Wednesday, December 26, 2012
NFC East Pro Bowl analysis
By Dan Graziano
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Perfect sense: Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III ranks second in the league in passer rating behind Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and has 26l touchdowns (20 passing, 6 rushing) against just five interceptions. He has led the Redskins to the cusp of a division title in his first season, finished second in the NFC in fan voting and is a worthy and unsurprising selection as a reserve quarterback. The only other rookie quarterback ever to be selected to the original Pro Bowl roster (i.e., before people start dropping out and being replaced by alternates and such) was Dan Marino. ... I think Griffin's left tackle, Trent Williams, also made perfect sense, and he made it as a reserve tackle in his third season and one year after serving a four-game drug suspension. Williams has come a long way. ... Lorenzo Alexander is a special-teams ace, and his versatility there and at linebacker has been a major asset for the Redskins this season, as it is every season. Good to see him get recognized. ... The New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul and the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware are no-brainers as NFC starting pass-rushers. Even though neither has the sack numbers they'd like to have, they're still disruptive forces who command the attention of blockers and can dominate games. ... Jason Witten remains as reliable a tight end as there is in the league, especially in what's been a bit of a down year at the position. Witten has 103 catches for 983 yards to lead all tight ends in both categories.
Made it on rep: Giants guard Chris Snee is not having his best season, and I don't think he's even the best guard in the NFC East. I think the Philadelphia Eagles' Evan Mathis has outplayed him, especially considering Mathis has lost all four of his offensive linemates to injury, but the Eagles have no Pro Bowlers at all. ... Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is sixth in catches, ninth in receiving yards and fifth in touchdowns among NFC wide receivers. He's not a bad pick, but at least one other from this division could have made it ahead of him, as we'll address in the next portion of this post.
Got robbed: Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has scored at least one touchdown in each of his past seven games. He has six more catches, 271 more yards and three more touchdowns than Cruz. He's even playing with a broken finger. (Not that you get extra consideration for that, but while we're listing his accomplishments ...) Bryant has simply been a better player this year than Cruz, but Bryant is likely a victim of the fact that many of the impressions that lead to this voting are made early in the season and his season didn't turn otherworldly until mid-November. It was already a good season before that, though, and right now the only wide receivers better in the NFC are Calvin Johnson and maybe Brandon Marshall. ... Mathis, linebacker DeMeco Ryans and kicker Alex Henery are the Eagles who might have merited consideration, but linebacker is an overloaded position in the NFC and Henery lost out to a guy (Blair Walsh) who's 9-for-9 from 50-plus yards. Henery hasn't made any from that distance. ... You could argue that Anthony Spencer is having the better season at outside linebacker than teammate Ware. ... Redskins running back Alfred Morris is third in the NFC in rushing yards and has 10 rushing touchdowns and might have a gripe about Frank Gore's making it over him. ... Redskins center Will Montgomery surely should have made it ahead of Green Bay's Jeff Saturday.
Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.