Monday, December 27, 2010

New Iron Man

Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson set a team record this past Sunday, with his 112th consecutive game, passing Peter Boulware. (Boulware is the team's career leader in sacks, though Terrell Suggs is just 2 sacks away from taking that record.) 112 games is seven seasons of 16 games; less if the record counts playoff games, as I assume it does.

Seven years is a long time to stay active in football, at a position like linebacker. You might think Ray Lewis sets the standard for durability among Ravens linebackers (and of course you'd have a point), but Ray-ray missed 2 games in 2007, and 2 the year before. Jarret Johnson just kept trucking along.

JJ is an interesting player.
Obviously he's an important cog in the Ravens defense. He became a full-time player in 2005, having absorbed Rex Ryan's multiple system in his third year. He belongs to a class of players whom I think of as "just sub Pro Bowl players". If he were just a smidge faster, he would have a lot more than the 17 1/2 career sacks he has; but he does get QB hurries. If he had just slightly better hands, he would have more than the 3 career interceptions he has; but he does have 18 passes defensed. His physical gifts are not elite, at least not elite for the NFL. But he is smart, tough, reliable, sound. He is a great football player.

JJ was drafted out of Alabama, and he is the only 2-time captain in Alabama football history. Alabama is Ozzie Newsome's alma mater. To me this highlights two things about Ozzie: (1) he is very aware of Alabama players, and SEC players in general; and (2) he scouts for leadership as a trait just like 40-times and bench press reps. That would go part way toward explaining why Ozzie would spend a 4th-rd pick on an undersized defensive tackle, move him to linebacker, and be willing to wait a few years for him to develop into a player.

A tip of the cap to the Ravens new Iron Man.


  1. Noting that this is an indeed a very solid streak for a linebacker, it does make the 208 consecutive starts by Derrick Brooks all the more impressive... 13 straight years.


  2. Yeah. I assume Derrick Brooks is wafting into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He played in 2008, so won't be eligible for a couple years.

    I hope I didn't imply that Jarret Johnson's team record is anything close to the NFL record, or is even "high" for a team record for consec starts. The Ravens are still a very young organization: all their team records are pretty low numbers. Joe Flacco became the team's career leader in every passing stat over the last few weeks – attempts, completions, yards, TD passes – and he hasn't even finished his 3rd season yet.

    "Solid" is a word I should have used in conjunction with Jarret Johnson. That's exactly what he is: solid.

  3. No, not cutting down his accomplishment at all. 112 games is a hell of a streak at any position in this league, given injuries, coaching/personnel/scheme changes and still performing well enough to deserve to play. Most players would love to have that streak. Just calling out that Brooks is pretty freakin' incredible, given Johnson's streak as a benchmark.

  4. "He is a great football player."

    I agree with your comment on "solid" more than "great." He's not a great player IMO. He misses his fair share of plays and I don't see him ever making the Pro Bowl. I don't remember, one or two years ago he had a terrific year for him, and he didn't make it then. I don't think he ever outperforms that level.


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