NFC South: James Laurinaitis

Saluting NFC South's ironmen

February, 11, 2013
Atlanta safety Thomas DeCoud was one snap short of being one of only a handful of defensive players to participate in 100 percent of their team’s snaps last season.

DeCoud was on the field for 1,021 of Atlanta’s 1,022 defensive snaps. Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett and St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis were the only players in the NFL to take part in 100 percent of their team’s defensive plays, according to snap counts used to calculate playing-time incentives.

Tampa Bay safety Mark Barron was the next most active player in the NFC South, sitting out only four snaps and taking part in 99.63 percent of his team’s defensive snaps, and teammate Ronde Barber was right behind him at 99.35 percent.

Other defensive ironmen in the NFC South included New Orleans linebacker Curtis Lofton (98.59 percent), Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David (98.24 percent), New Orleans safety Roman Harper (96.48 percent), New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson (96.13 percent), Carolina safety Charles Godfrey (93.72 percent), New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan (91.29 percent) and Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson (91.1 percent).

It’s far more common for offensive players to take part in 100 percent of their team’s snaps. Thirty-six offensive players (34 linemen and two quarterbacks) accomplished that last season. Atlanta tackle Sam Baker, Atlanta guard Justin Blalock, New Orleans guard Ben Grubbs and New Orleans center Brian De La Puente each participated in 100 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.

Tampa Bay’s Erik Lorig led all NFC South players in special-teams snaps, taking part in 80.71 percent.

Over the next few days, I’ll bring you complete playing-time breakdowns for all four NFC South teams.

Atlanta LB duo a fixture on the field

February, 7, 2012
Atlanta linebackers Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon almost never left the field during the 2011 season.

According to playing-time numbers obtained by, Lofton participated in 986 of Atlanta’s 996 defensive plays (99 percent). Weatherspoon was right behind him, taking part in 976 plays (97.9 percent). Those two and Carolina’s James Anderson (97.3 percent) easily outdistanced the rest of the NFC South linebackers in playing time.

In fact, only Cleveland’s D'Qwell Jackson, St. Louis' James Laurinaitis, Chicago’s Lance Briggs and Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan, who each played all of their team’s defensive snaps, and Minnesota’s Chad Greenway (99.3 percent) participated in a higher percentage of plays than Lofton, Weatherspoon and Anderson.

Here’s a list at the rest of the leading NFC South linebackers in percentage of playing time: