Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/6/12
The first several weeks of the season all everyone could talk about was the incredible play of the Texan's JJ Watt. In terms of getting pressure from the 3-4 DE spot, and tipping passes, Watt is in a league of his own. His incredibly displays week in and week out had many pegging him as a shoe-in for defensive player of the year, and possibly even MVP. However, the Bear's Charles Tillman has inserted himself into the debate recently with an equally impressive performances from the cornerback position. In his last 5 games he has racked up 5 pass deflections, 2 interceptions (both returned for touchdowns), and an incredible 6 forced fumbles, including 4 last week against the Titans. All told, Tillman has 7 forced fumbles halfway through the season, which is 3 more than any other player.What's impressive about both of these players is that they are doing things that players at their position are not supposed to do. A defensive lineman like Watt is not supposed to have more passes tipped than any cornerback in the league. And the 3-4 defensive end is supposed to be not much more than a guy who takes up space, whereas Watt has emerged as one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the league, leading the NFL in sacks with 10.5.On the other hand, cornerbacks are not supposed to force fumbles the way Charles Tillman has been forcing fumbles. Outside pass rushers are generally the ones who force the most fumbles because they get to hit the quarterback when he's not looking. Generally, corners are tackling receivers or running backs who get to see the corner coming and can protect the ball accordingly. This makes Tillman's feat all the more impressive and all the more demoralizing for opposing teams who often have receiver or running back gain yardage, only to have the ball stripped by Tillman.So which player's performance is more impressive? After a very hot start, teams have had time to adjust to Watt, but Watt has continued to play well, even though the hype surrounding him has died down a little. Tillman  got some recognition after back to back games with a pick six, but he has only really gotten serious attention after his last game. Tillman has always been good at forcing fumbles, but now every team that faces him will make it a huge priority to cover up the ball. It will be interesting to see if Tillman can keep up his incredible rate of forcing turnovers for the rest of the season. The other factor is the rest of the team's defense. While Houston possessed a very well rounded defense last year, with the loss of Mario Williams, Demeco Ryan and the injury of Brian Cushing to go Jonathan Joseph have a down year, this year the defense completely revolves around Watt. While Tillman has been the best player on the Chicago Bear defense, there have been other great performers this year from guys like Henry Melton and Tim Jennings, and they still have household names like Urlacher, Peppers and Briggs. Because of all this, I say that JJ Watt remains the frontrunner for now. But I also say that Charles Tillman's week 9 performance was the best defense performance of the year, and if he keeps forcing turnovers, he could move ahead of Watt. Both players get a chance to make their case on a national stage this Sunday when the Bears and the Texans face off on Sunday night football.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Peterson likely entering last season with Vikings

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Five NFL sophomores poised to break out in 2016

Tre Mason's family concerned about RB's mental health?

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker