In this new feature, we compile a list of the top five defensive players of the week, and let you vote on your favorite. This week, we start with a young defender who's making his name as the best at his position. Yes, the Shutdown Corner defensive player of the week is a ... shutdown corner. Go figure!
Against the Patriots two games ago, Revis limited Randy Moss(notes) to nothing but frustration and bubble screens. Last Sunday, he did the same to Steve Smith and picked off two Jake Delhomme(notes) passes to put his season total at four. While that may not sound too impressive, consider that as games go on, enemy quarterbacks stop targeting Revis. Once Tom Brady(notes) gave up on deep routes to Moss, he just settled for short stuff to Wes Welker(notes) instead. Like Nnamdi Asomugha(notes) and Champ Bailey(notes), Revis is at the level where he pretty much shuts down his side of the field all the time.
Dockett's performance was lost in the well-deserved hullabaloo over Vince Young's(notes) 99-yard drive, but it's worth mentioning, especially for an interior lineman. He racked up three sacks against the Titans, his fourth straight game with a quarterback takedown. Earlier in the season, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that Dockett was the best defensive player he'd seen all year, and games like the one Dockett put up against the Titans put some weight behind that praise.
Rhodes was benched after New York's Week 11 loss to the Patriots – he was one of the guys giving up all that yardage to Wes Welker while Revis was shutting down Moss. But he recovered nicely against the Panthers, picking off two Jake Delhomme passes (sensing a theme here?) as a dime defender. These were his first interceptions of the season, and a good turnaround for a 5-6 Jets team that desperately needs defensive consistency for any shot at the postseason.
The Eagles did all they could to gift a game to the Washington Redskins last Sunday, but the 'Skins couldn't capitalize on a botched onside kick to open the festivities and more of Andy Reid's weird fourth-down play calls. Part of the reason for the save was Samuel's ball-hawking in the first half – his two picks probably made the difference in a game neither team seemed to want to win. Samuel's now tied with Green Bay's Charles Woodson(notes) (who will probably win this award at least once) for second in the NFL in picks with seven, and don't you think Bill Belichick missed the ex-Patriot when he was wracking his brain, trying to figure out a way to stop Drew Brees(notes) on Monday night?
This was, without question, the season's best performance by any player who changed his name to honor the movie "Teen Wolf." After a slow start to the season, White was dominant against the Falcons, amassing 2.5 sacks as Atlanta tried to put a game plan together with backup quarterback Chris Redman(notes). The Falcons did overcome the woeful Bucs with a late touchdown pass from Redman to Roddy White(notes), but Stylez's performance in this game was a rare bright spot for a team that has seen its defense reach disaster status.