28 Dec 2004
In Christmas craziness we missed this article by Dr. Z on the growth of defensive linemen across the league. Dr. Z is not a big fan of large linemen, feeling that they lose effectiveness late in games and late in the season. Interestingly, one of the linemen that he criticizes is Grady Jackson of Green Bay, a favorite of Football Outsiders. Green Bay's run defense has declined a bit over the past couple games, although I'm not sure this is because Jackson himself is weaker. Detroit, for example, ran to whatever side Jackson wasn't on, and Jacksonville primarily got their yardage on a few big runs. But it does seem like he's wearing down a bit. Could Jackson have been so valuable in 2003 in part because he played only half the season for the Packers, meaning that he wasn't tired by the end of the year?
Ben Roethlisberger's ability to perform under a heavy pass rush remains critical to Pittsburgh's offensive success.