The buzz being generated by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn is starting to swell from a distant vibration to a deafening tremor.
It’s been a long process for the former No. 14 overall pick out of North Carolina in 2011, but Quinn is really starting to develop into the nightmare pass rusher the Rams envisioned back when they used that selection on him a few years ago. What’s really been a pleasant surprise this season is Quinn’s ability to use a variety of moves to get around opposing offensive tackles. In the past he would rely solely on his superior athletic ability to evade blockers which worked well in college but not so much at the professional level.
His newfound confidence in these different pass rush techniques has allowed Quinn to really thrive in a variety of different ways. Sure 12 sacks in 10 games to start the season along with five forced fumbles will cause the rest of the league to take notice, but Quinn’s monster season has some touting him as a legitimate NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Who better to make a case for you when it comes to an award than a colleague who lines up alongside of you in the trenches week after week in fellow defensive end Chris Long. He told ESPN:
“To me, he’s the most dominant defensive player in the league, and if he’s not in contention for all those awards, I think people are being lazy and not watching football. He’s been one of the most dominant forces in the game. I’m not surprised by it in the least bit. He’s worked hard and he deserves the recognition.”
Long is no slouch himself with 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble on the season, but he actually returned Quinn’s most recent handy work for a 45-yard touchdown on a sack strip of Andrew Luck against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10. There two have a great relationship with the duo actually coining themselves a fun – albeit clunky – nickname in the offseason of ‘Thunder Storm’.
Production speaks volumes to your peers in the NFL, and Quinn has been improving by leaps and bounds year after year since entering the league. His 5.0 sacks as a rookie were more than doubled last season with a total of 10.5. This year he’s already at 12.0 with a half dozen games remaining so might he see another double in 2013?
Rest assured if that happens the third-year pro will be a cinch as the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.