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I feel like people were a little down on Chancellor’s 2012. Not a disappointment, per se, but just a little downturn in production. This in spite of the fact that he was 2nd on the team in tackles with an even 100. For a safety, I’d say that’s pretty damn good.
Granted, his peripheral numbers were down. No sacks, no picks, fewer pass deflections. But, I would argue that’s probably the norm for a guy like Chancellor. He’s not necessarily SUPPOSED to be a guy who’s out there covering receivers. And, truth be told, considering this team’s relative struggles with defending the run, it’s probably a byproduct of needing him to play more down by the line.
Still, he’s as hard-hitting as ever. There are guys who are fast, there are guys who talk a lot of shit, but there are few bad-ass enforcers on this defense. Guys who quietly go about with a seething contempt for the opponent, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Brandon Browner is one, but this team’s reigning hard-hitting champ is Kam Chancellor.
Some people are put off by Sherman’s antics. Some people think Earl Thomas is overrated. Not me, mind you; I think those guys are the best! But, Chancellor brings a level of respectability to this defense. Would I like more interceptions? Sure, who wouldn’t? I would also like a pass rush that could get to the quarterback while at the same time eliminating the opposing team’s ability to run. I would like a 4-man line so disruptive this team would never need to blitz ever, so it can just run 7 guys in the open field to wreak havoc. At that point, I think you’d see Chancellor’s numbers go through the roof. Of course, at that point you’d see a lot of numbers going through the roof throughout the linebacking corps and secondary.
Chancellor’s numbers will come. He’ll have years where he doesn’t get a pick; he’ll have years where he gets five. Those opportunities are more random than I think we give them credit for. He is one of a select few guys on this team who I’ll never worry about. He transcends numbers with his physical play. Other teams have to fear him, so other teams will think twice about running patterns in his general area. Guys will think twice about catching balls if they know they’re going to be popped. He’s a throwback to a bygone era in professional football. I’m just glad he’s on our side.