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Other defensive players to remember along with Miller, who quickly has become the dynamic leader in Denver, and Peterson, include linebackers Ryan Kerrigan of Washington, KJ Wright of Seattle, Justin Houston of Kansas City, Jacquian Williams of the Giants, and two from Tennessee: Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy; linemen Aldon Smith of San Francisco, Adrian Clayborn of Tampa Bay, Marcell Dareus of Buffalo, Robert Quinn of St. Louis, Jabaal Sheard of Cleveland, Muhammad Wilkerson of the Jets, and two more from Tennessee: Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug; and backs Jimmy Wilson of Miami and Jimmy Smith of Baltimore.

One thing is certain: Any rookies who have played regularly for their teams in 2011 no longer can be considered untested. Indeed, Yates might go through the rest of his career without ever being challenged the way he is being now.