Too early for Pro Bowl ballot, but here it is
While the NFL has the best intentions in the way it conducts Pro Bowl balloting, I think too many guys get in on reputations instead of performance.
I also think they should trash the actual game. Just name the roster for each conference and have everyone to Hawaii for creative contests that don't risk injuries, autograph sessions and a week of family fun. That would avoid the sixth AFC quarterback going because of injuries or back outs and ensure meaning to the Pro Bowler tag.
There is no way balloting for the fan's third of the voting should be open after Week 6, when some teams have played only five games. But it is underway.
The Internet makes it possible for the ballot to be almost all-inclusive.
But I just ran through the online ballot with an eye on the AFC South.
Each team got to list 11 starters on offense plus one extra -- a second running back, a third wide receiver or a second tight end. (It appears if a team didn't have a fullback, it could use that spot for another player eligible to carry or catch the ball.)
Here's how the four teams in this division broke down skill players on offense:
Houston: 3 WRs, 1 RB, 1 FB, 1 TE
Indianapolis: 3 WRs, 1 RB, 2 TEs
Jacksonville: 2 WRs, 2 RBs, 1 FB, 1 TE
Tennessee: 2 WRs, 2 RBs, 1 FB, 1 TE
Who lost out?
Well the Titans left off tight end Bo Scaife, who is the team's leading receiver, listing only Alge Crumpler at the position. To get him on the list, however, they would have had to pull running back LenDale White. Neither is a Pro Bowler, but Scaife has played better so far this year even though White has five rushing TDs in five games.
And the Jaguars left off Jerry Porter, perhaps knowing they weren't going to get much out of him after hamstring surgery late in the summer. He's been insignificant so far. Most likely the team went with seniority and couldn't see leaving off any of the six it nominated who have quality service time with the team. The Jaguards turned out to be dead on.
A couple other observations:
- Justin Forsett, recently cut by the Colts, is on the ballot as Indy's kick returner. Any Colts fan who is not a family member who votes for him just because he is/was their guy should be suspended for one NFL Sunday and not allowed to watch football or highlights on that day. Trust me, he'll get votes.
- Maurice Jones-Drew is on the ballot as Jacksonville's kick returner, when rookie Brian Witherspoon went into the weekend ranked in the NFL's top 10 in kickoff and punt returns. Witherspoon was out yesterday in Denver with a thigh injury. Witherspoon will get some votes from players and coaches, I bet.