The NFL hands out weekly awards, and the 49ers Patrick Willis took home some hardware for Week 4. Willis was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his all around strong performance against the New York Jets. In possibly his strongest performance of the young season, Willis had ten total tackles, two pass deflections and an interception. The interception came in the third quarter on a Ray McDonald deflection of a Mark Sanchez pass.
It has become rather easy to overlook the continued strong performances of Patrick Willis amidst a deep starting defense. I don't think people have forgotten Willis, but it has become easier to point to so many other elements of the defense when discussing its greatness.
Given that Willis no longer has to be a complete Superman on every play, it opens the door for him to work on the more subtle things. He can play a bit more in coverage, he can spy certain players. I think having this kind of talent around him allows Willis to further develop his all-around game. He is already one of the best linebackers in the NFL. The more he can develop his all-around game, the more he can climb that all-time list. He has made it clear he wants to be considered among the all-time greats, and boosting that all-around game will only help.