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Terrell Suggs Is Ravens "V-Factor"

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ESPN Insider did a story featuring one player from each team who you just can't plan to defend against. They call it the "V-Factor" in honor of Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, who is the most elusive player in the NFL. These players, whether they play safety like a baseball center-fielder or a tight end who lines up all over the place, to the linebacker who can put his hand in the dirt as well as he can drop into coverage, these are among the most difficult players to game-plan for.

For the Baltimore Ravens, they place that tag on OLB Terrell Suggs. Sizzle is that hybrid-type of player mentioned above, who can settle into a DE stance to rush the passer as well as he can track down a running back on the edge or even drop into the flat to pick off a swing pass and head to the end zone. Of course, there would be no argument from anyone of that "V-Factor" tag went to free safety Ed Reed, or even ILB Ray Lewis. On offense, that same degree of game-planning concerns go to defenses trying to isolate or just slow down all-purpose RB Ray Rice.

Click here for the link to the ESPN Insider story, but you'll have to be a registered user (which I am not) in order to read the entire story. However, click on the 'Jump' to see the write-up on Suggs as well as every other team's "V-Factor."

V-factors for every NFL team

Finding the Michael Vick for every team or, in other words, the ones you can't plan for


The Mag asked KC Joyner to pick the player most like Michael Vick for each of the NFL's 32 teams. Now, these aren't just guys who are game-breaking, home-run threats. They're also impossible to game-plan against: a safety who roams without tendencies or a tight end who lines up all over the field. Like Vick, V-Factors make an offensive or defensive coordinator's game week prep seem like one long nightmare.

 

 

 


 

 

AFC EAST

 

 

New England Patriots

Brandon Tate, WR
Want to know how Tom Brady tied for second in the NFL in yards per stretch vertical attempt (20-plus yards)? Look no further than Tate. His ability to break open on corner, post and go routes was key to the two-year pro catching six of 12 stretch vertical targets for 241 yards and two TDs last season.

 

 


 

 

New York Jets

Antonio Cromartie, CB
After five seasons of lockdown coverage, Cromartie might be the perfect defensive mirror to Vick himself. He plays tight in man-to-man (6.3 YPA, 17 passes defensed in 2010), has rapid reaction (18 career INTs) and, like Vick, knows what to do in the open field (302 INT return yards).


Miami Dolphins

Brandon Marshall, WR
The sixth-year vet's ability to shake off vicious hits over the middle made him the most productive pass catcher on dangerous routes (deep ins, crossing routes, etc.) in 2010. His completion rate of 88 percent (22 of 25 targets for 268 yards) was tops among receivers thrown to at least 20 times on such routes.

 

 


Buffalo Bills

Kyle Williams, NT
O-linemen should have an advantage over their defensive counterparts because they know precisely when the ball will be snapped. But that edge is lost against Williams. No defender anticipates a QB's count better than him, which is a big reason he led all D-linemen with 11 tackles for loss last year.

 

 


 

 

AFC NORTH

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Wallace, WR 
In his second season, Wallace proved to be the ultimate pick-your-poison player. Defenses tried to stop him vertically (16.6 yards per attempt on passes thrown 11-plus yards, No. 3 in the NFL). But giving him a cushion at the line allowed him to feast on short passes (10.2 YPA, No. 1 by more than a yard).

 

 


 

 

Baltimore Ravens

Terrell Suggs, LB 
The ninth-year pro gives offensive coaches migraines because he's so hard to pin down. Suggs can switch from a 3-4 rush LB to a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 cover LB with ease. And the moves don't limit his effectiveness: His 19 combined sacks and stuffs tied for fourth best in the NFL last season.

 

 


 

 

Cleveland Browns

Colt McCoy, QB
He's considered a pure pocket passer who can't escape pressure, but McCoy is better on his feet than you think. As a rookie in 2010, he was 8-for-16 for 133 yards, two TDs and no INTs on scramble plays for a 118 passer rating. In other words, teams can't just concentrate on keeping him in the pocker.

 

 


 

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Leon Hall, CB 
Receivers are touted for their ability to run the entire route tree, but let's give credit to the guys who are equally adept at uprooting them. In his four seasons, Hall has proved he's in that group, allowing fewer than 40 yards on eight of the 10 major route types and fewer than 20 yards on five of them in 2010.

