Saluting the NFC South's Iron Men

When you think of iron men in the NFC South, think of Jon Beason, Tyson Clabo, Justin Blalock, Ryan Kalil, Keydrick Vincent, Travelle Wharton and Davin Joseph.

Those seven guys were the only players in the division to be on the field for every one of their team’s offensive or defensive snaps in 2009. The number of snaps varies by team, but in general terms, each team had somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 offensive snaps – and the numbers are roughly the same for the defense.

Beason was the division’s only defensive player to be on the field for every snap, but Tampa Bay linebacker Barrett Ruud was very close. He sat out four plays and was on the field for 99.6 percent of Tampa Bay’s defensive snaps.

Before I give you some other numbers, let me point out the numbers for the Saints are a little skewed because they had some blowouts and some games at the end of last season where they rested key players. These are the same numbers that are used by teams and the players’ union to calculate playing-time incentives.

Aside from the six offensive linemen who played 100-percent of the snaps, Beason and Ruud, here’s a team-by-team accounting of guys who played at least 95 percent of the plays on offense or defense.

Atlanta: Erik Coleman (99.2), Thomas DeCoud (97.5), Todd McClure (96.9), Curtis Lofton (95.4) and Mike Peterson (97.2).

Carolina: Chris Gamble (97.6) and Richard Marshall (97.6).

New Orleans: Jahri Evans (95.4), Jonathan Goodwin (95), Carl Nicks (99.7) and Jon Stinchcomb (95.9).

Tampa Bay: Ronde Barber (97.9), Donald Penn (99.1), Sabby Piscitelli (96.2), Jeremy Trueblood (98.5) and Jeremy Zuttah (98.9).