Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Rapid reaction: Pro Bowlers
By Mike Reiss
Some quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots' seven Pro Bowlers and the rest of the AFC roster:
1. Of the Patriots' picks, the one that could be argued as "generous" is guard Logan Mankins. He's only played in nine games this season, and because of injury, hasn't played at his usual high level. The other thought, however, is that the overall guard field might not be strong.
2. In the fan voting, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was well behind Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and Cincinnati's Geno Atkins, but he was ultimately named a starter. That is a reflection that Wilfork has great respect among fellow players as well as coaches, as they account for the final two-thirds of the vote.
3. Two Pro Bowls in a row for special teamer Matthew Slater. Similar to Wilfork, he was in fourth place when the fan vote closed, but leaped to the No. 1 spot after player and coach voting. There is only one special teamer selected, which further highlights how Slater is viewed.
4. Seeing Jets safety LaRon Landry on the list served as a reminder that the Patriots brought him to town on a free-agent visit this past offseason. Given some of the struggles the Patriots have had at the position, that's a decision that perhaps the team would like back.
5. As is usually the case, there are some selections that seem way off. It's an imperfect process. But one thing I've learned is that this honor means a lot to players, imperfect or not. To be voted among the best players in the game, especially by other players and coaches, carries great meaning to most players.