that guy. But the best defenses in this era have mostly been of the 3-4 variety, and for that, you need a player like Hampton.

Players in the discussion: Seymour, Williams, Wilfork, Glover, Pat Williams, Kris Jenkins, Warren Sapp (better in the '90s)
Great ... but don't belong: Ngata (not enough time), Jay Ratliff, Albert Haynesworth (don't get me started)
Guy(s) nobody talks about: Marcus Stroud

07-09-2011, 12:20 PM
They also did the inevitable Reed vs. Polamalu debate. Gotta love that they used the word "confluence" when describing Polamalu's game. :D

S2K: Polamalu or Reed? Good luck deciding between the two
Published: June 30, 2011 at 07:46 a.m.
Updated: July 6, 2011 at 02:06 p.m.

With "The Top 100: Players of 2011" winding down, it got us thinking: Who are the greatest players of the new millennium, the Y2K era? Since 2000, broad developments in NFL strategy have taken place, as well as the specialization of the players who fit into these new schemes. So who has thrived most in the league's ever-evolving environment?

Today, Jason La Canfora and Elliot Harrison debate the best safety. Got an opinion of your own? Sound off in the comments section below.

La Canfora: A case for Ed Reed

Ed Reed just might be the best safety to ever play the game. If not, then call him the greatest ball hawk since Dick "Night Train" Lane.

But without a doubt Reed is the best safety of this era.

Troy Polamalu is a tremendous talent, but Ryan Clark does a bulk of the coverage in Pittsburgh. Polamalu is like an extra linebacker in running situations.

Reed eclipses him, by a large margin, in interceptions, turnovers caused and touchdowns. He changes the entire nature of the game and the entire way offenses approach the Ravens. This is a guy who out-wits and out-smarts Peyton Manning. This is a guy who, on the rare occasions he's still asked to take part in the return game, can take it to the house at any moment.

Sure, Reed gambles and occasionally loses -- but so does Polamalu. Reed just has more success at it than arguably anyone who ever played. Last year, coming off major hip surgery, he had eight interceptions in 10 games. Come on, who does that?

Don't think Reed hits as hard as he used to? Turn on the tape of the playoff game at Kansas City and watch him deliver a hit that pretty much shuttered the Chiefs' attack the rest of the day.

But don't take my word for it. When I was in studio recently for "NFL Total Access," Warren Sapp and Brian Baldinger were debating this very topic. Sapp took Reed's side. Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, a remarkable corner and safety and one of the 25 to 50 greatest players of all-time in my opinion, text messaged Fran Charles at the end of the show.

His vote: Reed, without a doubt. No question about it.

That's plenty good to me.

Players in the discussion: Polamalu, Darren Sharper
Great but ... don't belong: John Lynch, Rodney Harrison
Guy nobody talks about: Sean Taylor

Harrison: A case for Troy Polamalu

How does one begin to describe Polamalu's game?

Has there ever been a more unique player in NFL history? In deciding the best safety of this era, it's difficult to overlook Reed, and even Darren Sharper. They are both classic, ball-hawking safeties. Reed gets more publicity and is a certifiable Hall of Famer, while Sharper has 63 career interceptions that will be very tough for Hall of Fame voters to ignore.

That said, Polamalu has been the biggest overall playmaker from the safety position since Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. I'm talking about a complete game, not just interceptions and pass deflections -- but sacks, tackles for a loss and, most of all, clutch plays. His sack of Joe Flacco in Baltimore last season won that game. It was classic Polamalu, leaving his feet to make sure he hit the Ravens' quarterback before he could throw.

Still, what has made Polamalu so special is not any one play; it's a confluence of things. Pittsburgh's defense has allowed the fewest points in the league three times since Polamalu became a starter in 2004. In 2007, the Steelers finished second; in 2005, third. Just to get this straight, since Polamalu's arrival seven seasons ago the Steelers have finished in the top three in points allowed five times, he's started three Super Bowls, and is a six-time Pro Bowl selection.

The guy could hang 'em up now, and he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

What resonates even stronger is what Pittsburgh hasn't accomplished when he's been out with an injury. The difference between having Polamalu in or out of the lineup is staggering, especially the last two seasons.

Steelers' defense with and without Polamalu since 2009:

Win-Loss: With: 17-5 ... Without: 6-7
Points per game allowed: With: 15.9 ... Without: 21.5
Interceptions: With: 28 ... Without: 6

What better compliment can you give a player, other than saying he is the difference between winning and losing?

Players in the discussion: Reed, Sharper, Brian Dawkins
Great ... but don't belong: Lynch, Adrian Wilson
Guy nobody talks about: Mike Brown (so many injuries)

Ed Reed vs. Troy Polamalu (2000-2010)
Player Tackles Sacks INTs Pro Bowls
*Ed Reed 495 5 54 7
Troy Polamalu 515 8 27 6
*Since 2002 (rookie year); **Since 2003 (rookie year)

Who is the best safety of the millennium?

Ed Reed 45%

Troy Polamalu 52%

Other 2%

Total Votes: 21556


07-09-2011, 11:23 PM
It's difficult to compare a NT to a DE in today's stat crazy, fantasy football world. You have to understand and watch the game of football at a level that 85% of the fans in the NFL can not do to appreciate Casey Hampton. I'm not even sure players understand what his presence means to the Steelers, he didn't make the top 100.

Polamalu vs Reed will be a debate that never ends; Steeler fans will never concede to Reed and Ravens fans will never concede to Polamalu. However, this can be said with 100% certainty. Ed Reed is the best FS in the game today and Polamalu is the best SS in the game today.


07-11-2011, 01:20 AM
[quote]It's difficult to compare a NT to a DE in today's stat crazy, fantasy football world.

Using stats, Casey Hampton is a scrub and never contributed anything to any team.....ever!!!

That is why you need to watch footbball, not look at stats, to know who can play.

Ed Reed is the best FS in the game today and Polamalu is the best SS in the game today.

While I'd never concede Reed over Troy, did you see the poll at the bottom?

Troy 52%
Reed 45%
Other 2%

That 2% who chose "other" should never be allowed to watch football again!!