 

 


 

 

AFC SOUTH

 

 

Indianapolis Colts

Jacob Tamme, TE 
Most NFL teams use two TEs only to set up the run. Not Indy. Defenses have long had to worry about Dallas Clark. But in his absence last season, Tamme, a three-year pro, posted a YPA (7.1) that came within 1.5 yards of Clark's average in 2009, when he had a career-high 1,106 yards.

 

 


 

 

Houston Texans

Mario Williams, DE/LB
Williams is this generation's Bruce Smith. He's always had a rare mix of size, speed and strength, but entering his sixth season, he now has an impressive array of blitz moves (48 career sacks). It's tough to block a 290-pound hybrid DE/LB, but when you have no idea how he'll attack, it's nearly impossible.

 

 


 

 

Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson, RB 
CJ2K has elite physical abilities, but he owes at least some of his success to the deceptive elements the Titans add to every type of run. Just watch the D try to catch him on a sweep-turned-counter fake, a rare play in the NFL. That's the kind of stuff that helped Johnson rush for 2,006 yards in 2009.

 

 


 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Brad Meester, C 
The Jags are one-dimensional, ranking 31st in pass attempts and third in rushes last year. You'd think that would make it easy for teams to stack the box, but not with this 12-year vet in the middle. His smarts and lane clearing are a big part of why the team tied for sixth in runs with good blocking (53.8 percent).

 

 


 

 

AFC WEST

 

 

San Diego Chargers

Antonio Gates, TE 
The corner route is the toughest to run -- and the hardest for CBs to cover. Last season Gates accounted for nearly 10 percent of all yards gained by NFL tight ends on such routes (935 total yards, receiving and penalty). It's yet another reason the eight-year vet is a seven-time Pro Bowler.

 

 


 

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles, RB 
There seems to be no limit to the number of screen plays the Chiefs run for Charles. In 2010, the third-year RB had the ball thrown to him on seven variations of the screen pass, and if that weren't enough, he lined up as a WR for four of them. His 45 catches for 468 yards both were career highs.

 

 


 

 

Oakland Raiders

Matt Shaughnessy, DE 
After two seasons in the league, Shaughnessy may not be a big name yet, but he's certainly one of the most active defensive linemen in the game. In 2010, he recorded a combined 66 tackles, sacks, passes defensed and forced fumbles, a total that ranked 20th among all linemen.


 

 

Denver Broncos

Brandon Lloyd, WR 
DBs hate tracking Lloyd on go routes (tops in 2010 with 21 completions/defensive penalties in 42 attempts for 612 yards). He's no easier when he cuts a go route short (6 of 8 for 119 yards).

 

 


 

 

NFC

 

 

NFC EAST

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Maclin, WR
Obviously, our V-Factor namesake is the most difficult player to scheme against. But Maclin is nearly as tough. He is the team's best receiverat selling one route and then running another. After two seasons and 14 TDs, he has a bagful of stop-and-go tricks to keep corners' heads spinning.

 

 


 

 

New York Giants

Hakeem Nicks, WR
The third-year receiver is eerily reminiscent of the retired Torry Holt. At the snap, he always lines up the same, whether it's a 40-yard go or a nine-yard hook. That ability to disguise routes drives corners mad -- they can't get a read on him. No wonder he burned them for more than 1,000 yards and 11 scores last season.

 

 


 

 

Dallas Cowboys

Jason Witten, TE
Jason Garrett is a master at disguising his plays. But he needs the right personnel to sell his subterfuge. Witten, coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, fits the part to a T. He can be used flexed out or in tight. The seven-time Pro Bowler even lines up as a wingback or RB on occasion.

 

 


 

 

Washington Redskins

Fred Davis, TE
Chris Cooley has a higher profile, but Davis causes more trouble for defenses. His go-to move: fake a block on a bootleg, sneak down the line and then shoot upfield (catches of 62 and 71 yards last season). It's a play that keeps opponents from clamping down on the slant run or bootleg pass.


