Friday, December 27, 2013
Pro Bowl selections: Detroit Lions
By Michael Rothstein
He had the best season of his career, led the NFL in interceptions a good portion of the season and week after week made plays for the Detroit Lions.
Yet DeAndre Levy saw Friday night come and go without what would have been a Pro Bowl selection, something that seemed likely throughout the season.
Only two Lions are definite Pro Bowlers this season, as receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh were picked. What is more surprising is the players who were named alternates -- and those who weren't.
That's where the real surprise of Levy comes into play. He wasn't even named as an alternate despite having career bests in interceptions (six) and tackles this season. He was also a main component of why the Lions were among the top run defenses in the league and was a constant screen snuffer-outer.
But what probably hurt Levy is playing in a 4-3, where outside linebackers aren't going to bring in some of the statistics those who play in 3-4 defenses do. So that may have hurt his candidacy; he was only 10th among fans and not known among players and coaches.
Equally surprising to Levy not being included were two other snubs as alternates -- rookie guard Larry Warford and center Dominic Raiola. Raiola had the best season of his career and Warford was considered by Pro Football Focus as one of the top five guards in the league -- period -- and one of the top rookies in his entire class.
Then there are the alternates who were selected -- and two of them are surprising, too.
Reggie Bush makes sense. He is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing and is eighth in the NFL (1,447 yards) in total yards from scrimmage.
The other two are more questionable. Nick Fairley is an alternate at defensive tackle despite having a decent, but inconsistent, season for the Lions even though he had fewer tackles and sacks than he did a season ago.
There is the case of quarterback Matthew Stafford, another alternate. Stafford had an elite first half of the season and a terrible second half of the year, yet could end up in Hawaii.
Through the first half of the season, he completed 62.4 percent of his passes, 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Then came the second half, when he completed only 52.5 percent of his passes, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. And in that, the Lions skidded from 6-3 to out of the playoffs at 7-8 entering the final week of the season.
But he has a chance to go to Hawaii.
So some good and some bad for the Detroit Lions, but more interesting decisions than anything else.
Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.