Much talk has been made over the last few years, extolling the talents of Thomas Davis, and how he was playing at an All-Pro status as a Panther LB, before going down with the first of two surgery-causing knee injuries.
Whether he ever plays again is unknowable at this time, but our memories are filled with bright images of his stellar play in 2008 and 2009. His loss to the team (like this year's loss of Jon Beason) has caused great consternation among the fan base, and one gets the sense that most feel he is irreplaceable.
However...what I plan to show is that James Anderson has indeed replaced him, and matched him, in talent and accomplishments.
In 2008, TD made 113 tackles (92 solo, 21 assists), 3.5 sacks, and forced 2 fumbles.
In 2009, playing 7 games before his first knee injury, he had 61 tackles (48/13), 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs, and no FF.
He had played 3 years before those two, and 2 more this year before going down again, but those (2008 & 2009) were his time of stardom, and he was touted as coming into his own as a major force in the league at LB.
The total production for those 23 games was, therefore, 174 tackles (140/34), 5 sacks, 2 INTs, and 2 FF.
Now let's compare this with what James Anderson has done (incidentally, they're both 28, and started with equal apprenticeships for a few years, before their breakout years):
In 2010, JA made 130 tackles (101 solo, 29 assists), 3.5 sacks, 2 FF, and 1 INT.
In 2011, through 7 games, to date (an exact comparison to TD's activity in '09), he has 59 tackles (43/16), 1 sack.
The total production for those 23 games was, therefore, 189 tackles (144/45), 4.5 sacks, 1 INT, and 2 FF.
With the added responsibilities that Anderson has assumed this year, taking over the defensive alignment changes prior to the snap (against Drew Brees, he performed that brilliantly), I'd say he deserves recognition for belonging in the same class of talent as that with which we hold Thomas Davis.
Let's show that recognition by voting for James Anderson for the Pro Bowl (link).