Now that the NFL season officially over, you'll be seeing a lot of season reviews, position reviews and player performance reviews popping up everywhere. One such review is published by our good friends from Pro Football Focus, who have just released their take on Trending Players in the NFC East.
In the article, PFF identify the most improved Cowboys player, the player most deserving of more snaps and the most disappointing player of 2011. This is the second time PFF have published such a season review, last year they released their list of "Movers and Fallers". In last year's version, Gerald Sensabaugh was the most improved player, Mike Jenkins was the most disappointing and Sean Lee was deemed the player most deserving of more snaps.
After the break, find out who PFF rate as the trending players for 2012.
Most Improved - Mike Jenkins: Jenkins bounces back nicely in the PFF grades after being rated the most disappointing player last year. PFF note that he allowed a very good 51.9 completion percentage while in primary coverage, but they also note that he did not quite make it back to the form he displayed in his 2009 Pro Bowl season. Jenkins was fighting injuries all year but still managed to improve his overall grade from -10.8 to +1.1 from 2010 to 2011.
Biggest Drop Off - LT Doug Free: After grading out as one of the best tackles in the league in 2010, Doug Free came crashing down to Earth in a big way last season. By PFF's reckoning, Free gave up 10 sacks, five hits, and 33 hurries versus just 33 combined QB disruptions in 2010. His ranking fell accordingly, from +17.9 to -9.9 between 2010 and 2011. A move back to right tackle looks like a done deal for Free in 2012, and that should see his grades improve again.
More Snaps Deserved - Sean Lissemore: A year ago, PFF saw Sean Lee as the player most deserving of more snaps, and that turned out to be spot on. If PFF are similarly accurate about Lissemore this time around, then good things are in store for the Cowboys defensive line. Lissemore was only in on about a quarter of the defensive snaps but graded out with +13.8, which ranks him sixth among all 3-4 DEs. Here's PFF's take on Lissemore.
It hasn’t surprised us at all to see Cowboys coaches coming out and praising Lissemore for his impact in limited snaps. The seventh round pick from the 2010 draft made a big impression whether the Cowboys lined him up on the nose or at end in base or in their sub-package defense. Lissemore responded with 14 defensive stops in the run game on just 108 plays in run defense. He even held up as a pass rusher (two sacks, three hits and eight hurries) to indicate the Cowboys may have found themselves another late-round defensive linemen who can cope with a full-time workload.
Do you agree with PFF's assessment or would you nominate other players for these categories?