Jump to content

NFL.com's 5 Most Indispensible Non-Quarterbacks (Revis makes the list)

Bleedin Green

Recommended Posts


Calvin Johnson, Ray Rice among most indispensable players


NFL executives form contingency plans to deal with the loss of key players during portions of the season, but some guys are just impossible to replace. These blue-chip players are not only the pillars of their respective teams' game plans, but they are absolutely indispensable in terms of production and impact.

While most quarterbacks would automatically qualify as indispensable players -- think about how much the Chicago Bears missed Jay Cutler last season -- there are a handful of non-QBs whose loss would severely cripple their respective teams' chances of succeeding. Here are five players who are simply irreplaceable:

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Quarterback Matthew Stafford's health is critical to the Lions' playoff hopes, but Johnson is unquestionably Detroit's most important offensive weapon. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds with sub-4.4 speed, Johnson is a freakish athlete with uncanny explosiveness and agility. He blows past defenders with speed and quickness on vertical routes while relying on his size, strength and athleticism to create separation on intermediate routes. Johnson is capable of executing every conceivable pattern on the route tree. This is key because the Lions deploy their top weapon at various spots, taking advantage of his ability to win against single- or double-coverage. This not only serves as an effective counter to defensive tactics, but it creates isolated matchups for Titus Young, Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew, who reap the benefits by gobbling up yards and touchdowns.

Clearly, "Megatron" is the straw that stirs the drink in Detroit.

Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets

At a time when the term "shutdown corner" is loosely applied to any defender assigned to cover the opponent's No. 1 receiver, Revis is head-and-shoulders above his peers at his position. He routinely snuffs out the opposition's top playmaker with little assistance from safeties or linebackers. In addition, Revis has the capacity to line up on either side of the formation or in the slot, illustrating his versatility and technical savvy. Coach Rex Ryan has built his defensive system around Revis' exceptional skills as a one-on-one pass defender, with the rest of the defense playing various zone, combination or blitz coverages around him. Revis allows the Jets to theoretically take away one half of the field; they can use the remaining 10 defenders to load up against the run or pass.

The Jets' defense has ranked first, third and fifth in total defense over the first three seasons of the Ryan era. It's safe to say Revis' remarkable skills have been a critical element of this success.

Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback Joe Flacco's responsibilities increase with the Ravens incorporating more no-huddle offense in 2012, but the weight of the unit remains on the shoulders of Rice. He is the quintessential featured back in the NFL, with a game that is solid in all aspects. Rice can run effectively inside and produce explosive plays in the passing game on screens or swings; he is one of the few backs with the ability to stay on the field in any situation.

Most importantly, Rice is extremely durable, allowing him to take over games when the Ravens need him most. He became the driving force of Baltimore's offense down the stretch last year, tallying 100-plus yards from scrimmage in each of the Ravens' last five regular-season games (of which Baltimore won four). While the Ravens will put the ball in Flacco's hands to win games early in the season, you had better believe Rice will remain the focal point of the offense once it gets down to crunch time.

Charles Woodson, DB, Green Bay Packers

Woodson is on the downside of an illustrious career, but he remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. He has mastered the nuances of playing the ball as a pass defender while developing a knack for prying the ball loose from runners. Woodson is also a terrific rusher with great instincts for squirting through cracks to reach the quarterback.

Given his diverse skill set, the Packers have utilized Woodson in a variety of roles, to put him closer to the action at all times. He flows from cornerback to nickel corner to strong safety, depending on the personnel package, making him the most versatile defender in the lineup and an irreplaceable weapon in coordinator Dom Capers' scheme.

DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys

Ware has been arguably the most dominant defender in the NFL since he entered the league in 2005. He has racked up 99.5 sacks, forced 27 fumbles and provided the Cowboys with a host of disruptive plays. Ware's success as a pass rusher stems from his explosive first-step quickness and relentless motor. He simply wears down opponents with endless energy, and his ability to routinely generate sacks based on extra effort makes quarterbacks uneasy in the pocket.

What makes Ware even more impressive is his ability to consistently get to the quarterback without having a legitimate rushing threat complementing him on the opposite side. Only once in Ware's career has another Dallas pass rusher accumulated 10-plus sacks (Greg Ellis recorded 12.5 in 2007). Ware is routinely forced to face double- and triple-teams, yet he produces at league-high levels.

Simply put, it's hard to imagine Dallas' defense being effective at all without this perennial Pro Bowler in the lineup.

Definitely an interesting list, although it obviously needed the contingency to exclude QBs otherwise all of these guys, as great as they are, would be pushed way down the list. Although I'm not so sure about Woodson on this list either way at this point in his career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mangold is more irreplaceable than Revis on the Jets. If mangold suffers a serious injury, this team is DOA

This team imploded without him last year, and they STILL didn't get a Plan B at Center (ANOTHER Mr T. Mistake)!!


While I have no clue if it would work, they have more of a plan this year than last. The plan this year if Mangold goes down is they slide Slauson over to center and bring in Vlad or Schlauderaff at guard. That's at least a better plan than signing an undrafted rookie off of another team's practice squad to start.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mangold only gets the nod on our team, not because of how much better he is than your average NFL caliber starting center, but because our GM refuses to have a NFL caliber backup on our roster. He is certainly a phenomenal player and best center in the league, but the dropoff between him and the next guy isn't as close to the impact that Revis has on this defense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This article is an oxymoron. There's no such thing an indispensible non-QB.

Indispensible players in the NFL:

Aaron Rodgers

Tom Brady

Drew Brees

Eli Manning

Matthew Stafford

Cam Newton

Andrew Luck

Robert Griffin III

End of list.

Yeah, I agree with you there. When I first saw this article my immediate reaction was "where the **** are the QBs?". Then I read it and realized what was going on. And I wouldn't even make the list as long as you did, considering those last two still need to prove they are such, otherwise you need to start throwing every top pick at QB on that list and we all know that's not going to happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree with you there. When I first saw this article my immediate reaction was "where the **** are the QBs?". Then I read it and realized what was going on. And I wouldn't even make the list as long as you did, considering those last two still need to prove they are such, otherwise you need to start throwing every top pick at QB on that list and we all know that's not going to happen.

I was really just going with "indispensible as of today's date". Obviously, Luck and RGIII may prove to be dispensible, but right now not a chance. It's the whole reason you draft a QB # 1, you're paying for potential. Just look at how many picks Washington gave up just for the chance that Griffin III is the real deal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

QB's are indispensible if you do not have a solid backup and solid coaching

The Pats lose Brady opening day in 2008. They put Cassel and with BB they still go 11-5

The Colts lose Manning last year and they win 1 game.

If the Giants ever lost Eli they would be screwed with Carr as the backup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...