Tuesday, December 28, 2010
NFC East Pro Bowl analysis
By Matt Mosley
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Perfect sense: I think right guard Chris Snee was the one New York Giants player who truly deserved to start, so the voters got this one right. And Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is one of the most feared pass-rushers in the league, so he deserved to make it as a reserve. Tuck's six forced fumbles probably helped him grab the final spot ahead of Eagles defensive end Trent Cole (nine sacks), who has been excellent against the run. I think the Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick was the most obvious choice in the division. He'll start at quarterback, and he'll be throwing to reserve wide receiver DeSean Jackson of the Eagles. Jackson was edged out for a starting spot by Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons. And considering that Jackson's numbers were down when he played with Kevin Kolb early in the season, it's understandable that he didn't receive a starting nod.
I thought Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and punter Mat McBriar were all no-brainers. Witten has 90 catches and he's lifted his game since Jon Kitna replaced Tony Romo in the starting lineup. Ware hasn't been as dominant as in the past, but he's still considered one of the two or three best pass-rushers in the league. And McBriar has had a phenomenal season. He's led the league in net and gross average for much of the season. But the Cowboys getting five starters while the Eagles only had four seems a bit ridiculous considering their records. I could go either way on Washington's DeAngelo Hall. He has six interceptions and eight takeaways overall, but it's not like he was a picture of consistency. He probably played well enough not to end up in the next category.
Made it on rep: The voters always seem to make major errors along the offensive line. Bears center Olin Kreutz was still starting after he'd faded as as a player. And though Giants center Shaun O'Hara is a good player, he missed way too many games (nine) to be named to a Pro Bowl team this season. Rich Seubert actually had a better season than O'Hara, but more players and coaches have followed O'Hara's work over the years. The fact that Cowboys center Andre Gurode drew a starting nod shows how much of a farce the Pro Bowl can be. Gurode's deserved to go in the past, but not this season. And as talented as he is, you have to say that Jay Ratliff's going on reputation this season. Surely a 5-10 team doesn't deserve five starters. Sometimes it helps to have that star on your helmet at voting time. I'm not sure where to put Eagles left tackle Jason Peters. I will admit that he played much better this season, so this is not as big of a sham as it was last season with him starting. But to me, Todd Herremans is the Eagles' best offensive lineman.
Got robbed: I know Hakeem Nicks missed a couple of games with a leg injury, but I thought he was deserving of Pro Bowl consideration. He has emerged as one of the best wide receivers in a division that is filled with talent at that position. I'm not sure Cowboys left tackle Doug Free was "robbed," but he was best offensive lineman the Cowboys had this season and is far more deserving than Gurode. Cole should have been in the mix, and I also think Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon had one of those under-the-radar nice seasons. Redskins safety LaRon Landry was on pace to make the Pro Bowl team, but an injury landed him on injured reserve. Was he robbed? Probably not. But he had a much better season than O'Hara -- and I think O'Hara would be the first to admit that.
One more name from the Redskins: I realize that rookie left tackle Trent Williams sort of limped into the end of the season, but I was very impressed with how he played in the first 11 games or so.
Click here for the complete Pro Bowl list. Update: Upon further review, I also think Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy should have received serious consideration. Cofield's one of the more underrated defensive players in the Beast.