The Wolfpacker

July 2013 Football Preview

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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■ pack pros What They're Saying What people around the NFL are saying about former Wolfpackers. ■ "I think he's a guy that's probably a little under the radar, but he controls that defense. He makes plays.To be an undersized guy, I would say he's the most physical linebacker I played this year. He's hard to block and he runs around the field, makes plays all over … he's a sideline-to-sideline linebacker." — Minnesota Vikings' fullback Jerome Felton on why he would rank Stephen Tulloch among the NFL's top 100 players on the NFL Network's countdown of the league's top players ■ "Nate is getting the first crack. He's a bright guy. He's naturally a strong-handed guy, a thick guy. He can move. He's got a chance to play at a higher level and we're giving him that opportunity to earn that." — Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on Nate Irving getting a chance to become a starting linebacker this spring, via the Denver Post ■ "We had fun together in college. We competed in college and jawed back and forth, it's good to know that's still there. I'm just excited to be here. It's going to be great to play with [Mario Williams] again. … We competed with each other and we always wanted the best out of each other because we knew we would get the best in return." — Buffalo Bills' free agent signee Manny Lawson after being reunited with college teammate Mario Williams (the duo recorded 39.5 sacks in their two seasons, 2004-05, together in Raleigh and then were firstround selections in the 2006 NFL Draft) ■ "Adding him, the veteran leadership, the presence, the respect factor, he's a guy that's a terrific blitzer and a physical presence. I think he can come in, especially during nickel and dime situations, and come down [close to the line] and play that second linebacker position like I did. He's physical enough to help out in the run game, but he can also cover tight ends. … It's a fantastic move. I think he'll help the Patriots immediately." — Four-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion safety Rodney Harrison on his former team's addition of safety Adrian Wilson, via the Boston Herald ■ "I think it's going to be Russell Wilson. I think he's going to really do well this year. He's going to bust out and will benefit tremendously from his first year. It may be hard to imagine he's going to get any better, but I think he's going to get a lot better, being he was a first-year starter, first time in the league." — Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll answering a question about who the team's breakout player will be in 2013 via ■ "Wolff ran well at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.44 seconds in 40-yard dash). He's a very smart player with outstanding athletic ability, which was demonstrated by his 39-inch vertical jump. He was a very productive three-year starter at NC State, and could work into the starting lineup in his first NFL season." — NFL. com senior analyst Gil Brandt, the former Dallas Cowboys' vice president of player personnel and longtime scout, on Philadelphia Eagles' rookie Earl Wolff Former Wolfpackers In The NFL Network's Top 100 Players Of 2012 51. Russell Wilson 63. Stephen Tulloch 72. Mario Williams the game before 2013 and Wilson was the first quarterback to earn the honor after being selected in the third round or later. Wilson finished the season having completed 64.1 percent of his throws for 3,118 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a rating of 100.0. He also rushed for 489 yards and four scores en route to franchise records for rushing yards by a quarterback and passer rating. In the playoffs, he added 572 yards and three touchdowns through the air, while running for another 127 yards and a score. Wilson was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Talk. His 11 regular-season and playoff victories tied for the second most in NFL annals for a rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats and Information. 2. Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills Williams tied for 17th in the NFL with 10.5 sacks, which was his highest total since he collected 12 quarterback takedowns in 2008. He also tallied 46 tackles, four passes defended and a pair of forced fumbles, despite a wrist injury that required surgery midseason. Before the surgery during the Bills' week eight bye,Williams had totaled 16 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a pass broken up. In the nine games after the operation, the defensive end upped his production to 30 stops, seven sacks, three passes broken up and two forced fumbles. 3. Stephen Tulloch, LB, Detroit Lions The starting middle linebacker totaled triple-digit tack- les for the fourth consecutive campaign, notching 112 stops (74 solo), 0.5 sacks, six passes broken up and a forced fumble.Tulloch paced his squad in tackles, while he tied for 29th in the NFL, and he started all 16 games for the third straight season (he has never missed a game due to injury in his professional career). 4. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers Rivers completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,606 yards with 26 touchdowns, but he also threw 15 interceptions, was sacked 49 times and lost seven fumbles. The field general ranked seventh in the NFL in completion percentage, tied for ninth in touchdown throws, 11th in passer rating and 17th in passing yards. 5. Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants The third-year veteran came into the season with a total of two professional carries, but exploded onto the scene as the Giants' goal-line back. Brown logged 73 totes for 385 yards and eight touchdowns, and he also hauled in 12 passes for 86 yards. His breakout campaign ended with a broken fibula in week 12, but he still finished tied for 11th in the league for most rushing touchdowns. He also tied for fifth for the highest yards per rush average among players with at least 70 carries (5.3). In addition, Brown showed that he was capable of being the main man. He was pushed into the starting lineup in week three at Carolina, and responded with a 113-yard, two-touchdown effort in his homecoming. He also started against Cincinnati, and totaled seven rushes for 65 yards and a score while pulling in five passes for 29 yards. ■ ■ By The Numbers: Philip Rivers 3 189 Only three quarterbacks have ever recorded four or more consecutive 4,000-yard campaigns — Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Career touchdown passes for Rivers, which ranks seventh among active signal-callers. He also ranks among the NFL's top 10 active quarterbacks in passer rating (94.5, fifth), completion percentage (63.6 percent, seventh), passing yards (27,891; eighth) and comebacks (13, ninth), according to 7 Seven straight campaigns since becoming the Chargers' starter in 2006, Rivers has thrown for at least 3,150 yards and 21 touchdowns. 46 From 2006-09, Rivers went 46-18 (.720) as the Chargers' starting quarterback and led them to the playoffs each year. He is 24-24 (.500) over the past three seasons. 61 Rivers has compiled a record of 73-46 (including the playoffs) as the Chargers' starter, which is a winning percentage of .610. 104 Games that it took for Rivers to surpass 25,000 career passing yards, which made him the seventh fastest to reach the mark out of the 63 players who have accomplished the feat. 119 Consecutive games that Rivers has started, including the squad's seven postseason tilts. 3,963.3 In seven years as the starter, Rivers has averaged 3,963.3 passing yards, 26.9 passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 94.8 per campaign. 4,710 Passing yards from Rivers in 2010, which led the NFL. He also paced the league with 34 touchdown throws and a passer rating of 105.5 in 2008. Rivers has thrown for at least 3,150 yards and 21 touchdowns in seven straight seasons in San Diego. photo by jason ivester 158  ■  the wolfpacker 156,158.Pack Pros.indd 158 7/1/13 3:49 PM

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