Tuesday, January 22, 2013
NFC West Pro Bowl update as Fitz added
By Mike Sando
An updated look at NFC West players named to the Pro Bowl after the NFL announced Larry Fitzerald's addition to the NFC squad:
Named to team initially: cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Named to team as an alternate: receiver Larry Fitzgerald, replacing the injured Brandon Marshall; and inside linebacker Daryl Washington, replacing Super Bowl participant NaVorro Bowman.
Comment: Fitzgerald ranked 20th among NFC players in receiving yards this season. He ranked 16th in receptions. He ranked tied for 29th in receptions. Other players would have been more deserving as alternates. I went back to see if Fitzgerald were snubbed when he missed the Pro Bowl following the 2004 and 2006 seasons, just to see if his selection to the squad this year might qualify as a make-up call. That was not the case. Fitzgerald did not have Pro Bowl-caliber stats during those seasons. However, Fitzgerald has earned his high standing in the league. He's a great player even though he didn't have a great season for reasons relating directly to the Cardinals' issues at quarterback.
San Francisco 49ers
Named to team initially: Bowman, free safety Dashon Goldson, running back Frank gore, guard Mike Iupati, outside linebacker Aldon Smith, defensive end Justin Smith, tackle Joe Staley, strong safety Donte Whitner, inside linebacker Patrick Willis.
Comment: The 49ers are in the Super Bowl, which made all their selections ineligible to play in the Pro Bowl. It's looking like Michael Crabtree could challenge Fitzgerald and the other NFC receivers for a Pro Bowl spot next season. He topped 1,100 yards this season and his production spiked with Colin Kaepernick behind center.
Named to team initially: running back Marshawn Lynch, tackle Russell Okung, free safety Earl Thomas, center Max Unger, returner Leon Washington.
Named to team as an alternate: quarterback Russell Wilson, in place of the injured Matt Ryan.
Comment: The fact that Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Peterson missed the Super Bowl means zero spots have opened up for alternates at cornerback. Seattle's Richard Sherman certainly was worthy of consideration at that position. Lynch's status will be worth monitoring here. He suffered a foot injury during the playoffs.
St. Louis Rams
Named to team initially: none.
Named to team as an alternate: none.
Comment: Those advocating Jeff Fisher as a coach of the year candidate should note that the team had no players named to the Pro Bowl and no players named as alternates. There is young talent on this roster, however. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers is one player to watch next season.