We could go with many players here on a team that’s looking like a lock to win the division. But the veteran cornerback who was signed as a free agent has helped calm down a secondary that was a disaster last season. Now, last season's 30th-ranked defense is first in the league, and teams are wary of throwing in his direction. He’s a guy opponents are conscious of all the time, and the Texans didn’t have anyone who registered like that in the secondary last season. In a defensive transformation, Joseph's been key. He’s got three interceptions and 10 passes defended.
The second-year linebacker is far from a Pro Bowler, but on a team in shambles he’s one guy you can point to who’s been consistently productive and actually has upside. He’s been credited with 97 tackles, 22 more than the next most productive Colt, safety Antoine Bethea. Angerer's shift to the middle and performance in the spot since Gary Brackett was lost for the season to an opening day shoulder injury has been a success. His play puts Brackett's future with the Colts into question.
A veteran addition has been just the sort of middle linebacker Jacksonville was hoping for when it signed him away from the Buffalo Bills. He’s been a consistent and steady leader in the right place at the right time, making tackles and forcing teams to try to take the ball elsewhere. The Jaguars are thrilled with the defensive leadership he’s provided and questions about his one alleged weak spot, his coverage skills, aren’t anything we’ve been talking about. He leads the team with 100 tackles.
Hold off on talking about how the Titans aren’t going to contend for a playoff spot so they should turn to Jake Locker. Hasselbeck has been a huge presence in transforming the locker room and carrying the messages of his coaching staff into practice. He’s had great protection and made a lot of good throws. With lousy receivers once Kenny Britt went down, things can be a struggle, but he’s been the right guy to fight through. He's got 13 touchdown passes versus six interceptions.