Florham Park, N.J.: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Jets opponent this coming Sunday has a young, pass-rushing, game-changing linebacker. Whether it be Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt or Aldon Smith, the Jets routinely go against guys they just can’t seem to get their hands on.
The Arizona Cardinals present to you, Daryl Washington. The Cardinals second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft (47th overall) has nine sacks this season, which is one shy of the franchise’s single-season mark by a linebacker and there are five games remaining. With his 10th sack, Washington would become just the fourth inside linebacker in NFL history to record at least 10 sacks in a season (since the sack became an official statistic in 1982). He will be the first Cardinals player with double digit sacks since Bertrand Berry in 2004.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an inside linebacker, have I don’t know, whats he got nine sacks already?” said Rex Ryan. “So that’s something you don’t see everyday. A guy with that kind of production blitzing the quarterback.”
Washington is not flying under the radar, either. Here are some of the Midseason All-Pro lists the linebacker has made: Pro Football Weekly All-Pro, Sports Illustrated.com All-Pro, Yahoo! Sports.com All-Midseason team, CBS Sports.com All-Pro team and even received Fox Sports’ Terry Bradshaw NFL Defensive MVP.
Washington finds his name sixth on the 2012 NFL sacks leaders, behind San Francisco’s Aldon Smith, Houston’s J.J. Watt and Miami’s Cameron Wake—all players the Jets have faced this season. Let’s look at how they terrorized the quarterback to try and predict what Washington can possibly do.
Aldon Smith: Four tackles, three solo, two sacks, two tackles for loss and one QB hit.
J.J. Watt: Six tackles, four solo, one sack, one tackle for loss, three pass deflections (J.J. Swatt!) and two QB hits.
Cameron Wake (two games): Six tackles, five solo, one sack, one tackle for loss and four QB hits.
You can almost guarantee Washington is going to end up getting to Mark Sanchez more than once, whether it remains in a sack or not is to be determined. Washington joins Green Bay’s Clay Matthews as the only two defenders in the NFL with at least 14 sacks and three INTs since 2011.
And if you don’t know, now you know.
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