Saluting NFC South's ironmen

Atlanta safety Thomas DeCoud was one snap short of being one of only a handful of defensive players to participate in 100 percent of their team’s snaps last season.

DeCoud was on the field for 1,021 of Atlanta’s 1,022 defensive snaps. Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett and St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis were the only players in the NFL to take part in 100 percent of their team’s defensive plays, according to snap counts used to calculate playing-time incentives.

Tampa Bay safety Mark Barron was the next most active player in the NFC South, sitting out only four snaps and taking part in 99.63 percent of his team’s defensive snaps, and teammate Ronde Barber was right behind him at 99.35 percent.

Other defensive ironmen in the NFC South included New Orleans linebacker Curtis Lofton (98.59 percent), Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David (98.24 percent), New Orleans safety Roman Harper (96.48 percent), New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson (96.13 percent), Carolina safety Charles Godfrey (93.72 percent), New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan (91.29 percent) and Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson (91.1 percent).

It’s far more common for offensive players to take part in 100 percent of their team’s snaps. Thirty-six offensive players (34 linemen and two quarterbacks) accomplished that last season. Atlanta tackle Sam Baker, Atlanta guard Justin Blalock, New Orleans guard Ben Grubbs and New Orleans center Brian De La Puente each participated in 100 percent of their team’s offensive snaps.

Tampa Bay’s Erik Lorig led all NFC South players in special-teams snaps, taking part in 80.71 percent.

Over the next few days, I’ll bring you complete playing-time breakdowns for all four NFC South teams.