Getting the quarterback on the ground in the NFL often takes more than one man to accomplish. So who are the best pass rushing duos in the league?
#5 – Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil
Thanks to a heady move by GM Ozzie Newsome the Baltimore Ravens were able to steal Elvis Dumervil away from the Denver Broncos last year. His pairing with Terrell Suggs proved a boon for the defense that had just lost Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Together they combined for 19.5 sacks. However, both are over the age of 30, which limits their shelf life.
#4 – Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette
Rob Ryan was a big reason why the New Orleans Saints defense made such a remarkable turnaround on defense from 32nd in 2012 to 4th in 2013. It’s safe to say though that none of it would’ve been possible if he didn’t have Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette up front. Their combined 24.5 sacks was a huge boost last season and will remain the key for this group to continue flourishing.
#3 – Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson
Everything starts up front for the #2 Carolina Panthers defense and it is their two star defensive ends that lead the way. Greg Hardy has emerged as one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, notching 15 sacks by himself last season. Charles Johnson on the other side has remained a steady force for years, averaging double digit sacks since 2010. Neither is in any danger of losing steam, aside from Hardy’s recent arrest conviction.
#2 – Tamba Hali and Justin Houston
This tandem had 22 sacks in 2013. That might not sound like a lot, but when it’s pointed out that they missed a combined six games due to injury, it becomes very impressive. Tamba Hali has posted at least 11 sacks in three of the last four seasons while Justin Houston is becoming one of the best young rushers in the game, as evidenced by getting 11 last year in just 11 games.
#1 – Robert Quinn and Chris Long
At 27.5 sacks last season there is no question that Robert Quinn and Chris Long were a nightmare for opposing offenses. The St. Louis Rams duo is not only talented and still young, but also durable. Since joining forces in 2011 they have only missed a combined one game. That makes them the best NFL pass rushing duo in football.
New challengers in 2014
J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney
They haven’t even played a down together yet and already many NFL experts are putting the tandem of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney near the top of the board. That is how much talent the Houston Texans have put together. Considering Watt is just 25-years old and Clowney is a rookie, it’s also one that has staying power.
Von Miller and Demarcus Ware
By itself the idea of pairing Von Miller and Demarcus Ware together is imposing, especially knowing they will be playing with a lot of leads for the Denver Broncos courtesy of Peyton Manning. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t the Ware of five years ago, and Miller is coming off a bad knee injury.
Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers
Age and injury is also a concern regarding new Green Bay Packers teammates Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews. On paper it looks like a frightening pair, and if they play near their customary levels it will be. Still, Matthews has missed 11 games with various injuries dating back to 2010 and Peppers is 34-years old. The Packers are counting on a lot of luck to make this work.