When I tweeted Friday that Channing Crowder is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, one of my followers answered my tweet in stinging fashion. If Crowder cannot play Sunday as expected, after not practicing all week on an injured knee, my follower noted the inside linebacker will not have any fewer tackles than he had last week against Oakland.
But it is true. Crowder, even when healthy this year, has not exactly posted impressive statistics. After missing the first four games with some sort of abdominal/groin injury, Crowder has only 22 tackles in 7 games.
That averages out to slightly over three tackles per game. That's good for a cornerback or a nose tackle. But it is not very good for an inside linebacker. Karlos Dansby, by comparison, averages more than seven tackles per game.
Crowder has had five tackles or more in a game only once this year, when he collected six against Chicago. Dansby has had five tackles or more in a game nine times.
That's not the most frustrating thing. It would be acceptable if Crowder wasn't a tackle machine but came up with timely plays -- momentum-changing plays here and there. He hasn't been doing that, either.
He doesn't have a sack. He doesn't have an interception. He doesn't have a forced fumble. He doesn't have a recovered fumble.
That doesn't mean Channing Crowder isn't a solid player. It does mean he's just not having an eye-opening season. And he's not a big contributor.
Tim Dobbins would be the expected starter for Crowder if he sits out as expected.