Wednesday, December 26, 2012
NFC South Pro Bowl analysis
By Pat Yasinskas
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Perfect sense: The best player in the NFC South -- and maybe even the NFL -- this season has been Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. He already has career highs in completions (394), passing yards (4,481) and touchdowns (31) and has completed 69 percent of his passes. More importantly, Ryan has led the Falcons to a 13-2 record and appears to have his team ready to make a run in the playoffs. New Orleans guard Jahri Evans also was a logical choice. A lot of people consider him to be the best guard in the league. Some people might be surprised Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy made the Pro Bowl, but they shouldn’t be shocked. This just shows what McCoy can do when he stays healthy for a full season. He’s a major reason why the Bucs have the league’s top-ranked run defense.
Made it on rep: Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez made it on his reputation and that’s not meant as a slight. That’s meant as a compliment. Gonzalez is widely considered the best tight end in history and this just shows how much fans, coaches and players respect him. Gonzalez was selected as the starter over Dallas’ Jason Witten in a season where Witten has broken the record Gonzalez set for receptions in a season by a tight end. This might be the ultimate sign of respect as Gonzalez has been selected to his 13th Pro Bowl.
Got robbed: We have two here. Let’s start with Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber, who won the fan voting at free safety, but apparently coaches and players didn’t give him as much support. That’s unfortunate. Barber’s made a very smooth transition from cornerback to safety and has recorded four interceptions. Barber is a Pro Bowl alternate, but the fact he wasn’t selected was costly. According to a league source, Barber’s contract called for a $1 million bonus if he were voted into the Pro Bowl.
The other guy who got robbed was Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White. Teammate Julio Jones did make the roster for the first time in his career. Jones is a very good receiver, but White still is Atlanta’s go-to guy. You could even make a case that the Falcons should have had way more than three guys in the Pro Bowl. They have the NFC's best record. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive lineman John Abraham and safety Thomas DeCoud come to mind as guys who have had Pro Bowl seasons.
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