Look at the amount of rising interception numbers for NFL linebackers: 8 linebacker interceptions in week 7 alone! Witness London Fletcher of the Redskins running his back for a touchdown versus the Cardinals.
To date, of the 214 NFL interceptions, 50 have been by linebackers. They are on a pace for second most ever since 1981 when there were 146 linebacker interceptions. What is weird about that 1981 year is the league leader only had 6!(Jack Lambert)
So whats the explanation? Linebackers are now being asked more than ever to drop back into coverage as underneath cover men in Cover 2 schemes against running backs and tight ends. The Raiders linebacker, Thomas Howard, had a pick in 4 straight games before failing to register one in week 7. Also, since the emergence of an ultra athletic linebacker in Lawrence Taylor, there has been a trend to draft athletes at this position instead of just bruising tacklers and run stuffers. Adalius Thomas of the Patriots was a former basketball player. Cato June of the Tampa Bay Bucs was a former strong safety in college before being converted on the NFL level.
Solomon Wilcots, a current CBS analyst and former defensive back had these comments: "Look at Adalius Thomas interception of Phillip Rivers in week 2. This is a prime example of a linebacker playing hide-and-seek. Adalius lined up on the line, but at the last second dropped back into coverage and Rivers never saw him. You are now able to hide and slash and match up to the route combinations and jump the slant routes now."
What do you guys and gals think about this? Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks.