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Key Statistic: 48 solo tackles, 8 passes defensed, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble
It's hard to pick between Reed and Polamalu. Both are game-changers. Both are standout players. Both are perennial Pro Bowlers.
The difference, in the end, is that Polamalu is a little bit more fearsome.
He literally shows up everywhere. He gives opposing offenses fits because he can come in on a blitz, drop back into coverage, create a turnover or set up a big play by one of the team's linebackers.
Polamalu's best asset, and what sets him apart, is his ability to close on a receiver or runner and take them down before they make a big gain. Lots of receivers look open and there seems to be a ton of running space, but Polamalu can close gaps so fast that something that looks good for a first down can turn into a loss.
He's totally changed the way the position is looked at, as well, which means his impact and importance transcend the play on the field. He's having a season several defensive backs would die for, and those numbers are considered well off his usual pace. That's how you know you're a top player.
Ask a few quarterbacks who they fear most on an opposing defense. The odds are that several will say that they never want to play against a healthy Troy Polamalu.