In what appears to be an annual feature now on Pro Football Focus, they reviewed the players on the teams in the AFC North in a feature called "Trending in the AFC North" (note: last year, it was called "Movers and Fallers). There were three categories for each team, including "Most Improved," "Biggest Drop Off," and "More Snaps Needed." Last year, the players that filled those categories were LB Chris Gocong, RT John St. Clair, and LB Marcus Benard, respectively. Well, we all know Benard didn't get more snaps because of
Eric Mangini a motorcycle accident. Which players fell into the categories this year?
Most Improved - DT Ahtyba Rubin: Rubin has always seemed solid to me. PFF says that his previous best year was in 2009, but that he suffered an unusual drop off in 2010 during Rob Ryan's final year with the team with a 3-4 defense. The switch to a 4-3 defense this year allowed Rubin to have a career year, while playing a "ridiculous" 945 snaps (nearly 60 snaps per game). His ranking improved from -19.4 to +8.9 from 2010 to 2011.
Biggest Drop Off - LB Chris Gocong: After being last year's most improved player, how does Gocong get the biggest drop off nod? I know he played quite well this season, although maybe I'm just focusing on a few high impact plays/series that he had and not looking at the big picture. PFF doesn't say he was terrible, just not as sound as he was in the 3-4 defense, particularly in coverage. His ranking fell from +18.4 to -5.7 from 2010 to 2011.
More Snaps Needed - TE Evan Moore: Everyone just has to use the more/Moore reference, don't they? From PFF:
"It’s almost criminal that Moore has had just 94 balls thrown at him in the last three years. With the depth chart ahead in its current state, it shouldn’t be that way."
Forget almost. It is criminal.