 

 

NFC SOUTH

 

 

New Orleans Saints

Jimmy Graham, TE 
He's a matchup nightmare: 6-foot-6, 260 pounds with surprising speed and leaping ability. In 2010, Graham was a favorite target of Drew Brees' when he was flexed out wide, catching 20 of the 27 balls thrown to him (for 252 yards and four TDs). With Jeremy Shockey gone, Graham should grow into a premier tight end.


 

 

Atlanta Falcons

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
Rodgers, a small but durable fifth-round pick from Oregon State, has a chance to catch a lot of passes (151 career receptions in Corvallis) and is a perfect complement to Michael Turner's power style. He'll also be a major third-down threat.

 

 


 

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

LeGarrette Blount, RB
Nothing frustrates a defensive coordinator more than having his men play the run properly and still give ground. So it's safe to say any DC who faced this rookie last season was frustrated. He has a rare Earl Campbell like quality of gaining yards without holes, leading the NFL on runs with poor blocking (2.8 YPA).

 

 


 

 

Carolina Panthers

Jon Beason, LB
His skill set is rare: a superb tackler (121 or more stops in all four NFL seasons) who can also ballhawk (eight career INTs), cover (29 passes defensed) and occasionally rush the passer (four sacks). Expect Beason to register more turnovers and tackles for loss in Rivera's aggressive schemes.

 

 


 

 

NFC NORTH

 

 

Green Bay Packers

Clay Matthews, LB 
A zone blitz to a LB is like a changeup to a fastball pitcher -- the heater is dangerous, but it's deadly when set up by an off-speed pitch. When Matthews (13.5 sacks in 2010) is sent back into coverage, the ruse creates hesitation by a blocker on the next play. Then Matthews' pass-rush battle is already won.

 

 


 

 

Chicago Bears

Julius Peppers, DE 
Most defensive ends like to use their speed to beat the tackle to the corner. This nine-year vet (89 career sacks) can do that as well as anyone, but it's his deceptive ability to rush inside that keeps OTs honest. One step outside too soon and Peppers is already underneath and into the backfield.

 

 


 

 

Detroit Lions

Ndamukong Suh, DT 
He's so versatile that the Lions played him at every possible D-line position last season. Suh attacked the QB (10 sacks) from both end and LB; he was down in two- and three-point stances; and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says Suh could be used at MLB. No word on whether CB is in his future.

 

 


Minnesota Vikings

Chad Greenway, LB

In four years on the field, he's been a matchup buster. He's officially listed as a strongside LB, but the Vikings can switch him to weakside on any play. That's because Greenway has the strength to shed blocks and the speed to close the gap (league-leading 13 TFLs last season, excluding sacks).

 

 


 

 

NFC WEST

 

 

St. Louis Rams

Danny Amendola, WR 
He's the NFC version of Wes Welker: a short-pass, route-running master. The third-year Ram offers little vertical threat, which on paper should make him an easy cover. But he's so quick and decisive at the snap that he gets to a spot before the CB can react. Bradford has a five-yard gain any time he wants it.

 

 


 

 

Seattle Seahawks

Earl Thomas, FS 
Seattle gave its talented rookie a ton of freedom to roam the field last year. Thomas used it wisely, ballhawking (five INTs) and hunting down runners (76 tackles). He was one of only six safeties to notch at least 60 stops and five INTs. Scary to think what he'll do once he actually gets the hang of things.

 

 


 

 

Arizona Cardinals

Darnell Dockett, DT 
Since the seven-year veteran likes Twitter so much, Dockett (and his 80,000-plus followers) should enjoy this 140-characters-or-less description: Can play 1-tech, 3-tech, 5-tech & rush end & is willing 2 stunt inside 2 take out 2 blkrs 2 help teammates get 2 QB.

 

 


 

 

San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis, LB 
Every team enters a game against the 49ers with a plan to block him. But the four-year vet's career average of 9.4 tackles per game shows that few of them have found a scheme that works. Even if teams do get a man in front of him, Willis has the ability to evade him (26 career stuffs and 15 sacks).

 

 

 

KC Joyner, aka the Football Scientist, is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider. He also can be found on Twitter @kcjoynertfs and at his website. He is the author of an annual fantasy football draft guide, which is currently available for preorder, and "Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts."