What makes for a deep playoff run?
Quality QB -- yep.
Solid pass rush -- sure.
Play making safety or two? Now you're talking.
Watching the first round I'm impressed by the safety talent on the winners. Baltimore's Ed Reed made the previously flawless Chad Pennington look like a chump today.
Brian Dawkins has been a blue chipper for a decade. And his partner Quentin Mikel had a better year, according to K.C. Joyner. They kept the Vikings from getting any big passing plays. Late in the broadcast, Troy Aikman quoted Philly DC Jim Johnson, who said his safeties give him the confidence to play so aggressively with his front seven.
Pittsburgh has Troy Polamalu. The Titans have Michael Griffin, he with seven INTs this year. The Cardinals have the unsung Adrian Wilson anchoring their secondary.
Playmaking safeties have become as important as big pass rushers and solid left tackles.
It's hardly news, but the Cowboys' cupboard was almost bare at this position this year. The Ravens loss offered this contrast: Reed picked off two Romo bombs; both Dallas safeties whiffed on both of the Ravens' two long, late TD runs that sealed the game. More on this subject this week.
A safety with range, tackling skills and good instincts is a must, if the defense wants to build on its league-leading rush.
Back to your playoff viewing.