2013 Cincinnati Bengals Player Preview: Domata Peko
December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko (left) sacks Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Domata Peko is a fan favorite for the Cincinnati Bengals for all of the same reasons that the Cincinnati organization appreciates his locker room value. He is the very definition of a high-motor player, whose effort often makes up for his lack of natural skill.
In 2012, according to Pro Football Focus, Peko was third in the league with 25 stops. On the other hand, he was graded seventh-worst against the run amongst defensive linemen. Is this an indictment against his value to the team?
No, Peko has earned the escalators that jumped his 2013 salary to $3.9 million, according to Rotoworld. Indeed, the problem lies more within his usage. Look at the list of nose tackles in 2012 that registered at least 20 solo tackles and 2 sacks.SacksTacklesMichael Brockers
Of those players, the flashiest stats belong to the nose tackles that do not play the most pure definition of the term. Rather, they play for penetrating, one-gap systems that play more even fronts and less of an odd, traditional alignment like Mike Zimmer’s defense uses.
In fact, as far as a traditional 1 or 0 technique alignment, in which the nose tackle eats up blocks, only Peko, Ngata, Knighton, Wilfork and Rubin fit that description. And it’s Ngata, who truthfully plays more 3 and 5 technique than traditional nose tackle, whose numbers are that much better than Peko’s.
No, the problem is the large amount of snaps that Peko plays are a huge detriment to his high-effort style. As shown after playing the Steelers last season, Peko wears down significantly as the game unfolds.