Jerod Mayo, LB, NE - Mayo has been producing at a mind-boggling pace so far this year. Through seven games, he has recorded an astounding 86 tackles, 58 of which have been solo. That total includes 43 tackles (28 solo) in the last three weeks alone. Mayo leads the league in tackles and is currently on pace to finish the year with 197. We have to believe that won't happen, but Mayo only seems to be picking up steam at this point.
Chad Greenway, LB, MIN - Greenway hasnít quite been on Mayoís level as far as tackle totals go, but he too has been excellent this season. He has 74 tackles (57 solo) in his first seven games and he has done it with remarkable consistency. Greenway has recorded double-digit tackles in all but two games this year, and those two games saw him total eight and nine tackles. That kind of reliability makes Greenway one of the IDP MVPs at this point in the season.
Tamba Hali, LB, KC - If you are in a league that rewards sacks more than tackles, Hali is emerging as one of the better linebacker options. The former Penn State star had been hovering right around Ďabove averageí for basically his whole career, but lately he has shown signs of taking his game to the next level. Through seven weeks, Hali is just one and a half sack short of matching his career-high of eight and a half sacks in a season.
Tyvon Branch, S, OAK - Branch was a tackling machine in 2009, posting 124 tackles (98 solo) in his first season as a starter. The only thing missing from his game was big plays, but he has made progress in that area recently. He has two sacks on the season to go along with a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception. Oh, and heís still on pace to hit triple-digit tackles.
Jared Allen, DE, MIN - Another week, another disappointing performance from Allen. Going back to the NFC Championship Game, Allen has just one sack in his last eight games. Itís getting to the point where it feels naÔve to expect improvement. The Vikings as an organization are entirely deflated, and it could be that Allenís productivity will remain a reflection of a team that has flat out quit.
Kirk Morrison, LB, JAC - Like Allen, it is becoming increasingly difficult to expect much from Morrison. He has just 44 tackles (33 solo) at the eight-game mark, and his performances havenít given any particular reason to expect him to improve. Itís possible that Morrison simply isnít up to speed in the Jacksonville defensive scheme, but he doesnít seem to be progressing, either.
Mario Williams, DE, HOU - Williamsí total of five sacks through seven games is actually quite good, but his performances (as an IDP, anyway) havenít been as good as that number would lead you to believe. Williams got those five sacks in three games, meaning he has zero sacks in his other four games. He hasnít been supplementing those goose eggs with tackle production, either Ė he has just 17 (13 solo) at this point, putting him on pace for a career-low 39 tackles. Williams likely wonít find the going much easier until Houston finally gets another good defensive lineman to take pressure off him.
Jon Beason, LB, CAR - Itís not time to panic, but Beason has recorded just four tackles in two straight games. It seems safe to say that fellow linebacker James Anderson has overtaken Beason as Carolinaís top IDP option at linebacker, as Beason has Ďjustí 53 tackles (37 solo) through seven games while Anderson has 68 tackles (52 solo).
Jay Ratliff, DT, DAL - As the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, there was never any reason to expect Ratliff to be among the top IDP options in any format. He was, however, identified as a potential bargain target due to his rare ability to disrupt from the nose spot. For whatever reason, Ratliff is not getting to ballcarriers or quarterbacks in 2010 Ė he has just 15 tackles (12 solo) and one sack through seven games. Given how the linemen he plays next to arenít any good, Ratliff can expect to continue seeing lots of double-teams.