So as we all know the Rams are huge underdogs this week. They are playing the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers who are the first team since the 2000 Rams to start 5-0 after winning the Super Bowl. They are on top of their game and look like they will be in position to get the top seed in the NFC this year.
When I was thinking about which players would be my players to watch, I was thinking "Damn, almost every player is a player to watch, they are loaded!!" It took me a while but the first player to watch I decided on is Charles Woodson. Even at his age, he is one of the best defensive players in the game and he is always a threat.
After the jump a breakdown on Woodson.
Charles Woodson is one of the best corners in the game, though I hesitate to put the label of corner on him. The Packers use nickel defense around 60% of the time and Charles Woodson is the key guy who lets them do that. When they are in nickel Woodson is in the slot playing a hybrid of a LB and a nickel corner, much like what my Fighting Illini do with Trulon Henry. Expect him to be in that position against the Rams on Sunday.
From the nickel CB/LB position Woodson can do anything and that's why he is so dangerous. He can cover very well for his age, he always has great timing when Dom Capers blitzes him off the edge, and he is a very strong man for his size which allows him to defend the run very well. With all that in mind the most dangerous thing about Charles Woodson is that he is a guy who forces turnovers.
Over his 12+ year career he has 50 interceptions, 22 forced fumbles (also caused Brady to "fumble" in the famous tuck rule game), and he has 11 TDs. Last year he forced five fumbles and had 2 INTs, and in 2009 he won the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
This year his tackle numbers are down. He is averaging 3.6 per game which would give him about 58 tackles for a year. A long way off the pace of the 92 he had last year, but that was a career high for Woodson. Woodson already has more INTs this year, three, than he did last year. He also has 4 pass deflections so his pass defense is still at the top of his game. His rush defense from what I've seen has been just as good as always.
The fact is Woodson is as good this year as he's ever been and the Rams will have to watch out for him.