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San Jose does not have a lot of glamour names on its defensive front, but as a group they pile up great numbers and are the best pass rush in the league. The SaberCats led the league with 30 sacks in the regular season. DEs Ron Jones (five sacks) and Alan Hemper (four sacks) are good edge rushers with quickness and agility, while NT George Williams (three sacks) is also very physical and does a nice job of collapsing the pocket inside. Also, backup DE Garret McIntire has six sacks and he can also play some Mack linebacker if needed. The wild card up front is All-AFL Mack LB Steve Watson, who leads the defense with nine sacks. He does a great job of timing his attack, has an excellent feel for blocking angles, is very smart in his pass rush and can also play the Jack LB. Not only is this group talented, but they are also tenacious and never quit on a play. The SaberCats also get a big boost from a great secondary that has shut down a lot of good pass offenses. Usually, we think great pass rushes make the secondary look better because the QB is forced to get the ball out quickly, which leads to mistakes and turnovers. However, for San Jose it might just be the opposite. The SaberCats' secondary is so good in coverage that it forces QBs to hold on to the ball because the receivers cannot get separation and that leads to coverage sacks.
Gary Horton, a pro scout for Scouts Inc., has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm called The War Room.