By Jerrell Richardson
What can eight tackles, two passes defended and an interception get you? Try Player of the Week Honors. After spear heading a defensive attack that completely shut down the New York Jets offense, Patrick Willis earned this achievement with his impressive stat line. It’s only fitting that after such a dominating defensive performance that it’s the teams middle linebacker who grabs the weekly accolade, and although Patrick Willis gets less attention than in the past, there is still no doubt that he is the driving force behind one of the best defenses in the league.
One Man Show
It used to be on Willis to do literally everything on his side of the ball. It was not uncommon for him to get 20 tackles in a game, but the addition of key players around him, namely NaVorro Bowman, has helped alleviate the constant pressure that was on Willis to make every play. His speed, agility and strength make him such an asset that the team can use him in a multiple of ways, and the result has been him no longer dominating the stat sheet, but making his presence felt in so many different ways. There is no denying that he is the best at the middle linebacker position.
Despite his prolific career, this is only the second time he has been named Defensive Player of the Week, the first time being in 2011. He earned Player of the Month Honors twice in 2007, but outside of that he has been relatively quiet in the week-to-week praise. However, he is a lock for the Pro Bowl year in and year out and he gets his recognition, although he would be satisfied without the awards and attention. In fact, he welcomed the attention this week spent on Brandon Jacobs.
Adding Another Weapon
After racking up 245 yards on the ground last week, the team is going to add another piece to the puzzle by welcoming Brandon Jacobs back to the field. The bruising running back has announced that he is ready for action, meaning bad news for the opposition. Jacobs had an impressive preseason and will just add another element to the team’s dynamic attack. His size makes him a perfect candidate for goal line and short yardage situations, but he also has great speed and quickness for a man of his size and can be inserted at any point on the field. The thought of him returning has added some excitement to a offensive line that is playing great as a unit.
Just In Time
The timing of Jacobs’ return also could not come at a more perfect time in the season. He will have fresh legs and should be able to give Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter a spell when needed. His value was always going to come in the second half of the season, so by missing the first few games, the team was not missing much, but it certainly will need Jacobs moving forward. Also, helping Jacobs’ motivation to get back to the field is that the next week is San Francisco’s much anticipated rematch against the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, his former team.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.