KC Joyner feels Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is overrated.
Ferguson has the talent to be a great player, but he repeatedly failed to perform at that level last year. ESPN.com AFC East blogger James Walker agreed with this assessment, not only by not naming Ferguson to his 2011 All-AFC East team but also by saying that Ferguson "struggled at times this season and didn't play up to his usual standards" and suggesting that Ferguson's Pro Bowl berth was based on his "reputation and name recognition" as opposed to his level of play. For those needing more than the scout's-eye test, consider this: Ferguson gave up more sacks than pass-blocking liability Wayne Hunter.
This is the kind of stuff that makes me not a huge fan of Joyner's work. I think he too often takes raw numbers and eliminates the context. He did it last year with his claim that Chad Henne and Mark Sanchez were the same player. Sure the raw numbers might have looked similar, but it disregarded Sanchez's huge play in big moments and how Henne should have been further developed with three extra years of starting experience in college and an extra year under his belt in the pros.
I think Joyner has done it again here. There is no question Ferguson's 2011 was not up to his normal standards. This followed three years where he was one of the best tackles in the league. One bad year, and he's suddenly overrated? Isn't it more likely this was a blip on the radar?
It goes deeper, though. He throws out the stat that Ferguson allowed more sacks than Wayne Hunter. I appreciate that Joyner has to cover every team and doesn't have the luxury of studying things closely. That is a misleading stat, though. If you watch the two of them, there is a big difference. Ferguson certainly got beaten more than he has in the past, but a good chunk of sacks credited against him were because Mark Sanchez stepped into pressure or called the wrong protection against a blitz. Hunter's sacks were almost all him getting flat out whipped.
I completely agree that Brick went to the Pro Bowl on reputation in 2011. He was one of the best tackles in the league, however, in three of the last four years. He does have the reputation for a reason. One mediocre year doesn't change that.