Thursday, December 15, 2011
Division struggles in Pro Bowl voting
By Dan Graziano
A down year in the NFC East is reflected not just in the standings but in the Pro Bowl fan balloting as well. Fans' votes count for one-third of the final Pro Bowl decisions, which will be announced Dec. 27, so we won't know anything final until the player and coaches' votes are added in. But if it were up to the fans, as of now, our division would have just two Pro Bowl starters -- the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, who's the leading NFC vote-getter at outside linebacker, and the Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Babin, who's second in voting among NFC defensive ends.
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is the division's leading vote-getter so far, and No. 8 in the entire league in fan votes. But he trails Minnesota's Adrian Peterson by nearly 60,000 votes among NFC running backs.
The league only released the leaders at each positions and the overall top 10 so far, but I have applied my considerable investigative reporting skill to obtain more detail. Either that or Pat Yasinskas has a document that shows the top five at each position so far and he let me look at it.
The New York Giants' Eli Manning is fifth in Pro Bowl voting among NFC quarterbacks, behind Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford. It's not even close, actually. Manning has 316,687 votes. Stafford, in fourth, has 451,469. Poor Eli just can't get any respect. I wouldn't expect much help either from the player vote, since it was the players who left Manning off their list of the NFL's Top 100 players when that list was a big deal last summer.
Manning's receivers don't get any love either, as neither Hakeem Nicks nor Victor Cruz cracks the top five. Of course, as many have pointed out to me recently, Cruz isn't even on the ballot, since he wasn't listed as a starter when the season began. Neither was Giants' defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, even though he started the opener with Osi Umenyiora hurt, so he's not among the top five in voting for defensive end. Umenyiora is, though. Seriously. He's fifth in the NFC in defensive end voting. Babin, as I said, is second, behind only Minnesota's Jared Allen.
The Cowboys' Tony Fiammetta ranks fifth in the fullback voting, well behind leader John Kuhn of Green Bay. Jason Witten is third among tight ends, behind the Saints' Jimmy Graham and the Falcons' Tony Gonzalez. And the Giants' David Baas is the only offensive lineman in the division in the top five at his position, ranking third among NFC centers.
The Eagles' Cullen Jenkins is the third-leading vote-getter among NFC defensive tackles, behind Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and San Francisco's Justin Smith. And the Washington Redskins' Brian Orakpo is the third-leading vote getter in the NFC at outside linebacker, behind Ware and Green Bay's Clay Matthews.
Philadelphia cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is third in fan voting among NFC cornerbacks, behind Charles Woodson of the Packers and Carlos Rogers of the 49ers. The Eagles' Kurt Coleman ranks fifth in voting at the strong safety position. And the Giants' Antrel Rolle and the Cowboys Gerald Sensabaugh are third and fifth, respectively, among NFC free safeties.