Of course, Patrick Willis wins Defensive Rookie Award

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BadMoFo, Jan 4, 2008.

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  1. BadMoFo

    BadMoFo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    NFL's leading tackler voted AP's top defensive rookie
    Associated Press

    Updated: January 4, 2008, 12:41 PM ET
    NEW YORK -- One NFL scout called linebacker Patrick Willis "a beast." And that was before Willis won The Associated Press 2007 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

    Willis' dominant performance could have been overlooked because his San Francisco 49ers went 5-11 in a mediocre division. Instead, his league-leading 174 tackles and presence all over the field made him a runaway winner and the fifth straight linebacker to take the honor.

    Willis earned 48 votes Friday from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Only Carolina linebacker Jon Beason, with two, also received votes.

    "It's confirmation of what you've been doing as an individual," Willis said. "From an individual perspective, it would be good for people that doubted, or didn't know if you could be a No. 1 draft pick, or if you could come into the league and do well because of your size or where you might have played ball at ... and show them that if you put your mind to it, you're capable of anything."

    Willis certainly looked capable of just about anything as he did just about everything in 2007. The 11th overall draft pick from Mississippi was a dynamic presence from the first practice with the 49ers, and by season's end, opponents were scheming to avoid him.

    It didn't work very often, witness his total tackles and four sacks and his ability to disrupt the opposition. He made 11 tackles in the season opener and had at least 10 in 10 games. His high was 20 against Tampa Bay, when Willis also had two sacks.

    "The good Lord has blessed me with skills that are uncommon, but are just something that I do naturally," he said. "I also know I couldn't do it by myself, without help from my fellow linebackers or that D-line. Knowing that, I just stay humble. Whether it's in the movies or whether it's in real life, you see guys that got bigheaded, and they're in for a rude awakening."

    Willis is the third 49ers player to win the award, joining tackle Dana Stubblefield (1993) and cornerback Bruce Taylor (1970).

    He also continued the run of linebackers earning the honor. The previous four were: DeMeco Ryans of Houston, Shawne Merriman of San Diego, Jonathan Vilma of the New York Jets, and Terrell Suggs of Baltimore.
  2. Richter

    Richter In the Starting Line-Up

    He was the guy I most wanted in this past draft for the Pats. He's one of the few positives the 49ers have going forward.
  3. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    Yeah, it's much better to throw rookies in there and suck than to go undefeated.
  4. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Great player. Hopefully he doesn't pull a Vilma
  5. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Where is that from?


    #12 Jersey

    I wonder who the 2 azzholes were that didn't vote for Willis and instead voted for Jon Beason of Carolina

    Not even close in productivity

    2 Morons obviously voted differently
  7. mangenious

    mangenious Banned

    I think Dave Harris should have got recognition, not even 1 vote? When comparing him and Willis. He starts in 7 less games and has more sacks, same amount of FF. They gave Willis the award pretty much b/c he had more tackles (48) which harris would have topped if he started from day 1
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  8. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    I agree Harris should have gotten some recognition. He's going to be a beast in the years to come.

    Willis went into the season with the body of a 22-23 year old and came out of it with the body of a 29 year old. He punished himself this season.
  9. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

    There were definitely LBs who came in this year and made an impact--I don't much follow college ball, but I hope there's a guy BB & SP deem worthy this time around. A young guy in the middle would help keep this thing going.
  10. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

    Willis has always been all over the field making plays, and racking up tackles. Yea, he took some punishment this season, but I wouldn't say he now has the body of a 29 year old because of it.

    I fully expect Patrick to be one of the top 2-3 LB's at his position for years to come, and all the signs of his becoming a great NFL player where there well before the 2007 draft.
  11. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    You obviously have never played this game at a truly competitive level!

    You can't do what he did all year and not expect to have to pay the piper at some point. Whether payment is a shortened career or constant nagging shoulder injuries or permanently swollen hip or knee or ankle joints, his body has aged tremendously this past season.
  12. Stop Being A Jerk

    Stop Being A Jerk On the Game Day Roster

    I remember when some mocks had him going to us. Then he ran like a 1.13 40 and he was gone.
  13. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    Well, for one thing, if he's chasing plays to get more tackles (not saying I know that) he wouldn't make our team anyway. Our defense requires not leaving your area ever, especially for rookies.

    S.F. sucks. I care not for the individual statistics of their defensive members.

    Again, our D is not one where individuals make plays, especially rookies.

    We don't throw rookies in to start unless we're forced to.

    The exception i can think of is Wilson,and he has regressed every year since.

    I like the way the Patriots do things. Other teams have other models.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  14. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    I'd love to see the pats pick up a young LB in the draft or FA.

    A linebacker that is "all over the field", by definition, will not fit our defense.
  15. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

    Moving past that first misguided opinion...

    Concerning you're point about paying the piper. Yes, playing at an extremely high level takes a toll on your body, and you have to recover from that wear and tear after the season. A lot of players never completely recover from that wear, but that still doesn't mean Patrick will now have the body of a 29 year old, especially in comparison to other top LB's. That's like saying "Ty Warren had 84 tackles in 2006, so he'll start wearing down tremendously from here on out". It's also very obvious that some players can recover better than others, and Patrick (up to this point) seems like the kind of guy who can bounce back from the punishment. We'll have to see if that trend continues though.

    I do agree that Patrick will start wearing down over the next 3 or 4 years, if the 49ers can't get more production out of their other defenders, and he's making a ton of tackles each season. It happened to Ray Lewis, and a number of other LB's before him. The only thing I really disagree about is you're saying he already has the body of a 29 year old because of that one season.
  16. Brady to Brown

    Brady to Brown 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Funny thing is Beason, Willis and Harris are all LB's. I don't believe the whole "there are no LB's good enough in the draft to play LB for the Patriots"
  17. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    That's a misunderstanding. The Patriots require big linebackers who can shed blocks (usually former DEs).

    They also require players to learn a rigid system where you cover an area, do an assignment and ignore a tackle you can make if it is not in your area of responsibility.

    Great lateral speed is less important than discipline, strength and ability to learn a complex defense.

    You could say many of these players are "too good" to play for the Patriots in that our 4 linebacker system wouldn't utilize their speed, and would cramp their play making style by limiting their freedom.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  18. dwayne

    dwayne Practice Squad Player

    I would disagree, I think there are many potential positives in the team. Hopefully, with a competent OC, we might see them.

    But Gore, Davis, Joe Staley, Manny Lawson, Patrick Willis, Clements...there are some very good players.
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