Found November 20, 2012 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
New-england-patriots
Ninkovich has six sacks and five forced fumbles. Sunday’s sack, fumble forced, and fumble recovered trifecta was a play that has summarized the fantastic season Rob Ninkovich is having. Outside of Vince Wilfork has there been a more consistent performer on the Patriots defense this season than Ninkovich? In a defense full of question marks you’d be hard-pressed to find a better answer. The fourth year Patriots defensive end/outside linebacker out of Purdue is in the midst of his best NFL season. Through ten games Nink has 6.0 sacks and an incredible five forced fumbles which has him tied for third in the NFL. Even more is the consistency with which he is doing it. It’s not like he has done all of his damage in one or two games – Ninkovich has logged at least 0.5 sack in six out of the last seven weeks. Here’s a look at his sack and forced fumble production by week: Week 1 - Week 2 – 0.5 sack Week 3 - Week 4 –  1.0 sack, 1 forced fumble Week 5 – 1.0 sack, 2 forced fumbles Week 6 - Week 7 – 0.5 sack, 1 forced fumble Week 8 – 1.0 sack Week 9 – bye Week 10 – 1.0 sack Week 11 – 1.0 sack, 1 forced fumble After playing last season predominantly with his hand up at the outside linebacker position while Andre Carter and Mark Anderson manned the defensive end spots, Ninkovich moved to the defensive end spot this season opposite rookie Chandler Jones. In recent weeks the Patriots got a bit thin at linebacker and Nink seamlessly shifted back outside too. The versatility he has provided has been paramount and reminiscent of an old number 50 – Mike Vrabel. Each Big 10 school product bounced around the league for a bit before finding a home in New England. While Ninkovich will need several more years of similar or greater production to get on the level of the ultra-solid Vrabel, Nink is carving out a niche as a selfless and consistent performer. If they Patriots have it their way they will have nine or ten more games. There is still a lot of season left and hopefully Nink can do what he’s been doing best at the rate at which he is doing it. If so, it will go a long way in shoring up this defense for a championship run.
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