- Reaction score
Think about what was the driving force behind 2016. It was the offensive line. We had an aging Witten, TWill, Dez, Beasley, and of course, Zeke. Not exactly the greatest show on turf. That offensive line made everyone look good. Even kept that defense off the field.
Beasley was pretty good, and teams hadn't figured that out yet. That helped a lot. Also helped that teams *hadn't* figured out that Dez wasn't that good anymore.
Even Zeke was something of a mirage. Looked like a generational talent. Turns out it was the oline that was generational. Three All Pros. Leary looking great PFF 80. Free ok PFF 68. Once Tyron and Frederick stopped making All Pro, so did Zeke.
I think it was AKOYE Media who made a video arguing that Zeke was doing worse post 2016 because he just didn't have the same holes after 2016. That was an attempt to excuse Zeke's drop in numbers. What it shows more clearly is that 2016 was all about the oline opening the holes, not the RB running through them.
One more difference maker in 2016. Lee was All Pro. He wasn't just good for himself, he improved the rest of the defense when he was out there. He couldn't make our defense great, but he did lift the defense up enough to make a dominating offense enough to make a dominating team.