Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Midseason All-NFC South offense
By Pat Yasinskas
We continue our annual midseason All-NFC South team with the offense.
Quarterback: Drew Brees, Saints. I gave stronger consideration to Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman than I thought I would. But I’m sticking with Brees, even though he hasn’t been nearly as efficient as last year. But picture where the Saints would be if they didn’t have him.
Running back: Michael Turner, Falcons. There is no other choice because DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have disappeared and Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas have been banged up. Turner looks like he’s just hitting full stride and should get stronger as the season goes on.
Fullback: Ovie Mughelli, Falcons. Atlanta doesn’t have great individual talent on the offensive line. Mughelli’s a big reason Turner is running well.
Wide receiver: Roddy White, Falcons. He’s been the most dominant player in the division.
Wide receiver: Mike Williams, Buccaneers. With Steve Smith having a quiet year and no one in New Orleans putting up big numbers, the rookie is the choice here. He seems to get better every week and he and Freeman have established a chemistry that could make them a special combination for years to come.
Tight end: Tony Gonzalez, Falcons. He’s on the downside of his career, but Gonzalez remains a big part of the Atlanta passing game and has found the end zone three times.
Tackle: Donald Penn, Buccaneers. He got a big contract at the start of training camp and he’s followed up nicely. Penn’s never going to be a dominant left tackle, but he’s become a consistently good one. In a season in which Carolina’s Jordan Gross has struggled, Penn has been the best left tackle in the division.
Tackle: Jon Stinchcomb, Saints. I still think Gross might be the most-talented tackle in the division. But he and the Panthers aren’t having a great season. Atlanta’s Sam Baker and New Orleans’ Jermon Bushrod are the other starting left tackles in the division and neither has been anything special. That’s why I’m taking Stinchcomb, the NFC South’s best right tackle.
Guard: Davin Joseph, Buccaneers. Raheem Morris has been raving about how Joseph has become the leader of the offensive line. He’s held this unit together through some significant injuries and changes.
Guard: Jahri Evans, Saints. He’s not having the kind of dominating season he did last year, but he still might be the most talented guard in the league and he can snap back into last season’s form at any time.
Center: Todd McClure, Falcons. There might be more talented centers out there, but McClure is the glue that has held Atlanta’s line together and a big part of the reason Turner and Ryan are having nice seasons.