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  • 12/27/2008, 05:44PM ET

Round 1, March Madness, NFL Defensive Player of the Year

BurghHockey12 (106-31-4) vs C-C-C (397-169-39)
26
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31
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26
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31
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What do great defensive players do?

They disrupt plays in the backfield
They cause turnovers
They can be physical at the line of scrimage
And they have the quickness needed to cover and attack the run

Nobody in the NFL has displayed these qualities more than James Harrison in 2008.

On a defense full of playmakers and great defensive players, Harrison has been the most impressive of the bunch. He is currently 4th in sacks and 1st in forced fumbles in the entire NFL. This year he is the only 3-4 OLB to record over 100 tackles. The runner up is Ware who only had 80.

Beyond the stats, Harrison is one of the most gifted pass rushers in the NFL. He has enough strength to bull rush people, but is extremely fast around the edge. When he gets to the QB, nobody can strip the ball better, as indicated by his forced fumbles. He attacks the blind side of a passer better than anyone in this league.

And as far as picking an MVP, I want the biggest playmaker on the best defensive unit in the NFL. I want a guy who steps up when his team needs him, and can stop both the run and the pass on any given play. James Harrison has proven that he is that kind of player.


"They disrupt plays in the backfield
They cause turnovers
They can be physical at the line of scrimage
And they have the quickness needed to cover and attack the run

Nobody in the NFL has displayed these qualities more than James Harrison in 2008."

Ah...but one man HAS displayed the qualities more than James Harrison.

His name is Demarcus Ware. He fluctuates from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end better than anyone in the game. Ware is easily the best pass rusher in the game today and is also quite adept at going into coverage when necessary. His speed, quickness, and reaction skills are unmatched by any other defensive player in the game. Demarcus has been compared favorably with Lawrence Taylor and that's not a stretch at all.

To top it all off, Ware is one of, if not THE best run stoppers around.

He doesn't bull rush on every down like most who acquire sacks do. He doesn't over commit and miss the play as it unfolds. He is so quick off the line he gets bogus calls against him. If you look at the couple of 'off sides' calls on Demarcus this year in slow mo, every time he was moving with the snap. Incredible anticipation.


You are trying to say Ware is more versatile than Harrison, however Harrison has proven he is the most compete defensive player this year.

100 tackles and double-digit sacks on the season. THE ONLY PLAYER TO DO THAT SINCE 2000. The closest was Bart Scott with 9.5 sacks a few years ago.

And you stated that Ware could be "THE" best run stopper, yet has 20 less tackles than Harrison entering today? If he was such a better run stopper, shouldn't he have more tackles than Harrison.

Looking at the two players, they both have great speed off of the end, but Harrison has tremendous power. He can bull rush most offensive linemen which allows him to penetrate better than most defenders in the league. That is how he is able to disrupt the play in the backfield, both run and pass. With the power complementing his speed, he can get to the running back or plug a hole better than most defenders, including Demarcus Ware.

He is the best player on the most dominating defense in the NFL. Compared to Ware who will more than likely be sitting at home this post season given the 33-3 score in the 3rd quarter agains the Eagles. I'll take the guy who will be playing past December.


Defensive player of the year is an individual award. It has nothing to do with the post season or making the post season.

You're putting WAY too much emphasis on tackles and it doesn't really help your cause all that much. Harrison is only 30th in the NFL in tackles. If that particular stat has the importance you want to attach to it, he shouldn't even be mentioned in a DPOY discussion. Of course he racks up a lot of tackles in that Pittsburgh system.

Ware and Harrison play in very different schemes. Harrison attacks the line on most every play while Ware often drops into coverage, he doesn't just rush the passer or stop the run on every down. Much more versatile than Harrison. Yet he still had 20 sacks this year. If Demarcus was a pin your ears back and attack on every down LB he's have easily had 25 sacks or more. As it is, his 20 led the NFL and were 4 more than Harrison managed.

Like Harrison, Ware is also much more than just a speed LB. He too is exceptionally strong for his size and can overpower most offensive tackles and guards requiring he be doubled or chipped on every passing down.

What it comes down to is Ware simply had the better season.


"What it comes down to is Ware simply had the better season"

100 tackles and double-digit sacks, the first time in 8 years. Pretty sure Harrison had the better season. Ware had more sacks, and Harrison had more tackles, forced fumbles, and interceptions.

"If Demarcus was a pin your ears back and attack on every down LB he's have easily had 25 sacks or more"

That's pretty much what he is, and what he does, you even stated he jumps offsides many times because he tries to get an advantage on the pass rush.

"It has nothing to do with the post season or making the post season"

It shows just how important he was to his team when they needed him to step up and play great, which if you watched today's game, he was not a factor. In their most important game of the season, he did not bring his best.

"Harrison is only 30th in the NFL in tackles"

And Ware is 71st

"Ware often drops into coverage"

Yet didn't have a single interception on the year.

Again, you keep saying how versatile he is, yet never prove it. 100 tackles, double-digit sacks, 7 forced fumbles, all while playing in a similar system to Ware. Harrison was better, period, he is the MVP not Ware.


Again you're putting WAY too much emphasis on tackles. The Steelers are a swarming, gang tackling team so it comes as no surprise that Harrison has been involved in his share of them. But let's break down this '100 tackles' that has you so impressed:

Harrison: 101 tackles 67 solo 34 assists 16 sacks

Ware: 84 tackles 69 solo 15 assists 20 sacks

I'm pretty sure 69 is more than 67. Obviously when it comes to taking down his man Ware has been even better at it than Harrison has. The difference in assists is attributable to defensive system Pittsburgh employs more so than Harrison himself. '100 tackles' sounds nice but obviously is misleading when you break it all the way down.

Spare me the nonsense about interceptions, we are talking about OLB here, not defensive backs. Harrison's ONE pick doesn't push him over top, nor does his 7 forced fumbles...Ware forced 6 himself.

The Steelers have a stifling defense with or without Harrison, he's just one piece of the puzzle in that system. Ware is absolutely critical to the Cowboys defense. Without him it would have been bottom third of the league.

We are discussing DPOY, not MVP. Ware was the best defensive player.

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