Friday, December 27, 2013
Pro Bowl selections: Arizona Cardinals
By Josh Weinfuss
TEMPE, Ariz. – Turns out no matter how hard Karlos Dansby campaigned to be chosen for his first Pro Bowl, it wasn’t enough.
Dansby was snubbed by all three components that went into voting for the 2014 Pro Bowl – fans, players and coaches. But the Cardinals are sending two defenders and a special-teamer to Hawaii.
A few weeks after cracking the top 10 of the all-time sacks leaders, veteran linebacker John Abraham was named to his fifth Pro Bowl for his third NFL team. Third-year cornerback Patrick Peterson doesn’t know what it’s like to not play in Hawaii in January, earning the third trip of his career. And in his second year, gunner Justin Bethel was chosen by the players and coaches after he was widely considered the best special-teams player in the NFL.
That’s five of Arizona’s 11 defensive starters. But the most obvious one missing was Dansby. He’s having a career season: ranked second in the NFL with 109 solo tackles and two defensive touchdowns. His four interceptions are 10th best in the league and he has 6.5 sacks to add. He’s had the most complete season of any linebacker but, alas, his peers and the coaches around the league didn’t think he was worthy of a lei.
The Abraham selection was a bit of a surprise, but with 11.5 sacks at age 35 after signing on the first day of training camp, it’s deserved. After spending the majority of his career as a pass-rush specialist, Abraham was forced into an every-down role in Week 3 and flourished, not showing signs of wear and tear or aging.
Abraham's 11.5 sacks are tied for fifth overall in the NFL and tied for third in the NFC. His 50 tackles are his most since 2005, his last season with the New York Jets.
Thanks mainly to Bethel, the Cardinals have forced opponents to start 53 drives inside their own 20-yard line, tied for the second most behind Kansas City’s 53. The Presbyterian College product also has 18 special-teams tackles, has blocked two field goals and recovered one fumble.
Peterson, who became the seventh player in NFL history to be selected to his third Pro Bowl before he turned 24, leads Arizona with 28 passes defended and has three interceptions to complement his 38 tackles.
Washington’s selection is impressive because he was named an alternate after he was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Campbell and Dockett are two-thirds of the league’s top rush defense and Fitzgerald has 10 touchdowns for the first time since 2009.