I'm sure you guys are sick of hearing from me on Brooks b/c I've been detailing him for years now but it's nice to finally see him get a real shot, make the most of it and is now getting his recognition esp. outside this board. Like Davis, he turned his life around.
As far as straight production last year, his first year as a starting SAM in the 3-4, I matched up his key stats with all of the 3-4 LB's and you can see, collectively, we have the best unit in football despite some outstanding individual play by other SAM's, TED's (Bowman), MIKE's (Willis) & WILL's (Aldon Smith).
Brooks, right out of the gate probably had the 2nd or at least 3rd best season of every single SAM 3-4 LB in the game last year and his ability to play every snap, play the run (he actually led the team in TFL which are just like sacks), seal the edge (containment), drop back in coverage (in zone or man-on-man), make tackles, and provide consistent QB hits/pressures and 8 (1 in the playoffs) sacks and 1 FF is at the top of the list for SAM linebackers and a big reason we locked him up long term. Now he is in the best shape of his career, has security to play balls out, has a coaching staff that believes in him and will be helped next year by Justin & Aldon Smith taking up some of the double-teams he got ALL last season, including the playoffs.
The SAM position is VERY different from the WILL position and I hope people recognize that (just look at the links/numbers I provided blow). If Brooks were to get low double-digit sacks from the QB's sight-side, that is the equivalent of Aldon getting high double-digit sacks from the QB's blind-side. Brooks is also exceptional at recognizing runs vs. pass as evidenced by TFL and QB pressures on QB's in the RZ that lead to quick throws and incompletions vs. TD's. He lines up on the strong side (usually where the TE lines up) and therefore, was constantly double-teamed last year and still produced 8 sacks, 50+ tackles, tops on the team in total QB pressures/sacks. That's remarkable for playing "straight up" in a dumbed-down vanilla 3-4 last year.
Guys that play the glory positions such as the Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Carlos Rogers, etc. will get the "stats" but I'm partial to the blue-collar guys such as Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga and Ahmad Brooks. Thanks for posting this article and here is to year 2 of Fangio's defense that should be more exotic and even more successful for Brooks overall!
Aside from leading the team in TFL plus 56 tackles (39 solo) he was also 3rd on the team with 8 sacks, 15 QB hits and 46 QB pressures.
[ Edited by NCommand on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:07 AM ]